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