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Prevent constipation

Keep your bowel moving on a low-carb diet

There are several theories as to why someone on a low-carb diet may suffer from constipation:

The first is an acute decrease in fiber. We all need fiber for healthy bowel movements. Your body needs time to adjust to a sudden decrease in fiber content. If you normally get a lot of fiber from whole grains, fruit, and beans and suddenly stop eating those foods, this may cause temporary constipation as your body adjust itself.

Another potential cause is dehydration. It is well known that the transition to a very low-carb diet can cause an increase in urination with fluid and sodium loss. This can result in mild dehydration, which is potentially associated with constipation. A change in body electrolytes may alter stool frequency.

Last, low-carb diets often lead to a decrease in calorie. This is especially common if low carb is combined with intermittent fasting. Eating less can mean eliminating less. This alone should not cause constipation but could decrease stool volume or frequency.

How to prevent or treat constipation while you go low-carbt

  • Avoiding dehydration is an essential step for preventing constipation. If you are urinating less than four times per day and your urine is yellow, then you are likely dehydrated. When you are well hydrated, your urine should be clear in colour.
  • Increasing salt intake can help with fluid retention and preventing dehydration. How much salt is adequate? This may vary for each individual. The recommendation is to consume 2,300mg of sodium per day, but active people and athletes will need more.
  • Maintaining adequate fiber intake may be the most effective approach for preventing constipation. We recommend getting fiber from whole foods whenever possible. It is recommended to have 25 grams fibre per day for women and 38 grams for men.

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