Alright, keto kings—if you’re reading this, chances are you’ve been battling explosive bowel movements since embarking on your weight loss journey. Perhaps you’re on the toilet right now, committing a war crime on the porcelain throne.
You went keto to shed some pounds, but nobody warned you chronic diarrhea was part of the deal. It’s true that going into ketosis can help you burn fat. But it turns out a high-fat, low-carb diet creates the perfect storm for loose stools. One study found that 40% of people on a ketogenic diet had diarrhea.
Keep reading to learn why keto causes diarrhea, how long you can expect it to last, and what you can do to calm your colon.
3 Causes Keto Diarrhea
If you’re spending a lot of time on the toilet after going keto, it’s no coincidence. When you switch to a high-fat diet, your digestive system can get thrown out of whack, especially during the first couple of weeks.
Here are three reasons diarrhea is a common side effect of going keto.
1. High-Fat Diet
If you follow the rules of the keto diet, 65-90% of what you eat is fat. That’s because you’re relying on fat intake for energy, instead of glucose. However, eating high amounts of fat triggers your gut to produce extra bile: a fluid that breaks down fatty acids.
2. Lack of Fiber
Fiber is essential for firming up your poops and keeping your poop schedule regular. Unfortunately, many dudes struggle to meet their daily fiber goals on the keto diet. That’s because some of the best fiber sources contain carbohydrates, which aren’t keto-friendly.
3. Artificial Sweeteners
Since sugar is off-limits on keto, you might swap it out for artificial sweeteners like sugar alcohols and sucralose. These will definitely help you cut calories and carbs. But a 2019 review on the effects of sweeteners on the gut microbiome found that artificial sweeteners are notorious for their laxative effect, especially for people with IBS.
How Long Does Keto Diarrhea Last?
There’s no official answer for how long keto diarrhea lasts—everybody’s bowels are different. However, a lot of keto dieters report their diarrhea lasting 1-2 weeks after starting.
“It was like a muted yellowish color ,” says one dude on the r/keto subreddit. “It went away after about a week and a half to two weeks.”
Some people, however, never fully “cure” their keto diarrhea.
“I still enjoy occasional liquid poop after 3 years on keto,” says another dude. “I do not see anything wrong with it. You just have to learn one thing—never trust a fart on keto.”
We salute your commitment to keto. But if your diarrhea becomes painful, lasts more than several days in a row, or has blood in it , talk to your healthcare provider ASAP.
4 Tips to Stop Keto Diarrhea
Don’t want to let the Hershey squirts derail your diet. Try these tips to get your keto diarrhea under control.
1. Increase Your Fiber Intake
Fiber is scientifically proven to prevent diarrhea. Here are some high-fiber foods that are also keto-friendly:
- Chia seeds
- Brussels sprouts
- Green beans
2. Eat Less Dairy
A lot of dairy products have a high fat content, which can give you the runs (especially if you’re lactose intolerant). Try low-fat or fat-free dairy products like yogurt, cottage cheese, and milk.
3. Take a Probiotic
Taking a probiotic supplement is like an insurance policy against diarrhea. It supports healthy gut bacteria and research shows probiotics can reduce GI symptoms that stem from following the keto diet.
4. Eat Fermented Foods
Fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi are full of good bacteria that aid digestion and calm your colon. (Just make sure your fermented foods don’t contain any added sugars).
Beware of Keto Constipation
As if a looming shart attack wasn’t enough to worry about, the keto diet can cause another digestive health dilemma: constipation. Research from 2021 found that constipation is a common side effect of keto, mainly due to a lack of fiber.
If you’re plugged up from keto, here’s what we recommend:
- Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water and replenish your electrolytes
- Get moving: Exercise isn’t just for weight loss—it can kickstart a bowel movement too
- Eat fiber: Up your intake of veggies, avocados, and other fiber-rich foods that are keto-friendly
Going Keto? Keep DUDE Wipes On Hand
When you commit to keto, you’ll stock up on steak, seafood, and (hopefully) some veggies to balance things out. While you’re raiding the butcher section at the supermarket, don’t forget to make a detour to the toilet paper aisle and stock up on DUDE Wipes .
Let’s be honest, diarrhea requires a lot of cleanup material. But sanding down your hole with two-ply is a recipe for a red, chapped rear. Make the switch to DUDE Wipes : the (un)official ass wipe of keto kings everywhere.