Before I start this post, I need to point out that nothing in this post is from a doctor. This post is written based on my opinion only and should not be taken as medical advice. It is what works for me to continue on a healthy and safe weight loss journey with keto. There is SO MUCH to learn on keto and even when you think you know it all, “stuff” can happen. I learned the hard way. I’m still learning, but the one thing I did learn is that it’s important to have fiber on keto.
About 6 months into keto, I had a gall bladder attack. I was 47 years old and 25 pounds lighter! I was feeling great… and then BAM! It came from nowhere. Intense nausea and pain in my stomach that I confused with hunger followed by vomiting and passing out. As soon as it came, it left. The next morning, I felt fine. Five days later the same thing happened AGAIN. Except for this time (sorry for the TMI), my feces were gray which is a classic sign of gallbladder issues. One of the causes for that is a high-fat diet and not getting enough fiber in my keto diet.
Gallstones are formed when liquid stored in the gallbladder hardens into pieces of stone-like material. When gallstones form, they can block the normal flow of bile from the gallbladder to the intestines. When this happens, the result can be a gallbladder attack.
I’m not sharing this with you to scare you. I’m telling you so you can learn from my mistakes. You can google more about the ins and outs of gallbladders.
Long story short, I took away 2 pieces of information from my experience:
- I needed more fiber
- I needed less erythritol
Getting Fiber on Keto
It’s important to get fiber in your keto diet. I’m sure by now you’ve noticed changes in your bodily functions and probably aren’t eating a lot of fruits or vegetables. They are LOADED with carbohydrates so it’s easy to skip them to get more high-fat food in your body. We must recognize that our bodies need fiber.
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that does not turn into glucose. Fiber, in the right form will not mess up your keto lifestyle. It will stay intact all the way through your gut to give you a healthy digestive system.
Benefits of Fiber
- important to your digestive system because it keeps everything moving in the right direction
- absorbs the extra water in your intestines so that your feces will be solid
- slows down your digestion to allow the nutrients the time they need to be to be absorbed by your colon
- shown to lower your risk of certain cancers
- lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes
- wards off heart disease
- provides an all-natural detox
- studies show those who get enough fiber in their diet live longer
So, obviously, we are seeing that we need fiber.
Getting Fiber While in Ketosis
Let’s look at how to get fiber while maintaining your keto status.
Here are a couple of high fiber keto recipes that keep the carbs low and the fiber high. Keto High Fiber Bread packs 6g protein, 5.8g fiber per serving and only 3g net carbohydrates. This recipe is tasty because it mimics the flavor of wheat bread. Flax seeds and psyllium powder are just a few of the ingredients that make this bread high in fiber.
Smoothies are another easy and tasty way to get fiber in your diet. The Keto Avocado Smoothie uses avocado and psyllium husk. Both avocado and psyllium husk are good for fiber in keto diet plans. Almost every carb in this smoothie is fiber!
Fiber supplements on keto
Fiber supplements on keto are also an excellent choice. When you need fiber and want to avoid carbohydrates, take a fiber supplement. A fiber pill will ensure that you are getting only fiber and no extra carbs.
Fiber in keto diets can also be added to high protein foods that you are already eating through powders. Psyllium husk powder can be blended into your keto drinks to up your fiber intake. Ground flaxseeds are also a good source of fiber. Flax seeds provide omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. Acacia fiber powder is another fiber powder that can be added to a drink or food to aid your digestion. These forms of powdered fiber are very effective.
Getting Fiber Through Food
Supplements and powders, as mentioned above, are an easy way to make sure you get the fiber need, but I’ve increased my fiber intake a lot now by real foods. Your total fiber intake per day should be between 25-30 grams. According to the American Heart Association, most Americans are getting about 15 grams. So, it’s obvious that on keto you are probably getting even less. And I know how easy it is to forego the fiber to eat more foods that have fewer carbs. Honestly, eating fiber can help speed up your metabolism resulting in more weight loss and it helps keep you feeling full. So, make sure there is some fiber in your keto diet plan.
Here are some ideas on how to get more fiber with low carb foods that work for me:
- Berries– Blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, and sometimes blueberries. Blueberries are higher in carbs than the others so I have them sparingly.
- Nuts – Almonds, pistachios, pecans, hazelnuts, macadamias, and brazil nuts. You really can’t go wrong with nuts. Stay away from cashews is the only advice I have. They have 7.6 grams of net carbs per serving!
- Flaxseeds & Chia Seeds – These are LOADED with fiber. Actually, flax seeds are equal parts fiber to carbs ratio so you have a 0 net carb intake! Sprinkle it on everything!
- Vegetables – Asparagus, red pepper, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms (yuck, that one is for my sister), zucchini, avocados, spinach, and lettuce.
One of my favorite ways to get fiber is with a keto omelette.
Let’s not forget the erythritol that I believe led to my gallbladder attack. EVEN THOUGH I have not found any evidence that specifically mentions gallbladder issues from consuming Erythritol, I do feel this was a contributing factor. Erythritol is a sugar alcohol found in some fruits and fermented foods. This type of low-calorie sweetener is often used in foods in place of sugar. Sugar has too many carbs for those of us on keto. The erythritol tastes sweet and is excreted through your urine. This means that this sweetener never makes it to your colon so you don’t have to worry about carbs from sugar when you want something sweet.
At first, it seems harmless to eat erythritol because it isn’t adding to your weight. However, stomach ache, gas, and bloating are common side effects of this sweetener.
Please keep in mind that this advice is not medically proven. However, when I was having my gallbladder attacks, I was consuming a lot of erythritols. Since erythritol can cause digestive upset it was probably contributing to my condition. It’s the only thing I was doing that Bill wasn’t.
I think the key here is to watch your erythritol intake. Maybe don’t cut out this sweetener completely, but be aware of how or if it is affecting your body.
Overall Body Health
I know how important it is to keep your body in ketosis to maximize your weight loss. I think it is equally important to have overall body health. Find ways to keep fiber in your keto diet. Fiber really does have a lot of health benefits. And of course, be aware of your erythritol and other sugar replacement intake. I hope my experience helps you to stay healthy and in ketosis.