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Thinking about going keto? You may also want to think about one unfortunate side effect.
First things first, the keto diet is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that has gone mainstream in recent years, says Johna Burdeos, a registered dietitian.
“The basic idea behind the keto diet is to restrict carb intake so that the body switches from burning glucose (sugar) for energy to burning fat, including stored body fat and dietary fat,” she says, noting that this shift in metabolism is known as ketosis.
Juliana Tamayo, M.S., R.D., an editor for FitnessClone and a clinical dietitian in Washington, D.C., echoes Burdeos, sharing that the ketogenic diet focuses on consumption of more fat and protein with very little carbohydrate.”
The idea is helping your body switch from using carbohydrates for energy to using fat in a process called ketosis,” she says. “This way, your body will effectively burn fat for energy, which can lead to weight loss.” (Again, that process of burning fat for energy instead of glucose is called ketosis, hence the name “the keto diet.”)
As Tamayo and Burdeos both highlight that the keto diet may have some benefits like improved blood sugar control and weight loss. Still, some expert sources such as Mayo Clinic, are skeptical that it can help with long-term weight loss.
Despite the obsession and popularity going keto has these days, it’s not all buff muscles and beef. “…the keto diet has drawbacks, and one of the most common side effects experienced by people who follow the diet is keto diarrhea,” says Burdeos. “This condition is characterized by loose, watery stools and can occur as a result of several factors, including an increase in fat intake, a decrease in fiber intake, and changes in gut bacteria.”
There are other potential bathroom issues to be had when you go keto: Tamayo notes that constipation can be another problem for those who adhere to this way of eating due to the lack of fiber from vegetables and whole grains. She also links the keto diet to diarrhea because “the artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols in many keto…