I knew I’d write at least one TMI post in this series, and since it’s Day 12, I guess today’s the day.
Like so many Americans, I struggle with IBS. Irritable Bowel Syndrome is an unfortunate collection of symptoms including chronic stomach pain, fluctuation between constipation and diarrhea, and lots of bloating.
I’m the girl who wears joggers all day because jeans that fit in the morning may be stretched to the max by the afternoon. I’m almost always uncomfortable after a big meal, and I frequently get stomach aches so bad I have to lay down -- a big reason why I needed a job that lets me work from home. My digestion has caused more than any one person’s share of embarrassing stories and situational distress.
Around day 7 of my keto journey, I noticed that I didn’t feel bloated after dinner. In fact, I realized that I hadn’t felt bloated at all for at least a few days. I cannot begin to tell you how phenomenal that realization felt. Bloating is uncomfortable, sure, but it also makes me feel so insecure about wearing dresses or anything tight around my middle.
I have seen photos of myself at parties where my stomach was stretched out so tight I could easily have been mistaken for a pregnant woman. Because of this, I usually wear outfits that shroud my stomach in the event that it balloons out after eating, forcing me to set limits on my wardrobe options.
That was until I realized that eliminating carbs may be the answer to my digestion issues.
As I started to research the connection between bloat and the keto diet, I found that many people actually experience an increase in bloat when they first eliminate carbs. This can be caused by the artificial sweeteners in low-carb foods and drinks, or from the increase in dietary protein. This new bloat usually goes away as your body adjusts to the new diet.
My reaction was the opposite. Fruits, veggies, grains, & legumes can all cause gas and bloating. By eliminating most of those items from my diet, I’m giving my gut a break.
I’ve also decreased the amount of fiber I’m eating due to the reduction in carbs, which contributes to a flatter stomach. This reduction can cause constipation in some ketoers, but I have not experienced that side effect.
According to my new BFF, Dr. Michael Ruscio, carbohydrates can feed the bacteria in your stomach that cause bloat and indigestion. A low-carb diet like keto reduces the fuel for the bacteria in your gut that causes the discomfort. Keto also decreases the inflammation that occurs in your bowels that can cause diarrhea. Carbs can also cause fermentation in your guts, leading to painful gas and bacterial imbalance.
If the only benefit I get from a low-carb diet is the relief from chronic gas, it’s enough for me (and my husband, who’s thrilled with my recent digestion improvements). Fortunately, this is just one of the really great benefits I’ve experienced in the past week and a half.
Day 12 Stats
Current Weight: 132.4 (Down 10.3)
Ketone Reading: 2.9