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Poop on the Carnivore Diet: All You Need to Know

When starting the Carnivore diet, your body goes through various changes in bowel movements, energy levels, and digestion as your digestive system adapts to increased protein and fat intake. This adaptation phase might involve temporary discomforts like constipation or diarrhea. But what is normal poop on the Carnivore diet, and when do we need medical help?

Poop on the Carnivore Diet: All You Need to Know
Highlights
  • Starting a Carnivore diet might negatively affect your digestion at first, but it can improve stomach health and gut microbes.
  • On the Carnivore diet, bowel movements are less frequent, which is normal.
  • Changes in your eating habits, dehydration, mineral imbalances, and potential food intolerances can cause constipation on the Carnivore diet.
  • Diarrhea on the Carnivore diet may be due to gut bacteria changes, increased fat intake, vitamin/ mineral deficiencies, or excess protein intake.

Caution!

The information provided in this article is based on the recent academic research, but not a substitute for medical consultation by any means. Please consult a healthcare professional if you have any medical problems.

What Is a Carnivore Diet?

The Carnivore diet is an approach to reduce inflammation and help weight loss by minimizing or avoiding carbohydrates and increasing fat and protein.

It focuses on meat and animal products, like fish, eggs, and some dairy while avoiding plant-based foods like vegetables and grains.

Many people are drawn to this diet for its benefits in weight loss, reducing inflammation, better digestion, and increasing energy levels.

Recent studies have shown that the Carnivore diet can have positive health effects, including weight loss and increased energy levels. It can also provide all the essential nutrients needed, even without plant foods [1] [2].

In addition to these health effects, the Carnivore diet aims to improve digestion. But how can it affect your digestive system?

What Does a Carnivore Diet Do to Your Stomach?

Different studies show that the Carnivore diet can improve your digestive health. For example, A 2021 study revealed that a majority of participants had fewer digestive problems and more satisfaction with their health, showing the diet's positive impact on stomach health [3].

Also, if you think avoiding plant-based foods and fiber causes digestive issues on the Carnivore diet, think again! As a 2012 study showed that fiber is not as effective as many may think [4].

Here is how the Carnivore diet can affect the digestive system.

  • Animal products consumed on the Carnivore diet are generally high in protein and fats and low in fibers, which means easier digestion as protein and fat are broken down by stomach acids and enzymes more easily [5].
  • Also, a 2021 study showed that individuals with digestive disorders like IBS can experience symptom relief on a Carnivore diet due to the elimination of trigger foods commonly found in plant-based diets [6].
  • Consuming meat, which requires strong acidic conditions for digestion, can lead to a lower stomach pH. This increased acidity is effective for breaking down tough animal proteins and fats [7].
  • Eating more meat can change the acid level in your stomach, which might cause a little discomfort at first. But usually, this doesn't last long as your body gets used to the diet. A 2017 study found that only a few people had stomach problems on this diet, and most people felt better overall, even with diabetes [8].
  • Our gut is really good at adjusting to what we eat. A 2013 research showed that a diet consisting only of animal products can rapidly alter the balance of gut microbes. It stimulates the bacteria that can process bile while reducing the bacteria dependent on plant-based nutrients, highlighting the gut's adaptability to the Carnivore diet [9].

So, when you switch to a Carnivore diet, it's normal to have some digestive changes as your body tries to adjust to the new eating habits.

But we need to ensure our digestive system is functioning properly. One of the most important factors in determining your digestive health is your stool. But what is normal pooping?

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What Is Normal Pooping in a Carnivore Diet?

Since the Carnivore diet is fiber-free, it’s normal to poop less often. Some people may have only one bowel movement every day or every few days, while others may experience less frequent movements without discomfort.

Actually, people who eat only meat tend to produce less waste, so they might find themselves pooping less or less frequently, but it isn't usually a sign of constipation [10].

It is all because meat takes longer to digest than plant foods, so your bowel movements will probably be less frequent but regular and predictable.

Normal Carnivore diet poop is generally firm and well-formed, often appearing cylindrical or sausage-shaped!

The texture can be softer and easier to pass if you're well-hydrated and your overall digestive health is good. The firmness of the stool is also related to the lower fiber intake [11].

Also, during the Carnivore diet, especially in the beginning, you should pay attention to the color of your poop. Any significant color changes can provide insights into how your body is reacting to this dietary shift.

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What Does It Mean When Your Poop Color Changes on the Carnivore Diet?

The color of your stool is mainly influenced by bile, a fluid that helps digest fats. Its color can vary daily and from person to person because bile levels naturally change over time.

Stool color can vary, with shades of brown and even green being normal. However, it's important to be careful. If you notice bright red or black in your stool, which could indicate blood, you should seek medical advice immediately [12].

