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If you’ve been on a Ketogenic diet for a couple of weeks, you might notice some common side effects such as a weight-loss stall, mental fogginess, constipation and bloat.
We all know that a low-carb lifestyle can sculpt off some serious body fat, but what do you do if you get bloated in the Keto Diet?
In this article we will discuss what is keto bloating, why it happens and what you can do about it.
Keto bloating is a type of bloating that you experience upon initiating a ketogenic diet.
This symptom is fairly common among keto beginners and long-term dieters. Luckily, for the most part, it is not a sign of anything serious.
However, if left untreated, keto bloating can slow down weight loss and make sticking to the keto diet difficult.
Bloat is usually the result of a combination of things – including constipation and stomach distension.
Stomach distension means your abdomen is swollen and pushes outward. Your stomach may also be painful and even tender.
For some people, bloat is also accompanied by water retention. You may also have trapped wind or keto gas.
Ironically, even if you have keto bloat, you should still find that you continue to lose weight.
Bloat usually doesn’t affect weight loss although you may feel fatter because your abdomen is distended.
What Causes Keto Bloat?
Here are the most common ones related to a ketogenic diet.
#1. Too little fiber in your diet.
In the keto diet, you cannot eat foods like bread, rice, pasta, breakfast cereals, or potatoes.
These are sources of complex carbs and carbs are off the menu on keto. However, these foods are also a source of fiber.
Fiber gives your digested food bulk which makes it easier to push through your intestines.
Eating less fiber means food will take longer to pass through your digestive system, and that can lead to bloating.
Food that moves slowly is more prone to fermentation which causes a buildup of keto gas.
You can fix this by eating more non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, celery, kale, brussels sprouts, etc. to make sure you consume the fiber needed to keep your digestive system working as it should.
Optionally, you can add quality fiber supplements to boost your daily intake.
The best fiber supplement for constipation relief is psyllium husk, a non-fermentable fiber that research shows is effective.
#2. You might not be drinking enough water.
Your body uses water for a wide range of essential functions, including lubricating your digestive tract and keeping your feces moist.
As you can imagine, a dry digestive tract combined with dry feces means that your digestive system will have to work much harder to move your feces through your intestines.
Slow-moving poop can cause a digestive back-up, leading to bloating and stomach pain. This is usually accompanied by constipation.
Drink at least 64 ounces of water per day, making sure you also balance your electrolytes.
Electrolytes are minerals that are essential for things like muscle contractions, setting a proper heart rhythm and even regulation of digestion.
#3. You might be consuming too much MCT oil.
Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) are a valuable tool on a keto diet that can speed up ketosis.
Many keto dieters get their MCTs from pure MCT oil, which contains up to 100% of these fats. Unfortunately, consuming too much of MCT oil can be a cause of bloating.
Studies on MCT oil have reported side effects like diarrhea, bloating, vomiting, and cramps when they are consumed to excess.
To fix this, you must introduce and increase your consumption of MCTs gradually, and do not exceed the recommended daily maximum of 60-100 ml per day.
Use MCT powder rather than MCT liquid as many users report less bloating.
#4. You might have a food sensitivity
When switching to a low-carb diet, chances are you will start eating a plethora of new foods.
Eating new and unusual foods, especially in increased quantities, may trigger allergic reactions and lead to keto bloating.
Allergic reactions produce inflammation and swelling.
That’s bad enough when it affects your skin but can be even more unpleasant when it affects your intestines and stomach.
Food sensitivities manifest in less life-threatening symptoms such as bloating, indigestion, belching, and diarrhea.
A common food intolerance, for example, is lactose intolerance. The solution to this problem is simple, but it also involves some trial and error.
Eliminate any suspected allergens and monitor how you feel. Reintroduce the foods you think are upsetting your stomach and make a note of your response. Alternatively, see your doctor for a more comprehensive allergy test.
#5. You may have cheated on your keto diet
In most cases, bloating is usually worse during the induction phase of the keto diet. It’s part and parcel of keto flu, which lasts anywhere from a few days to 1-2 weeks.
If you cheat on your diet and eat carbs, you will kick yourself out of ketosis, and this may trigger a new bout of keto flu, and that means more bloating. Even just one cheat or treat is enough to disrupt ketosis.
Like any diet, keto only works if you stick with it. However, unlike most diets, even a small cheat can derail your progress for several days.
So try not cheating on your keto diet.
#6. You may be consuming too many sugar alcohols
With sugar and carbs off the menu, a lot of keto dieters turn to sugar alcohols. Sugar alcohols taste sweet but contain no digestible carbs.
They are often used in sugar-free candy, food bars, and other keto diet snacks and treats. Examples include xylitol, erythritol, sorbitol, and maltitol.
While sugar alcohols are sugar-free, and won’t kick you out of ketosis, consuming too much can lead to bloating.
They are mildly inflammatory and are known to cause digestive upset, especially when consumed to excess.
#7. You might have a Leaky Gut Syndrome.
Leaky gut is also known as “increased intestinal permeability.” What that means is that the intestinal barrier is not filtering properly, which leads to bacteria and toxins entering the circulatory system and causing an immune reaction that leads to low-grade inflammation.
Researchers also claim that leaky gut can result from changes in gut flora caused by a high-fat diet.
This can lead to an increase in harmful bacteria and is a common cause of bloat.
You can restore and feed your good bacteria with probiotics. You can use probiotic supplements that contain common bacterial strains.
Alternatively, foods like natural yogurt, sauerkraut, tempeh, kimchi, pickles, miso, kefir, and kombucha contain probiotics too.
Bloating is a common problem in the keto diet, but not everyone gets it.
Pay attention to your water and fiber intake, avoid common allergens, use and don’t abuse sugar alcohols and MCTs, consume probiotics, and don’t cheat on your diet.
If you do these things, you are much less likely to experience keto bloat and, even better, you’ll lose weight faster too.
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