Keto and Your Gut
A keto diet emphasizes minimizing or eliminating the consumption of carbohydrates, even those found in some fruits and vegetables. It is a low-carb, high-fat approach to healthy eating.
By reducing the amount of carbohydrates, a keto diet helps better maintain healthy blood sugar levels and may help prevent the development of diabetes. This also helps protect our gut lining. Many of the bacteria in our gut are beneficial, but there are many others that can cause serious damage to our gastrointestinal system.
For some people, the tissue that connects the gut lining can weaken, resulting in broken barriers that cannot fend off harmful bacteria from entering the gut. If this happens, anything that penetrates through the gastrointestinal system can leak from the gut and into our bloodstream. Those elements may include bacteria, toxins, and small pieces of food we eat. As a result, these harmful substances can cause stomach issues and may even affect our brain, skin, and hormones.
Two of primary culprits for causing weak gut barriers are beans and grains. Most grains contain gluten. This compound triggers the immune system in the gut to attack itself. It is also a factor that produces zonulin, which is a type of protein that breaks the connections in the intestinal walls. The function of a keto diet is to provide good fats that cause the intestinal cells to release proteins that can be used to combat the inflammation damaging the gut lining.
A keto diet can also help produce more of the good bacteria responsible for strengthening the junctions between the cells of the gut barrier. Eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids—another focal point of a keto diet—helps improve microbial diversity. This, along with the higher fiber you can get from a keto diet, increases your resistance to harmful bacteria and toxins that break down the gut lining.
A keto diet may also help reduce inflammation of the gut, protect the stomach against stomach ulcers, maintain the mucus layer needed to prevent microbes from going near the intestinal barrier, support the strength of gut mucosa, and stimulate the production of stomach acid. A keto diet also centers on foods with high probiotic content, which can help protect and rebuild the intestinal walls and promote the growth of good bacteria.
Since the keto diet promotes high-fat consumption, it may be beneficial for people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diarrhea, and abdominal cramping. The food in a keto diet, as well as the processes your body goes through while on a keto diet, release nutrients and good fats that can be used by the body to help prevent any stomach problems.
A keto diet is different from other types of diet because it promotes high-fat intake, which many other diet types restrict. Our bodies need fat to function properly, and an increase in healthy fats may have a positive impact on our gut health. As with any diet, be sure to consult a physician or medical professional before beginning a keto diet, and ensure you stay within the recommended guidelines to maximize your benefits.
Yours in health and wellness,
Paige Koeberle, Clean Slate Essentials