There are few things that are normal on a keto diet. One of those things is stomach pain. People need to understand this that if they experience stomach ache on a keto diet then they do not need to worry about it because it is not something alien to a keto diet. However, they should find out the reasons and try to fix the pain instead of taking additional stress .
What are the reasons for stomach pain on a keto diet?
Your stomach does not hurt for no reason. There definitely are some causes behind stomach pain. Without knowing those causes it is impossible to treat an upset stomach. Let us explore the reasons.
Low presence of carbs in the body leads to extreme stomach pain on a keto diet :
A keto diet is a low carb diet. When you roll into a keto diet you have to cut off your carb intake. Low carbs do not have a direct effect on the stomach. However, indirectly it is responsible for stomach pain. The low presence of carbs in the body is responsible for major water loss. In addition to this, it also lowers insulin levels resulting in less water retention. Both these processes leave the body with less water. That is why the stomach is left with no choice but to process food with the least water available resulting in stomach cramps and stomach bloating. Low carbs, therefore, are responsible for stomach aches.
Dehydration is another reason for sharp stomach pain:
Water is lost in many ways when a human body is on a keto diet. During exercise, it is lost due to perspiration and high metabolic activity. It is lost due to low carbs and it is also lost due to low insulin levels that result in low retention of sodium . It is therefore an established fact that keto diet depletes your body of maximum water. When you eat food, there is not enough water for digestion and other related purposes. The stomach has to do an extra effort. That sometimes causes pain in the stomach.
MCT oil: Most recommended and used ketogenic oil can trigger extreme stomach pain :
MCT oil is widely known for its benefits on a keto diet. It is highly recommended and used by people who follow a keto diet. It is based on shorter fatty acids that are much easier to digest and give instant energy. Because it is a healthy source of fats so people use it abundantly on a keto diet. Little do they know that MCT oil causes extreme stomach pain. MCT oil needs little or no digestion at all. The problem occurs when the stomach starts digesting it in large quantity resulting in extreme pain.
Too less or too much dietary fiber could cause stomach bloating:
Dietary fiber is very important but you need to have it in an adequate amount. Too less fiber in the food means that food will not pass easily through the digestive tract and the friction will result in severe stomach pain.
On the contrary, eating lots of dietary fiber will make stool thick, hard, and big. When it will pass through the digestive tract, it will again cause bloating and pain. Therefore, the amount of dietary fiber is important here.
Consumption of sugary alcohol can induce severe stomach ache:
People following a keto diet do turn to sugary alcohol. It contains zero digestible carbs but tastes sweet. Although sugary alcohols do not affect a keto diet yet they can lead to stomach bloating. These are the ability to cause inflammation and can also upset the stomach when consumed in quite some quantity.
Allergens present in your diet can also be the reason for increased stomach pain:
Sometimes it happens that your body is sensitive to ketogenic food and when you consume certain food, it induces different allergies and reactions that also include stomach ache. This can also lead to swelling and inflammation in the stomach subsequently leading to pain. Some food that may be sensitive for some people are
- Artificial sweeteners
How to treat bloating and severe stomach pain on a keto diet?
Now that we have identified the reasons for stomach ache, it is now easy to find the solutions that may reduce and even eradicate stomach pain in the upper and lower portion of it.
Drink a lot of saltwater:
It is best to get rid of dehydration in order to avoid severe pain stomach. Therefore drinking lots of water is the only way out. The presence of water will provide assistance and lubrication for the food digestion process and will help in avoiding all sorts of stomach aches let it be in the upper stomach portion or the lower stomach portion. The addition of salt helps in maintaining electrolyte balance.
Add salt to food to avoid stomach ache:
Salt water is indeed a good way of avoiding stomach issues. But it is always best to play safe. Therefore the addition of salt in the food makes it even safer and better to avoid a stomach ache. Because the addition of salt in food helps in balancing electrolytes in the water as well as in the body.
Consume long chain fatty acids:
Shorter chain fatty acids could be replaced by long chain fatty acids because fatty acids composed of the long chain could induce a hormonal process to break them into shorter ones. This also reduces the risks of experiencing horrible stomach pain. Therefore, the addition of coconut oil to MCT oil is the best solution for this issue because coconut oil is based on long chain fatty  acids. In this way, you can enjoy the perks of MCT oil without upsetting your stomach.
Proper intake of fiber:
It is imperative that you regulate the quantity of dietary fiber that you consume. It should neither be too less causing friction nor too much to make difficult the passing of stool. Moderate quantity is the best solution to avoid stomach pain.
Consider using medicine or relevant supplements :
You can also consult your doctor and go for some medication or supplements if necessary. But do not choose these on your own especially when you are following a keto diet.
Give your body some time to adjust to high fat food:
Adapting to a keto diet and entering a state of ketosis form a whole new process and this process needs time. There may be certain side effects like stomach pain during the transitory phase followed by a bunch of benefits. Therefore you need to give your body some time to adapt to a new process.
Do not quit because of horrible stomach pain:
You need to understand this, that stomach pain is very common in a keto diet. It is a side effect that does come with long term benefits. So stay put and do not lose heart. Stomach pain vanishes in due time. However, quitting would bring you no good.
Zaineb Fatima holds a BSc (Hons) degree in Food and Nutrition, and is dedicated to helping others maintain a healthy weight through the use of good supplements. In addition to consuming these supplements herself, she also shares her knowledge about their usage with others. Zaineb is also an expert on a range of health topics, and is happy to share her opinions and insights on matters related to food, health, and nutrition.