Keto Diet

Keto Constipation: Why It Happens & How to Fix It

keto constipation

Shifting from a standard carbohydrate-based American diet to a fat-based keto diet can produce significant changes in digestion. Keto constipation is a common side effect of this shift. In this article, we will dispel some of the myths about keto constipation and provide some science-based strategies for keto constipation relief.

Why does the Keto Diet Cause Constipation?

If the keto diet is supposed to improve your health, what causes your digestive tract to react to this high-fat, low-carb diet? Here are some of the main causes of constipation that can occur when on a keto diet:

1. Adjustment to fewer carbs and more fat

Our bodies are designed to digest three macronutrients: carbohydrates, fats and proteins. All three play an important role in health. However, when you follow a keto diet, your carbohydrate intake is drastically reduced.

Because carbohydrates like fruits and whole grains are some of the most common sources of fiber in the diet, transitioning to this low-carb diet can lead to digestive issues like constipation.

In addition, some people may have difficulty transitioning to a very high fat content diet, which can also lead to digestive discomfort.

2. Too Little Dietary Fiber

For people who follow a high-carbohydrate diet, reducing carbohydrates can reduce their fiber intake. This is because fiber is typically found in carbohydrate sources such as whole grains, rice, pasta, potatoes, apples and bananas.

Dietary fiber adds bulk to stool and softens it, making it easier to pass. A meta-analysis showed that fiber increases stool frequency, which makes it a common treatment for constipation. That said, you may want to check which high-carb plant-based foods you’ve recently cut out of your diet.

Also, keep in mind that a low-carb diet does not have to be lacking in fiber. It’s important to make sure you find other sources of fiber that won’t raise your blood sugar levels.

3. Dehydration

When your body first transitions into ketosis, your body flushes out water that is stored in your muscles and liver along with glycogen. While getting rid of unwanted glycogen is a good thing, the whole process can have a laxative effect and lead to low electrolytes.

In other words, your transition to ketosis can cause you to become dehydrated if you’re not careful. 

Be sure to drink plenty of water during this time, as well as increase your salt intake and replenish your electrolytes. 

4. Lack of Physical Activity

Studies have shown that maintaining physical activity – whether exercise or non-exercise physical activity (e.g., yard work, standing, walking) – can promote bowel movements.

However, due to the dramatic reduction in carbohydrates, some people begin keto with low energy levels. Keto flu symptoms such as headaches, nausea and irritability may also make you feel more tired than normal.

Especially when combined with factors such as low fiber intake and dehydration, lack of exercise may be a reason why people in ketosis don’t poop.

If constipation persists for several weeks, you may want to consider looking for other causes. In this case, you should see your doctor for further evaluation and medical advice.

How to Treat Keto Constipation

While waiting for your digestive system to adjust to your new diet (which eventually happens), try using these keto constipation relief strategies at home.

Add more fiber. This one is a given. In addition to eating more fibrous foods, It is recommended that sprinkle flaxseed on your meals or add chia seeds or acacia fiber to your morning smoothie to help increase your daily count.

Drink lemon water + apple cider vinegar. When you first wake up, make a cup of hot lemon water mixed with 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. This will help improve digestion and aid in hydration. Remember: You want to stay hydrated while on keto; otherwise, you may experience decreased digestion and brain function, as well as lower energy levels.

Stretch first thing. Taking the time to stretch and connect with your body before a busy day helps activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which is where the digestive system thrives.

Embrace mindful eating. This means taking two deep conscious breaths before each meal, sitting mindfully, and chewing well. The enzymes that break down proteins, fats and carbohydrates are secreted when we begin to think and smell food. To optimize digestion, we must slow down and chew our food properly. Experts recommend setting small goals to help you eat more consciously, such as putting down your fork at least five times before your meal is done.


The keto diet may initially cause constipation because your body is used to digesting fewer carbohydrates and more fat. But as your GI tract adjusts to this diet, you may find it becomes less important.

You can also reduce your risk of constipation by eating more whole, high-fiber foods to help keep your bowels moving.

If your constipation doesn’t get better after home remedies and treatment, it may be time to contact your doctor. They may recommend prescription medications or some dietary changes to help get your digestive tract back to normal.

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