Does a Low Fat Diet Plan Cause Constipation?

Low-fat diets can cause constipation

The problem with many low-fat diets is that people follow them too closely. The idea is that the body can’t burn fat if there is any carbohydrate consumed at all—and this just is not so.

Anyone who has lost weight on the lemon juice diet can tell you that it is still possible to lose weight even if you eat lemon, fruits, and vegetables. But the first two weeks of the Atkins plan tries to help dieters lose weight by inducing a process called ketosis. To achieve that you cannot eat over 20 grams of carbs per day.

That means not eating more than one small fruit or a starchy food serving about the size of a slice of bread or maybe 1/3 cup of rice, for your total carbs, for all day. If you did not eat the fruit or the starchy carb, then you could have three small servings of a non-starchy vegetable, like spinach.

For most people who stick to the Atkins diet, the resulting constipation is mild or severe. It is not unusual for people to walk around for days with bulging stomachs, belching, flatulence, and acid reflux. Weight measurements would be down, but waistline measurements would be up.

Even if the diet burned belly fat, constipation would keep the waistline from shrinking.  That is the result of the very high fat intake that was allowed on the Atkins diet, like high fat cheese and a lot of meat, with very low fiber intake. And later scientific studies found that the ketosis the Atkins initiation diet was attempting to induce is not a requirement for burning fat, and, in fact, may be a negative for your health.

So enjoy a piece of fruit—even better after you have a refreshing glass of lemon juice and water.


  1. Seagull says:

    Make sure you are eating lots of foods high in essential fatty acids. Foods like (Salmon, herring, mackerel, olive oil, sunflower oil, nuts, seeds). These foods will help to increase your body’s good fat and are also beneficial to your body’s growth and repair.

    Try and consume the bulk of your carbohydrates from low GI foods. These are foods which take your body a while to digest keeping you fuller for longer, and also producing a slow rise in your blood sugar levels.

    Foods like wholegrain breads, wholemeal pasta, brown rice, etc should do the trick.

    Try not to simply eat loads of fatty foods to put on weight as these foods are high in saturated fats, as you mention above they will increase your bad cholesterol levels which can lead to things like heart disease, diabetes, etc in the long term.

    Try to put the weight on gradually (aim for around 1-2 pounds a week) using the suggestions I have mentioned above. That way you will look and feel healthy too.

    Hope this helps.

  2. Sarah says:

    Glycogen is generally stored in the liver and muscles, and how much is stored is dependent on your own body size, lean muscle mass and amount of carbohydrate consumed. You may find the following links helpful, along with Googling any combination of glycogen, water retention and weight fluctuations:

    “Why the scale lies” –

  3. Bookmarklet says:

    Tuesday, April 13, 2010

    Women who eat "high-glycemic" foods, which cause blood sugar levels to spike, are at risk for coronary disease, according to a large study of Italians published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, a publication of the American Medical Association. In this study men were not affected the same way, but the researchers said that more studies were needed to verify that there is really no association between a high dietary glycemic load and cardiovascular disease in men.

    Sabina Sieri of the Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori in Milan, Italy, who led the study, said that "high consumption of carbohydrate from high-glycemic foods, rather than overall quantity of carbohydrate consumed, appears to influence the risk of developing heart disease in women." Sieri added, "It’s a good idea for people to choose foods with a lower glycemic index over higher ones."

  4. reece says:

    Increase your lean muscle mass rather than bodyfat, unless you are having problems with your periods (this comes when you go lower than about 15% bodyfat).

    The cholesterol side of the picture is complex; they're finding out new stuff about cholesterol all the time and nothing is ever clear cut. Vegetable sources of fat would be the best for you, especially olives, olive oil, avocadoes, and virgin coconut oil, but even if you avoid stuff like red meat, if you are genetically predisposed to high cholesterol, you will have difficulties getting rid of it, even if you do the right things. One thing you can't go wrong with though, is oatmeal. Lots of oatmeal.