Diet Detective – Keto and Bloating

“Every time I go keto, I feel so heavy and bloated.”

This was a common theme several years back when keto dieting made it rounds again, but this one was an eye-opener to me, and I want to see if you can figure it out.

Let me tell you a bit about this person.

  • Female in her late 30’s
  • No know hormonal issues
  • No known food allergies or intolerances
  • Worked out 3-4xweek with body pump classes
  • About 5’5″ and she weighed 150lbs
  • She wanted to lose 15lbs (felt her best at 130ish area)
  • Takes multi-vitamin and probiotics

Ok, very typical person. Right?

Here is where the problems start.

She will do a keto diet when she starts seeing her weight going into the upper 150’s and notice a quick drop of 6-7lbs in the first ten days.

Side note: a quick drop in scale weight is normal when someone starts a low carb, ultra low carb, or keto diet. This is because the body drops lots of water, glycogen (carbs), waste, and some cases inflammation during this time with the removal of processed carbs.

After this initial drop, the weight loss is slow and steady for about 10lbs (or 3-4weeks) until she starts becoming bloated and feeling heavy in her lower gut. She talks about how her body begins to start looking like it’s holding water and becoming inflamed AND how the scale doesn’t budge.

She doesn’t want to eat because what she is eating just makes her feel worse and more bloated; she’s even talked about how she notices that her skin looks like it’s beginning to look ‘red’ easier. Like she just had a hard workout kind of red. Not to mention that she doesn’t feel like working out much on keto.

I asked her for a day of her eating, and here is what we got:

Meal 1: Bulletproof coffee (this is coffee with whipping cream and butter)
Meal 2: Nuts (almonds cashews) or pork rinds
Meal 3: Salad with chicken thighs and coconut oil
Meal 4: Salad with fatty steak and avocado oil
*If hungry will eat more nuts, pork rinds, or deli meat.

Hmmm… lots going on here, huh?

Now what she was talking about I’ve seen before and TBH it’s a bit more common than people realize for those that start the keto journey.

So considering all that, what do YOU think is happening? What would you tell her to do?

Hint: This does not involve eating too much or not enough calories.

Think on this for a second then scroll down for the answer.
fiber rich foods in a bowlAnswer: Lack of fiber.
This is EXTREMELY common when someone starts a keto, carnivore, or ultra low carb diet.

When she removed carbs from her diet, she removed ALL carbs, bad carbs, and good carbs. This lack of good carbs also led to a lack of fiber, even though she was consuming salads the fiber content in those salads were not near enough for her.

The average person should consume 30-45g a day in fiber.

She was getting in less than 5g.

Why is this important?
Fiber does many things for the body, but it can help keep the plumbing clean (AKA: helping you poo). What happened with her is when she started eating the fatty meats, which take longer to break down and digestion, that meat ended up sitting there in her gut.

Do you remember reading about how she was noticing bloating in her lower stomach? That was a backup of poo.

She didn’t even think about that until we brought that up. She then commented that she’s been averaging a bowl about every 3-4 days when she usually goes daily.

After that, I wanted her to up her fiber quite significantly, but she was still insistent on doing keto (I’ll get to this in a bit), so what we did was add in Sugar-Free Metamuscile to her diet. With her being so backed up AND not getting in near enough fiber we had her take 30g of FIBER just from this to get started.

Side note: Fiber is not a laxative, so if you up your fiber, you will not have a bad experience like a laxative would give you. Fiber just helps you feel ’empty’ when you go to the bathroom.

What happened?
Nothing for the first 3 days (which is common in a fiber supplement), but things started moving on day 4 or 5. She said that every time she went to the bathroom, she was shocked at how much solid came out (TMI, I know). She ended up dropping, no lie, 7 more pounds in 10 days of CRAP! This is a lot for anyone but a 150lbs woman… wow. Poor thing, lol.

Her bloating went down, that food baby was gone, she felt and looked SO much better.

Wait… there’s more.
One thing that caught my attention was the red tinge to the skin; I don’t hear that often.

Some of you reading this may already know the answer and are screaming it right now lol.

It was high blood pressure.

Luckily, before she had started this diet, she went to the dr for her yearly exam and had her BP taken, which according to her and her dr, were normal.

We had her retake it each day for 5 days, and it was high averaging 150 over 96.

When she started going to the bathroom again, it started dropping back to a normal range, and her skin looked normal afterward.

What we think was going on is her body was working so hard to combat the effects of all the crap in her system that her BP increased, making her feel like crap (no pun intended) and leaving her with a red tinge or hue to her skin tone. Crazy huh?

Wrapping it up
Is keto bad? I’ll admit that I”m not a fan of keto BUT I don’t think it’s bad, it’s not an answer for everyone and I believe it can help people if done right, just like all diets.

If you’re doing very low carb, carnivore, or keto diet, I would recommend tracking your food for a few days and looking at your fiber intake. If your diet doesn’t allow for a healthy amount of fiber, consider supplementing fiber such as Sugar-Free Metamucil to keep your plumbing from getting backed up.

Now here is what I want to leave you with. If you start a new diet and notice that you begin to feel worse (not just hungry, feelings of hunger are normal in most diets that cause you to eat few calories) and adverse effects, then STOP.

This means that how you were dieting wasn’t right for YOUR body, or the type of eating your trying isn’t right for YOUR body. That’s OK! That doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you except that what you were trying was NOT your best answer.

The ideal way of eating should leave you feeling better, not worse.

In Health and Awesomeness,
Travis Merritt, BS, CPT, (and other letters behind the name) is the Owner of Rowlett Transformation Center in Rowlett, TX.P.S. – If you enjoyed this post please share it with your friends using the social media buttons below.P.P.S. – Please ask a question or share a comment with us in the Leave a Comment section at the very bottom of the page.  We love your feedback and will use it to develop future content.PLEASE CLICK THE “LIKE” BUTTON, POST A COMMENT AND SHARE WITH YOUR FRIENDS…


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