Additionally, if your body processes food too quickly, such as during dietary adjustments or in cases of diarrhea, you might see green stools. It happens because the rapid transit through the intestines prevents bile from fully breaking down [13].

On the Carnivore diet, the absence of colorful plant foods might lead to less variation in stool color [14].

Also, medications and supplements can affect stool color. For example, iron supplements and some antibiotics like Rifampin can change the color of your stool to dark brown, black, yellow, or green, regardless of your diet [15].

Remember that poop color can change for various reasons, and it’s important to pay attention to any significant or persistent changes.

Also, the frequency and timing of defecation is important. Some people may experience constipation when starting this type of diet, but when can we say we have constipation on the Carnivore diet, and how can it be controlled?

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Constipation and the Carnivore Diet

Constipation on the Carnivore diet can occur for different reasons. When you switch to this diet, your body has to adapt to digesting more proteins and fats, which can be challenging and may lead to constipation [16].

Also, there's often a significant loss of water as your body uses up stored glycogen, and this decrease in hydration can affect bowel movements. So, you need to drink enough water to prevent dehydration and constipation [17].

The change in your diet also alters your gut bacteria. When you move from a high-carb to a low-carb diet, the types of bacteria in your gut change, which can slow down the movement of food through your intestines.

Additionally, imbalances in essential minerals like magnesium, calcium, potassium, and sodium, vital for intestinal muscle function, can cause constipation [18]. Consuming electrolyte drinks and taking supplements  - after consulting a physician, of course - can help.

Certain foods common in the Carnivore diet, particularly processed meats and dairy, can induce constipation, especially if you're intolerant or allergic to them.

Another reaction of the body to the Carnivore diet can be diarrhea. Let’s see what can cause diarrhea and how it can be controlled.

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Diarrhea on the Carnivore Diet

Diarrhea can occur in some people when starting the Carnivore diet for various reasons. First, when you switch from eating lots of carbohydrates to mainly meat, the bacteria in your gut change. This big change can upset your stomach and lead to diarrhea [19].

Another factor is the increased intake of dietary fats. The Carnivore diet involves a substantial increase in fat consumption and a decrease in carbohydrates.

This shift requires the body to adapt to processing fats differently, i.e., digestive enzymes should break down fats more efficiently. The gallbladder plays an important role in fat digestion by storing and releasing bile, which helps break down fats in the small intestine.

This adjustment can result in diarrhea in some people, at first, as the body learns to process the higher fat content efficiently [20].

Also, if you don't get enough of certain vitamins like D and A or minerals like zinc, you can experience diarrhea. Consuming beef liver and spending time in the sun can help you gain vitamin D. You can also take supplements after consulting a healthcare professional [21].

Consuming too much protein, especially if you're not used to it, can also cause diarrhea. The body has a limit on how many amino acids it can digest, which depends on age and digestive conditions. Exceeding this limit leads to the production of ammonia, which can result in diarrhea as the body tries to excrete it​ [22].

Learn More: Carnivore Diet Diarrhea: Is It Normal or Not?

To find out if we have diarrhea and constipation, we need to know what's considered a normal frequency for bowel movements. Although it varies from person to person, we can provide a general guideline.

How Many Times a Day Should You Poop?

How often you should poop on the Carnivore diet can vary from person to person. About 95.5% of people fit into what's called the "3-3 rule", which means it's normal to have bowel movements from three times a week to three times a day, with about 50% of the people excreting once daily [23].

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) states that having at least three bowel movements per week is healthy [24].

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So, when our bowel movement is not considered normal, and we need medical help?

When to Consult a Doctor?

You need to consult a healthcare professional if you experience any of the following situations.

  • If you notice big changes in the texture, volume, or appearance of your stools, like if they become too narrow, watery, or very different in color, it's good to consult a healthcare provider [25]. 
  • If you have constipation or diarrhea that lasts more than two weeks, or if these conditions come with severe symptoms like stomach pain or signs of dehydration, you should seek medical advice [26].
  • It's also important to get medical care if you see blood or mucus in your feces. Stools that are deep red, maroon, black, or tarry, especially with a strong odor, can be a sign of a serious issue and should be checked by a healthcare provider [27].
  • If you have symptoms like constipation with nausea, dark urine, a fever, or yellowing of the skin, it could mean there's a blockage in your intestines or a liver issue. These are severe signs, and you should get emergency medical help.

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Conclusion

When you switch to the Carnivore diet, your pooping habits might change. At first, you may experience diarrhea or constipation because your body is transitioning to new eating habits.

To prevent these, you should drink plenty of water every day and get the right vitamins and minerals your healthcare provider prescribes.

Also, don't worry, as most people find that their stomachs feel better after a few days on this diet. Just give your body some time to adjust.

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