Many people go on the keto diet with the goal of burning fat and losing weight overall. But the diet isn’t for everyone, so you should consider your situation. From food preferences to health conditions, the keto diet may not be your best choice. Can your pancreatitis become worse from keto?
Keto can make pancreatitis worse due to the diet’s high-fat content. Even healthy fats can cause a person to develop hypertriglyceridemia, which can trigger or worsen pancreatitis. Patients who have or have had pancreatitis should consult a doctor before going on the keto diet.
If you want to get healthy, you should choose your meals wisely. A keto diet is a popular choice for losing weight, but it’s not perfect. Keep reading to learn about the relationship between a keto diet and pancreatitis.
What Is Pancreatitis?
Pancreatitis occurs when the pancreas, which sits behind the stomach, becomes inflamed. You can have acute pancreatitis, so your symptoms may show up quickly and last for several days. Chronic pancreatitis lasts for multiple years.
With both types of pancreatitis, you can have mild, moderate, or severe symptoms. The type and severity of your symptoms can determine if the keto diet is right for you.
That’s because acute and chronic pancreatitis shows up in different ways and have different symptoms. Also, discovering the cause of your pancreatitis can help you figure out if a keto diet will make things worse.
While the pancreas produces insulin, which helps metabolize carbohydrates, it can still affect individuals on a keto diet. If too much fat remains in your blood, that can cause or worsen pancreatitis.
Acute vs. Chronic Pancreatitis
Comparing acute and chronic pancreatitis is important when considering if keto will make your condition worse. Both types can cause upper abdominal pain, but other symptoms differ.
Chronic pancreatitis symptoms include weight loss without an explanation and oily or smelly stools. Because this condition lasts for years, you need to manage it with the help of a doctor.
Acute pancreatitis symptoms range from a rapid pulse to fever to abdominal tenderness and pain after eating. If you get too many bouts of acute pancreatitis, the repeated inflammation may cause you to develop chronic pancreatitis.
No matter which type you have, you should consider how a keto diet may affect your health.
Will a Keto Diet Affect Your Pancreatitis?
A keto diet’s effect on pancreatitis depends on a few factors, such as the cause of pancreatitis. The specific keto version you follow can also make the diet more or less safe for your pancreas.
Consider a few things before starting or altering a keto diet. That way, you can make sure you follow a healthy diet for your body.
The keto diet may sound like a specific, standardized diet. However, you can find many variations based on the sources you use or who you ask. All keto diets emphasize fat consumption over protein and carbohydrates.
Keto diets usually list the percentage of your calories that should come from each of those macronutrients. Some keto diets involve getting as much as 90 percent of your calories from fat. Other diets may not be as strict, so fat may only make up 50 percent of your calories.
The average keto diet is between 60 and 75 percent fat, so that’s a good starting point. But the more fat you eat, the more fat can collect in your bloodstream. When that happens, you can develop hypertriglyceridemia, which is a common cause of pancreatitis.
So if you have a personal or even a family history of pancreatitis, consider a keto diet that isn’t as high in fat. That way, you can still enjoy the benefits of the diet without risking your health.
Your Medical History
You should also consider your medical history, whether you’ve had pancreatitis before or not. Medical conditions like gallstones, cystic fibrosis, alcoholism, and obesity can increase your chances of developing pancreatitis.
And if you have acute pancreatitis, you may have it in the future. Then, it could develop into chronic pancreatitis.
Even if you don’t have any conditions that raise your risk of pancreatitis, you should consider your family. If someone in your family has pancreatitis, that’s another risk factor. Be sure to talk with your family and your doctor about the risks of a keto diet and pancreatitis.
Your Recent History
It would be best if you also considered recent events that may increase your risk of pancreatitis. Recent abdominal surgery or an abdominal injury can inflame the pancreas and surrounding area. An infection can also increase your risk.
