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Are you undertaking Keto or Paleo diet? Beware of constipation?

Having a healthy diet is the first and greatest step you take to prevent yourself from health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. Having an unhealthy diet can make you obese and can attract several health conditions. This is why many obese people commit to reducing their weight by dieting and exercise. Many people believe that dieting is nothing but eating less. But that is not the case at all. Today, there are several different types of diet plans that are designed to suit different people’s needs. The most common and popular diet types that we keep hearing are the ‘Paleo diet’ and the ‘Keto diet’.

What is a ‘Paleo’ diet?

The name ‘Paleo’ diet is derived from the fact that this diet is designed based on foods similar to those that might have been consumed during the Palaeolithic era. A Paleo diet commonly includes lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, etc. Sugar and fructose high corn syrup, grains, legumes, dairy, hydrogenated oils, artificial sweeteners, processed foods should all be avoided in this diet. Over the year there have been several iterations of the paleo diet, each one designed to suit different people’s needs.

What is a ‘Keto’ diet?

The Ketogenic diet or Keto diet, in short, is essentially a low-carb, high-fat diet. In this diet, the carbohydrate intake of a person is drastically reduced and is replaced with fat. This reduction in carbohydrate intake puts your body into a state called ‘ketosis’ and hence the name. Over a period of time, the body becomes more efficient in burning fats which helps in turning fats into ketones in the liver which can supply energy to the brain and the body. Keto diet can cause a drastic reduction in blood sugar levels, insulin levels along with other health benefits.

Does Paleo or Keto cause constipation?

Our bodies are designed to digest and process 3 different macronutrients such as carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Typically in both these diet types, you drastically cut down on your carbohydrate consumption. Some people go to the extent of completely reducing fiber in their diet and also drink less water. This can put your GI system in a stressed state, thereby causing constipation. This is especially evident in the keto diet since you are consuming only 5% carbs. Prolonged constipation can lead to anal fissures, hemorrhoids, and abdominal pain. It can be observed that people who get anal fissures or hemorrhoids after their paleo diet or keto diet think that their body has heated up and so they quit their diet midway. Also since the intake of food is lesser, definitely, the quantity of feces excreted will be less. This is quite natural. But there are chances that some may mistake this as constipation.

The best way to counter constipation arising from these diets is to accommodate more fiber-rich foods in your diet. Since both these diet types allow you to have around 5%-10% of carb in your diet, you can opt for fiber-rich carb instead of the refined carb. It is also important to stay hydrated throughout the day. So drink lots of water to keep your bowel healthy. If you can include brisk walking for 20-30 minutes in your daily regimen, it can help ease your constipation.

Also, you can opt to transition slowly from high-carb to low-carb diets. Though you may not attain the ketosis stage which helps in fat burning almost immediately, it may help you to sustain the momentum of dieting. In this way, you do not burn out fast and drop your healthy dieting.

Suppose you think that even after consuming the recommended intake of 5%-10% carb with fiber-rich food and still you are having constipation, it is better to consult a doctor for advice.

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