5 Tips to Help End Constipation While Following a Ketogenic Diet

4 December, 2020 ,

By definition the ketogenic diet is an extremely low net-carbohydrate diet, between 20g and 50g per day. But low-carb also means low-fiber. Fiber is found in carbohydrate-sourced foods such as cereals, legumes, fruits and vegetables. It is well known that fiber is our best ally in preventing constipation, so it’s no surprise that many suffer from constipation when they adopt a ketogenic diet.

If you follow the ketogenic menus offered by SOSCuisine, be aware that they are built to offer you a maximum intake of fiber, between 15 and 20g per day, while at the same time respecting the recommended carbohydrate intake. For an adult, depending on their sex and age, they should be consuming between 25 and 38g of fiber per day.

If you are on a ketogenic diet and are suffering from constipation, I suggest you implement the following 5 tips to help you alleviate the problem.

1- Eat vegetables that are low in carbohydrates but high in fiber

Some vegetables should be prioritized, such as artichoke, avocado, brussel sprouts and parsnips! To learn more, I invite you to read this article.

2- Increase your fiber intake with ground flaxseeds, ground chia seeds and psyllium

To solve an intermittent or recurring constipation problem you can add between 1 to 3 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds, chia seeds or psyllium to your diet, or a mixture of 2 or 3 of these options. Start with small amounts in order to allow the more sensitive intestines to adjust smoothly. These fibers can be added to salads, hot dishes, in your nut butters, or with coconut milk. Be aware that in 1 tablespoon of flaxseeds, chia seeds or psyllium there is between 3 to 5g of fiber and between 0 to 1g of net carbohydrates.

These fibers are called soluble fibers, and their role is to increase the water content of the stools in order to produce large, soft and easy-to-evacuate stools. Therefore, in order for the fibers to reach their full potential, it is important to stay well hydrated yourself.

Be careful to drink a large glass of water when you consume flaxseeds, chia seeds and/or psyllium. If you do not drink enough water, your constipation could get worse because the fibers will go into your colon but will not be inflated with water and will therefore only add to the stool load that needs to be evacuated.

3- Be hydrated

Stools are composed of mostly water, and when they are less hydrated, they are more difficult to evacuate. Water requirements depend on a variety of factors including body weight and level of physical activity. Other beverages such as tea and coffee in moderate quantities can also be good hydration options. To make sure that you are well hydrated, drink sips of water regularly during the day and aim to have light-coloured urine at all times. To get more tips to help you drink more water, read this article.

4- Be physically active

According to a meta-analysis of nine randomized controlled clinical trials, physical activity, and in particular aerobic exercise, has been shown to have significant benefits as a means of improving constipation symptoms.

5- Adopt the appropriate toileting position

Using a stool to raise the knees above the hips while sitting on the toilet can be helpful in reducing constipation.


References

  • Santé Canada. Apports Nutritionnels de Référence. Novembre 2010
  • Gao et coll. (2019) Exercise therapy in patients with constipation: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Scand J Gastroenterol; 54(2):169-77.
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Author

Jennifer Morzier

Jennifer Morzier

Jennifer is a Registered Dietitian graduated from the University of Montreal in December 2018 and is a member of the Ordre professionnel des diététistes du Québec (OPDQ). She believes that the quality of our food choices has a direct impact on our health and energy level. Her goal? To help people improve the quality of what they put in their plates, for their better well-being and greater pleasure.

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