The ketogenic diet is a low carb diet that lets the dieter consume different types of food items, even those that are high fat, as long as the calorie count of the said items is within the acceptable ketogenic diet plan. It is highly restrictive in portion size but not the food type and it will ideally result in ketosis or the metabolic process of the body wherein it burns fats instead due to a lack of carbohydrate intake. In short, the ketogenic diet forces the body to go into a regular state of ketosis by eating low amounts of carbohydrates forcing the body to consume the stored fats instead. This should ideally result in weight loss and improved metabolism.
This approach to weight loss however also raises some important and valid health concerns such as the relationship between the keto diet and ulcers. In this article, we will look at why the ketogenic diet can result in the development of ulcers.
Is the Ketogenic Diet Safe?
Since the ketogenic diet is a relatively new program, comprehensive twenty (20) year studies are currently not available. However, the data on hand clearly indicates some advantages and some disadvantages to doing the ketogenic diet long term. More importantly, it is best to emphasize that as of the moment, there is no definite answer as to whether or not the ketogenic diet is effective and generally beneficial in the long run or if it can cause various different health concerns such as “the keto flu” and the development of ulcers. Regardless of its known benefits or disadvantages, the ketogenic diet should primarily be about how the person’s body reacts to the program itself.
Ultimately, if the diet plan is working wonders on the body of the dieter, then he/she should, by all means, continue on with the observance of the keto diet. There are a number of considerations though in terms of the development of ulcers while on a ketogenic diet.
Keto Diet and Ulcer
Individuals who have been in keto for quite some time may become worried or anxious if stomach pains begin to develop as these may be the symptoms of a dreaded or severe illness. However, stomach pains and discomfort while in a ketogenic diet are most commonly caused by ulcers. Ulcers may be worrying and stress-inducing for some patients, but their appearance and development during a keto diet is quite common and is considered a normal bodily response to some of the changes the diet does to one’s body. This is especially true for people who are currently at that stage of the keto diet where glycogen is being converted to ketones. The big question still remains though and that is why do ulcers develop while doing the ketogenic diet? Technically speaking, ulcers develop while doing the ketogenic diet due to two main reasons.
1. Glycogen to Ketones
The keto diet converts the body’s glycogen to ketones due to the low carbohydrate intake of individuals. This can go through and consume the body’s reserves of water and therefore results in dehydration or the depletion of fluids from the body.
2. Lowered Insulin Levels
The conversion of the body’s glycogen to ketones further adds to its dehydration through lowered insulin levels. Lowered insulin levels result in the body releasing its excess stored fluids consequently leading to dehydration.
Unfortunately, ulcers caused by dehydration brought about by ketosis are not the only symptoms patients on keto will encounter. Individuals may also have bouts of headaches, nausea and lowered motivation during their diet program. The good news is that there are ways to prevent and alleviate the symptoms of ulcers and the further development of other health issues while on a ketogenic diet.
What to do to prevent and eliminate ulcers while on the keto diet?
The symptoms of ulcers while on the keto diet can be quite distressing and demotivating for a lot of individuals. So much so, in fact, that some quitted from the ketogenic diet altogether. Fortunately, there are some steps and strategies to help alleviate and prevent the symptoms and development of ulcers while on the keto diet. Below are some of these strategies:
1. Increase fluid intake
As mentioned earlier, dehydration can make the ketogenic diet even more challenging. The lower carbohydrate intake together with the increase in ketones can create a potent combination of factors that can cause ulcers. Increasing fluid intake can help the body weather the physical effects of the ketogenic diet and greatly help in reducing the chances of developing ulcers.
2. Increase sodium intake
Taking in an increased amount of sodium can help the body in the fight against dehydration and ulcers. Sodium can help retain fluids and it can allow those retained fluids to be evenly distributed in the body’s cells. Adding sodium to meals can actually help the body fight against various stomach problems.
3. Increase fat consumption
During the transition to and actual ketosis, the body will use up fat as its primary source of energy. Having an increased level of healthy fats can help an individual’s body better adjust and adapt to the effects of ketosis.
4. Practice patience
Sometimes, the only way to get through life’s challenges is to practice a little patience and the same is true for the ketogenic diet. The body will adjust to the new biological requirements being introduced by the ketogenic diet and as the body adapts to the ketones and the lower carbohydrates within it, various symptoms that may be seen as adverse must first be weathered and overcome by the individual. The health benefits of the ketogenic diet will logically become more apparent once the aforementioned adjustment period has passed.
All in all, patients may find it worrisome to have developed ulcers while on a ketogenic diet. However, taking the proper steps and employing various strategies such as increasing the intake of fluids, sodium, and fats, to fight against dehydration and other keto related symptoms will result in better management of keto diet symptoms and ideally result in better health and wellness for individuals on a keto diet.