What Can I Do About Constipation When on the Ketogenic Diet?

This is another in our continuing series of Ketogenic Diet FAQs.

This is a question that comes up every once in a while in our 28 Day Ketogenic Challenge group.  (Sign up today!)  It’s not the most common complaint but it does come up every once in a while so I wanted to address it.

Here are some common fixes for constipation on the Ketogenic Diet.

Magnesium

This is by far the most common fix for constipation and I usually don’t have to go much farther than this down the list of possible fixes.  Magnesium is a key nutrient that is involved in hundreds of metabolic processes in our bodies but the most important thing it does is enable muscles to contract.  So any time you move a muscle, you are using a little Magnesium to make that happen.  A common reason for constipation is the bowels don’t have enough Mg to do the series of contractions that moves food through the bowels so it gets “stuck”.  This is why a easy fix for constipation has always been Milk of Magnesia, essentially a liquid Magnesium supplement.  I prefer to be proactive with my Magnesium supplementation and take a Mg tablet every night before bed as it is also a natural sleep aid.  I get mine from Pure Vitamin Club and have been very happy with the results.

Fiber

Another common fix has always been to eat more fiber but new studies suggest that fiber actually makes it MORE difficult to go to the bathroom.  Makes you wonder if those people downing the glasses of orange flavored fiber aren’t making their problems worse!  Newbies to the Ketogenic diet tend to eat a lot of nuts, green leafy vegetables, and dairy products, each of which have been shown to possibly lead to more constipation.  I mean, you have surely been told all your life that cheese would back you up, right?  There is probably some truth to that claim.  Try cutting those foods out and see if the problem persists.

Water

Getting dehydrated can be a big issue in the first few weeks of keto and dehydration can lead to constipation.  Be sure you are drinking enough water.  I would try drinking nothing but water for a few days and see what effect that has on the issue.

Chia Seeds

Another common fix is to make some Chia seed pudding and eat it.  If you’ve never done this, put a scoop of Chia seeds in a bown and out about 4x the amount of Chia seeds of a liquid like Almond milk or full fat milk, then a little sweetener.  Stir and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.  The seeds absorb the liquid and it turns into a tasty treat that has been shown to move through the bowels rather quickly.

Coffee

Black coffee is another one of those things that has been shown to stimulate the bowels to move.  In fact, I pretty much only go after coffee at this point.  A cup or 2 is often all it takes to get me to the bathroom.

Coconut Oil

Eating a Tbsp or 2 of coconut oil has been shown to get people to the bathroom quickly.  Mix it into your coffee for a double threat.

Finally, Maybe You Don’t Have to Go

I know this seems counter-intuitive but it’s possible that you aren’t constipated, you just don’t have to go to the bathroom.  If you are eating mostly meat, your body is probably absorbing everything which doesn’t leave much to come out.  If there is no pain, you might just not have a reason to go to the bathroom.

If you are in pain or haven’t been to the bathroom in several days, I would definitely see a doctor before trying any other internet solutions.  As always, if you have any questions, let me know in the comments below!

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What Can I Do About Constipation When on the Ketogenic Diet?

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