Why We Get Stomach Pain on Keto Diet? Explained With Solutions – TheDietBlogger.com

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Table of Contents

  • It is common to get stomach pain and cramps on ketogenic diet. Low carb based tend to have more effect on stomach.
  • We will show you two easy fix to get rid of stomach cramps on ketogenic diet and maintain a healthy gut as well.
  • Also we will discuss what’s causing stomach pain in the first place, so you can understand the solution and enjoy your keto life in the long run.

Stomach Pain On Ketogenic Diet

So, on keto diet we reduce carb intake and increase fat consumption significantly. If you have been maintaining a western diet, which is mostly carb based, adopting keto can be very stressful for your body. Specially because of giving up all those carbs your body is used to for a long time.

Ketogenic diet is not only a low carb diet but also a high fat based diet, which helps us to produce ketone. So our body is coping up with two major changes in our diet. Going low carb alone can be stressful for our body and it has to deal with high fat intake at the same time on keto.

When people are getting into ketosis or on ketosis for a certain time period they get stomach cramps and get scared. Well, there is nothing to be scared about and it happens on ketogenic diet.

Stomach Pain: Reasons And Solutions

To understand the reason and solution for upset stomach and all the stomach issues on keto, you need to take a deeper dive into two ketogenic mechanism mentioned above.

Giving up carbs and taking more fats – the reason for stomach pain in keto diet is hidden inside these two basic mechanisms.

1. Lower Carb, Higher Dehydration Leads To Stomach Pain

So, you are giving up carbs and depleting your glycogen reserve even before you are in ketosis. You want to use fat as your body fuel instead of carbs.

Lower carbs triggers two biological processes in your body.

First, your body releases all excess water. When carb is in our body we have more water present inside our body as water is required to store carbs. It requires 3-4 gram of water to store only 1 gram of carbohydrate inside our body.

So when you are giving up carbs, your body automatically releases any excess water.

Resource: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25911631

Second, lower carbs leads to lower insulin level. Lower insulin leads to lower level to water inside our body because of lower sodium retention. This vicious cycle is a continuous process in ketogenic diet. So, for the second time you lose more water and get more dehydrated for lowering carb consumption.

Resource: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1988777

So your severely dehydrated body is now left no choice to process the foods you eat with less amount of water and this is how you get stomach ache and cramps very often in ketogenic diet.

Dead Simple Solution: Salt Water

So, now you understand of the major reason of your stomach ache is dehydration from giving up all the carbs. The solution is not to increase your carb intake but to increase more fluid.

We already discussed it in our ketosis starter kit pack that you must keep yourself hydrated when getting into ketosis and as long as you are using fat as a body fuel.

The best option for you is to drink more water and add a pinch of Himalayan pink salt. Salt water, specially Himalayan pink salt water gives you all the electrolyte you are losing in ketogenic diet.

It will keep you hydrated and recover all the electrolytes that your body is losing constantly in ketogenic diet.

Bottom-line:  Keeping hydrated in keto diet is vital and can cause severe discomfort. Make a habit of drinking salt water to hydrate your body and maintain a balanced electrolyte.

2. MCT Oil: Health Benefits with Stomach Pain

In ketogenic diet you must take more fat than usual western diet. Oil is a good source of fat and MCT oil is the most recommended oil in ketogenic diet for it’s shorter fatty acids. Though there is bid debate going on about which one to choose on keto diet: MCT oil or coconut oil. Experts suggest to use our prudence while selecting one between the two as each one’s effectiveness depends on our body conditions.

Shorter chain fatty acids are easy to digest and give you instant energy. But we are not here to discuss the benefits of MCT oil. You can read more about MCTs here.

So, how can MCT oil causes stomach pain and cramps?

Our body process MCTs differently than other oils and fats that we consume. Normal fats required a complex digestion process.

When we consume usual fat it goes to our small intestine through your stomach. To break the fat in our small intestine our pancreas releases a hormone called cholecystokinin.

This cholecystokinin then calls the enzyme to break down fats from our pancreas. It also summons bile from our gallbladder to break down fats. This is complex digestion system that our body goes through to digest the fat that we eat.

Resource: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3074989/

But is case of MCTs, even though it’s a fat, the whole process gets a lot shorter. When we consume MCT it directly enters our body from small intestine. It’s like a super food that requires a little to no digestion and ready to be used instantly.

The stomach cramps triggers when our body starts digesting a lot of MCT in a shorter period of time. That’s when we face upset stomach and stomach issues.

But do not worry, there is a easy solution to enjoy the benefits of MCTs and ger rid of stomach issues at the same time.

Solution: Adding Long Chain Fatty Acids with MCTs

If you add long chain fatty acids with MCTs like coconut oil you can enjoy the benefits of MCTs and also can avoid the risk of getting stomach pain and cramps.

Adding coconut oil will trigger the hormonal response to break down the long chain fatty acids. Coconut oil have a good amount of MCTs.

So, you will still enjoy the good taste and instant energy from MCT. And also slow down the digestion process because of the long chain fatty acids inside the coconut oil.

Bottom-line: Mixing MCTs with other fat and oils gives the win-win solution for you. Enjoy the benefits of MCTs along with the hormonal response for a slow and full digestion process.


Both the solution that we showed you here is vital not only for stomach pain but also for your ketogenic diet journey and lifestyle a lot better. To enjoy your healthy lifestyle on keto you should be in a habit of drinking fluid more frequently with salt to keep yourself hydrated. And MCTs is a great source of healthy instant energy. Just mix it with other oils and you can avoid stomach pain, cramps or upset stomach.

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