Keto Desserts and Gut Issues

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 12/16/2023

Picture this: you're whipping a batch of keto brownies in your kitchen. Swapping out the saccharide for erythritol and subbing wheat flour with almond meal, you're ready to get bakin' in your low-carb kitchen. All's well in your low-carb world.

Until... BAM! Your gut decides to rebel.

I get it; I've been there, too - navigating the tricky path between satisfying my sweet tooth and maintaining good gut health on a ketogenic diet can be tricky!

In this deep dive, we'll peel back the layers of popular ingredients used in keto desserts, like sugar alcohols, alternative flours, and vegetable fats high in omega-6s, nuts, and seeds. We'll discover their potential impacts on our guts – some might surprise you!

Plus, you'll discover tweaks to your diet that might aid those grappling with serious gut problems. Believe it or not, this could even involve considering a carnivore diet.

Understanding the Impact of Keto Desserts on Gut Health

The ingredients in keto desserts can sometimes contribute to inflammation and other gut issues. Let's explore this further.

The Role of Sugar Alcohols in Gut Inflammation

Erythritol and xylitol, two sugar alcohols, are regularly employed in low-carb treats to give them a sweet flavor. While they provide that sweet taste we crave, they may also lead to gut problems.

These sugar substitutes aren't fully absorbed by your body, which can cause water to flood into your intestines—a process called osmosis—leading to bloating, gas, or diarrhea.

The Impact of Isomalto-Oligosaccharides (IMO) or Vitafiber on Blood Sugar Levels

Keto-friendly doesn't always mean gut-friendly. Ingredients like IMO or Vitafiber, commonly found in keto treats, could negatively affect blood sugar levels, potentially worsening gut issues.

Flour Alternatives and Gut Health

When it comes to gut health, not all flours are created equal. Some popular alternatives used in keto desserts can cause more harm than good.

baking with almond flour on table

The Problem with Almond Flour and Coconut Flour

Almond flour is a common choice for many keto dessert recipes. Almond flour may lead to inflammation if consumed excessively due to its high omega-6 fatty acid content. Similarly, coconut flour has its drawbacks, too.

Despite being low-carb, its high fiber content may be problematic for people with sensitive guts or those suffering from IBS.

Other Flour Alternatives to Consider

If almond and coconut flours aren't working out for you, don't worry. Consider other flour options such as chia seed, chickpea, and hazelnut flours, which could be gentler on your digestion while still letting you savor delicious snacks without disrupting ketosis.

These might impact your gutless while allowing you to enjoy tasty treats without breaking your ketosis state.

The Effect of Vegetable Fats on Gut Inflammation

Many people don't realize the role vegetable fats play in gut inflammation. It's not just about limiting carbs for a ketogenic lifestyle; it is likewise essential to be mindful of the oils utilized in cooking and baking.

Common Culprits - Safflower Oil, Sunflower Oil, Corn Oil, and Soybean Oil

These popular oils often sneak into our keto desserts. They're high in omega-6 fatty acids, which can trigger inflammation within your gut. But why is this?

You see, omega-6 fats are pro-inflammatory naturally, while their counterparts, omega-3 fats, are anti-inflammatory. Our bodies need both types, but when the balance tilts heavily towards omega-6 (as with these common cooking oils), you could invite unwanted inflammation.

To help keep your gut happy while enjoying your favorite low-carb treats, consider switching out these culprits for healthier alternatives like avocado or extra virgin olive oil with better-balanced omega ratios.

Nuts, Seeds, and Gut Health

Nuts and seeds often praised for their healthy fats and fiber content, can be found as a popular snack on the keto diet. But despite these benefits, they might not favor your gut.

The Link Between Omega-6 and Gut Inflammation

Nuts and seeds can pack a punch for omega-6 fatty acids. While necessary in moderation, too much of this fat type could trigger inflammation in your gut. Studies show that high levels of omega-6 fatty acids have been linked to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Inflammatory responses aren't something you want brewing in your belly because they can lead to discomfort or more severe health issues over time.

It's like having an uninvited visitor in your house - initially, it may seem innocuous, but eventually, you start to observe things going wrong.

Moderating intake of foods rich in omega-6, such as almonds or sunflower seeds, could help keep peace within the digestive tract.

Dietary Adjustments for Severe Gut Issues

A shift towards a carnivore diet may be necessary when dealing with severe gut issues. One such adjustment could be moving towards a carnivore diet.

Considering a Carnivore Diet

A carnivore diet primarily consists of animal fats and proteins. It may seem strange, but consuming mainly animal-based fats and proteins can be advantageous as it eliminates many possible sources of intestinal inflammation.

The science behind this is that plant-based foods often contain compounds like lectins and phytates, which some people find hard to digest, leading to irritation in the gut lining. So eliminating these from your diet can help soothe inflamed intestines.

Dairy Products and Eggs - To Avoid or Not?

If you're considering shifting towards the carnivore lifestyle, you might question whether dairy products and eggs should still be on your plate. For some individuals with gut issues, these common keto ingredients might exacerbate symptoms due to their high-fat content.

The Role of Coconut Oil in Gut Health

Though it is popularly used in many keto desserts, coconut oil has recently been recognized for its potential health benefits. But here's the kicker - it may not be the best choice if you're dealing with severe gut issues.

Saturated fats in coconut oil can cause inflammation and aggravate existing gut issues. So, while it might make your dessert taste like tropical heaven, your tummy could end up paying the price.

Studies have shown a correlation between high intake of saturated fats and increased risk of gut-related disorders such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or Crohn’s disease.

This doesn't mean you must give up on all things delicious, though. Alternatives like avocado or olive oil can provide healthier options without sacrificing flavor. Always remember - moderation is vital.

Probiotic supplements on green background

Probiotics and Keto Desserts

Probiotics can benefit keto desserts, as they support gut health while indulging in sweet treats that align with a ketogenic diet.

While the exact timeline for how long does it take for a probiotic to work can vary depending on factors like the individual, the specific probiotic strain, and the intended health benefits, incorporating probiotics into your diet through keto desserts can provide both the pleasure of satisfying your sweet tooth and potentially contribute to improved gut health.

When consumed regularly, probiotics can help maintain a balanced gut microbiome, which plays a crucial role in overall well-being, including digestive health and immune function.


Unpacking the world of keto desserts and gut issues can feel like a minefield. But now, you're equipped with insights into how ingredients in these treats could impact your digestive health.

We've covered everything from sugar alcohol sparking inflammation to almond flour alternatives posing potential problems. Remember, omega-6-rich vegetable fats, nuts, and seeds might also be culprits for an unhappy gut.

The game-changer? Possibly considering a carnivore diet or even rethinking coconut oil usage if you're dealing with severe gut troubles. Navigating this landscape takes effort, but knowing is half the battle won!

In the end, achieving the balance between indulging sweet cravings while safeguarding your gut on a ketogenic journey boils down to informed choices – ones that prioritize your well-being above all else.


Healthy Keto Guide for Beginner

FREE Keto Diet Plan