Keto and IBS: Might It Help?


As popular as the Ketogenic diet is, a lot of people are not aware of whether it may be helpful for people suffering from IBS. What is IBS? — Irritable Bowel Syndrome (know as IBS) is a very common disorder that majorly affects large intestine. The signs and symptoms of IBS vary. They include; bloating, cramping, abdominal pain, gas, diarrhea or constipation and in some cases both.

IBS is quite common but only a small number of people suffering from IBS actually have severe signs and symptoms. Truth is some people can manage to control their symptoms by improving their lifestyle, avoiding stress and partaking in certain diets like a low carb diet for IBS.

Causes Of IBS

The exact cause of IBS is not known. However, there are a few factors that seem to play a role. Some of these factors include:

• Muscle contractions in the intestine. The walls of the intestines are lined with layers of muscle that contract as they move food through your digestive tract. Contractions that are stronger and last longer than normal can cause gas, bloating and diarrhea. Weak intestinal contractions can slow food passage and lead to hard, dry stools.

• Nervous system. Abnormalities in the nerves in your digestive system may cause you to experience greater than normal discomfort when your abdomen stretches from gas or stool. Poorly coordinated signals between the brain and the intestines can cause your body to overreact to changes that normally occur in the digestive process, resulting in pain, diarrhea or constipation.

• Inflammation in the intestines. Some people with IBS have an increased number of immune-system cells in their intestines. This immune system response is associated with pain and diarrhea.

• Severe infection. IBS can develop after a severe bout of diarrhea (gastroenteritis) caused by bacteria or a virus. IBS might also be associated with a surplus of bacteria in the intestines (bacterial overgrowth).

• Changes in bacteria in the gut (microflora). Microflora are the “good” bacteria that reside in the intestines and play a key role in health. Research indicates that microflora in people with IBS might differ from microflora in healthy people.

Moving forward, keto diet may be a solution for IBS but very little research has actually looked into the benefits of the keto diet for IBS. However, some studies regardless of how little have shown some positive results of how patients who were put on the keto diet saw improvements on their IBS.

One study found that IBS patients who suffer mainly from diarrhea (IBS-D) experienced symptomatic improvement after going on a very low-carbohydrate diet ( keto diet). These patients experienced improved stool consistency, reduced abdominal pain and improved quality of life.

It’s fact that just maybe the keto diet, which is not a regular low carb diet, can help improve the symptoms of individuals suffering from IBS. But what happens when in some cases it actually makes it worse?

This is why there is little concrete data to back up whether or not the keto diet can actually improve the symptoms of IBS. In some cases, the effect of the diet can actually worse the IBS. This ketogenic diet constipation can lead to sharp stomach pain and lots of irregular bowel movements. The connection between the ketogenic diet and constipation is outlined in the next section.

Keto Diet Constipation

Partaking in a low carb diet like the keto diet in itself will not make you constipated. A low carb diet like the ketogenic diet can still very much supply enough fiber, fluids and necessary probiotics that help with normal bowel movements.

However, the problem with following a Keto diet is that is sometimes makes meeting ones fiber intake tends a bit more difficult because it excludes many fiber-rich foods like legumes, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

Also, low carb diets like the keto diet can lead to an unstable gut flora due to higher fat intake. Another issue with the keto diet is the popularly know sickness called the keto flu. It is not a sickness or flu, just a common side effect of going low carb. This set of flu-like symptoms usually happens during the induction phase ( ketosis week one) of a ketogenic diet and includes headaches, fatigue, muscle cramping, brain fog, nausea, and keto bloating and constipation.

The keto flu occurs as a result of the strong diuretic effect of the keto diet during the first weeks, which means you tend to urinate more. With this increased urine output, you also tend to lose electrolytes, and this increases your risk of dehydration, and dehydration often leads to, as you expected, constipation.

Keto Constipation Relief

If you’re looking for keto diet constipation help, then you would need to get to the root cause. It is advisable you check with your doctor to see if there is any post that an underlying health condition is contributing to your keto constipation. However, anything other than that, this few steps below should help you actualize some keto diet constipation relief;

Adequate Fiber Intake

Taking the right amount of fiber and drinking the proper amount of fluids can impact great difference on your digestive health. Some current guidelines recommend 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day, with particular emphasis on soluble fiber. When on a keto diet you can get plenty of sustainable fiber from avocado, almonds, coconut flour, broccoli, celery stalks, flaxseed, etc. You can also support these with fiber supplements from your local pharmacy.

Eat More and Stay Hydrated

As good as a lower calorie intake is for your weight loss goal, you don’t want to go overboard. A simple calorie reduction of 300-500 kcal/day is all you need to initiate fat burning ( light ketosis) on a keto diet. When on the keto diet, you need to make sure you are getting in enough nutrients to maintain, good health and obviously regular bowel movements.

Stay Active

Some studies have shown that one of the most common causes of severe constipation amongst adults is as a result of inactivity. Not being active enough reduces blood flow to your GI tract, thereby slowing down digestion. While physical activity, on the other hand, stimulates the digestive tract. This clearly explains why when you are inactive and bedridden it tends to lead to constipation, and why when you exercising often you feel an intense urge to pass out poop.

Current research recommends 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every week for optimal health and regular bowel movements. But you don’t have to limit yourself to aerobics. Any type of activity that gets your heart pumping and your muscles working will do just fine. This may include weight lifting, yoga, and high-intensity training.

Remove All Allergens

People who are active keto dieters can testify that limiting dairy consumption can help with keto constipation. This is possible because research shows a strong link between cow milk allergies and severe constipation. Milk allergies tend to lead to inflammation in the intestines which prevents normal bowel functioning. Also, aside from milk, there are other common allergens inside foods like soy, seafood, eggs, and peanuts. Note that many of these foods are high in protein, which makes sense given that a good allergy is, by definition, an adverse reaction to food proteins.

Probiotic Supplements

Naturally, probiotics are live bacteria and yeast found in fermented food. However, they can be sold as supplements for those who need them. Some excellent sources of this probiotic are sauerkraut, miso, and cultured yogurt. Mixing fiber-rich sources with fermented foods can cause elk boos probiotic survival in the gut. One large systematic review found that probiotic balance gut microflora and help normalize bowel functioning. The most common probiotic strains studied are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.

Treating the Keto Flu

The popular keto flu is typical for keto dieters. Although the keto flu is short-lived, it can still be very uncomfortable. That’s why to experience some keto constipation relief, you should drink enough fluids, take electrolytes supplements and rest adequately.

Proper Diet For IBS

Fiber Diet

Consuming fiber helps add bulk to your stool, which will in turn help in proper bowel movements. According to research, it is expected that the average adult should eat between 20 – 25 grams of fiber a day. However, research estimates show people only eat between 5 – 14 a day.

Gluten-Free Diet

As you probably already know, gluten is a protein found in grain products such as bread and pasta. This protein can damage the intestines in people who are gluten-intolerant. Some people with a sensitivity or high intolerance for gluten tend to experience IBS. In such cases, a gluten-free diet may reduce symptoms.

There are more diets available which can help people with IBS, but everyone is different. So, take note of your symptoms and consult a doctor before starting a new diet. Carefully evaluate the way your body reacts to various diets, as you may need to tweak the foods you eat.

Good luck!

Recent Posts