If you’ve started a keto diet, you should also consider what foods you’ve eaten and your macronutrients. While eating too much fat can be a problem, you also want to avoid junk food and opt for whole vegetables and grains.
Switching to a keto diet can cause many negative symptoms at first, known as the keto flu. Your recent history can help you determine if the keto diet is the problem or if something else is going on.
I discuss the keto flu in-depth as well as other side effects of keto in my article: 12 Side Effects Of Keto Diets.
How to Follow a Keto Diet With Pancreatitis
If you haven’t started a keto diet but have pancreatitis, you have options. A keto diet is an excellent choice for many people, and you can follow it safely. However, you may need to alter the diet to fit your needs.
You should maintain your pancreatitis so that it doesn’t worsen on its own. Meal planning and working with experts can also help you find a keto plan that works for you.
Work With Your Doctor
You should have regular appointments with your primary care doctor or gastroenterologist. The doctor can evaluate your medical history and risks associated with a keto diet. If your doctor thinks a keto diet could worsen your pancreatitis, they can give you some options.
Your doctor could suggest a lower-fat version of the keto diet. Instead of consuming over 70 percent of calories from fat, you could do 50 percent. You can also pair your keto diet with intermittent fasting to help reach and maintain ketosis.
If your doctor doesn’t have any recommendations, you can consult a nutritionist. The nutritionist can help you figure out the right foods to eat to maintain a keto diet that doesn’t worsen your pancreatitis.
Get Your Labs Drawn
Two of the leading causes of pancreatitis include hypertriglyceridemia and hypercalcemia. The first is the presence of too many triglycerides (fats) in your bloodstream. And the second condition is when you have too much calcium in your blood.
If you have pancreatitis, you should monitor these levels to make sure you’re in a healthy range. Too much fat or calcium in your blood could worsen your condition. Your doctor can run lab tests to check these levels, and you can adjust your diet if something is wrong.
Whether you have acute or chronic pancreatitis, you need to keep your levels in check. That way, you can keep your pancreatitis from getting worse or progressing to a severe infection.
Minimize Alcohol Consumption
Drinking too much alcohol can cause you to develop pancreatitis. So whether you currently have pancreatitis or had it in the past, you should limit your consumption.
People who drink four or more glasses of alcohol per day are at a higher risk than average. You can have a glass or two of wine at the end of a stressful day. But try to keep the drinking to a minimum to avoid unnecessarily hurting your pancreas.
Luckily, you already need to avoid high-carbohydrate drinks. But there are plenty of keto-friendly drinks you should save for special occasions.
A keto diet is a popular option for everyone from busy parents to people wanting to lose weight. But for people with pancreatitis, the diet requires some planning. If you aren’t careful, keto diets can worsen your pancreatitis symptoms.
What kind of effect does keto have on someone’s sex drive? Keto often has an initial negative effect on someone’s sex drive. This effect is temporary for many people who report an increased sex drive once their bodies have adjusted to the diet. Some researchers and dieticians attribute the higher libido to increased fat consumption.
Why doesn’t the keto diet work? Eating too many carbs, consuming too many calories, snacking too often, and not getting enough sleep are among the most common reasons you may not be getting the results you want on a keto diet.
Does keto cause your feet to swell? Keto makes your feet swell due to the electrolyte imbalance and dehydration, which may cause your body to begin retaining water. This is especially likely to happen if your ketogenic diet involves low potassium intake. However, it does not occur in every case.
- National Library of Medicine: Acute pancreatitis causing death in a child on the ketogenic diet
- Quora: Is a keto diet bad for the pancreas
- Mayo Clinic: Pancreatitis – Symptoms & causes
- Women’s Health: What Are Keto Diet Macros?
- Healthline: The Keto Flu: Symptoms and How to Get Rid of It
- Healthline: Intermittent Fasting 101 – The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide
- Medical News Today: What to Know About Ketosis
- Healthline: Keto Diet and Alcohol: The Best and Worst Drinks to Choose