Ketones And Stomach Pain – Is There A Connection?

Everyone has heard about the ketogenic diet by now.

The diet has been linked to more than a handful of positive effects that occur when the body is in “ketosis,” but many fail to recognize some of the side-effects that may also pop up.

Stomach pains were something that I found difficult to overcome, but after making it through, I am feeling energized, and I have lost weight.

Ketones And Stomach Pain, Ketones And Stomach Pain

Read on to find out why your stomach might pain on this diet and what you need to do to avoid stomach pains, as well as some of the other symptoms that may develop.

I’ve been on a ketogenic diet since the beginning of this year. After reading about all the health benefits that this diet has to offer – with weight loss being a particularly interesting topic, I decided to give it a try.

In addition to weight loss, the keto diet is also known to lower blood glucose levels (no more relying on glucose for energy), to reduce triglyceride levels (especially in women), and to boost levels of HDL cholesterol, often referred to as “good cholesterol.”

Common Side Effects Of Ketosis

Ketones And Stomach Pain, Ketones And Stomach Pain

As the body starts to adapt to your new eating habits – lower carbs and more fat – you may start to notice some unpleasant side-effects developing.

The unfortunate part about these side-effects is that they are extremely common – which means if you are planning to adopt this particular diet, you are likely to experience at least one of the side-effects.

These side-effects are not long-term problems that you are going to be facing while you are following your ketogenic diet.

Instead, they are short-lived and tend to clear up within just a couple of days.

Still, the side-effects can be very unpleasant and even interfere with the lives of some people who are new to the ketogenic diet.

Side-effects associated with the ketogenic diet tend to develop once your body goes into ketosis.

This is a term that refers to the body producing ketones from fat, which is then used to supply cells and body tissues with adequate energy to perform their appropriate functions.

During the early stages of the diet, the body’s intake of carbs is restricted, and the intake of fats is increased.

This can result in a condition known as “keto flu.”

Symptoms of keto flu may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Brain fog
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • A reduction in motivation
  • Sugar cravings

Stomach Pain And Ketosis

Ketones And Stomach Pain, Ketones And Stomach Pain

While your body is transitioning from depending on carbs to produce energy to rather relying on fats, you may experience stomach pain, in addition to the particular side-effects that I have listed above.

The stomach pain can be somewhat intense in the beginning.

Unfortunately, this is one of the main reasons why a significant number of people end up quitting on the ketogenic diet. The idea of such severe stomach pains causes them to be alarmed and think that the diet is actually harmful to them.

The truth is, stomach pain during the initial phase of ketosis should not be somewhat to cause significant concern.

It is actually considered quite normal.

When your body stops using glycogen for energy and starts to produce the ketones that used for energy on the ketogenic diet, the fluid levels in your body will quickly start to deplete.

The main reason for this is because the body utilizes water in order to store glycogen.

Once in ketosis, the body will get rid of the glycogen, which also means you will lose water content.

Another important process occurs during ketosis – your body stops producing as much insulin as compared to following a diet that is higher in carbohydrates. Elevated insulin levels lead to a reduction in the excretion of sodium.

The result of this process is water retention.

The ketogenic diet helps to reduce the number of insulin hormones produced by the pancreas when food is consumed, which means sodium excretion is improved and retained water is flushed from the body.

The dehydration that is caused by these two effects is what leads to the stomach pain you may experience when you get started with the ketogenic diet.

An Effective Solution To Stomach Pain As A Side-Effect Of Ketosis

When you do experience stomach pain as your body goes into a state of ketosis, the good news is there are a few things you can do to help reduce the symptoms.

The most important and effective solution would be to drink a lot of water – since your body is becoming depleted of water quickly, you need to fill it up with fluids again.

Fluid retention requires sodium and other electrolytes, which is why it may also be a good idea to increase your intake of sodium-rich foods.

Some people simply add some extra salt to their meals.

Final Words

Even though many benefits can be experienced on the ketogenic diet, the process of entering ketosis can be detrimental.

Keto flu, a term that refers to symptoms that often shows up during the first week of a ketogenic diet, can cause unpleasant stomach pains to occur.

Fortunately, these pains are most likely caused by dehydration, which means increasing your water intake might be a simple, yet effective way to combat this particular side-effect.

References
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-benefits-of-low-carb-ketogenic-diets#section5
https://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb/keto/flu-side-effects
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499830/

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