Why do I need Electrolytes on a Ketogenic diet ?


25 May
25May

I am SURE everyone here has heard of the "Keto Flu". If you have not, then you may be a beginner or just looking at a ketogenic lifestyle change for the first time. The Keto flu is exactly what it sounds like. 


Flu like symptoms:

- Sleep problems

- Mental brain fog

- Constipation

- Muscle weakness

- Dizziness

- Lack of energy

- nausea 

- and for Me personally, HEADACHES!

Now, to understand why electrolytes are important you first need to understand what is happening in your body as to why you need to replenish them. On  ketogenic diet you eat very low in carbohydrates. By depleting your body of sugar (carbs), you pancreas is no longer releasing insulin and your kidneys are flushing water AND electrolytes with the water. That is why weight loss on a ketogenic diet is so rapid at first because your body is flushing a lot of water. If you ever hear someone refer to it as "water weight" you now know what they mean. If you ever fall off the keto wagon, and go on a carbohydrate binge fest - you will gain a lot of that water weight back right off the bat when your body starts utilizing glucose for energy and releasing insulin into the body again. That is why, if you go on vacation and eat what you want the whole time, it is common for your scale to be 10+ lbs heavier when you get home. 

So what are these electrolytes and what is it that you need to replenishing in your body?

  • Sodium - regulates water retention and overall hydration. On a ketogenic diet sodium deficiency is a common problem. deficiency in sodium can lead to muscle cramps and spasms, impaired exercise performance, headaches, brain fog and nausea, altered mood, and fatigue. Hence why for Me, this is a big one to monitor. 
  • Potassium - is a key proponent in muscle and nerve function, especially heart regulation. Being deficient in potassium can lead to kidney stones, nerve issues, and even increased blood pressure on top of all the same symptoms as sodium.
  • Magnesium - is an essential mineral in overall health. Chances are you were not getting enough of this even not taking keto into consideration. Over 55% of the population is not getting the daily recommended dose. Magnesium plays a role in over 300 body functions, most important being energy production and mitochondrial health. Low magnesium is the same flu like symptoms as above. So you are starting to see without a complete balance of multiple electrolytes you are going to be feeling at least 1 or more symptoms, Right?
  • Calcium - Sure you know about bone health, but did you know calcium also regulates blood clotting, vasoconstriction and dilation, hormones, and  nerve transmission. The symptoms in deficiency here are usually not noticeable, however your body can supplement the body deficiency by pulling from your bones. So it is always good to supplement this regardless of keto lifestyle. 
  • Phosphorus - the majority of this mineral in the body is in bones and teeth but it is also essential for cell membranes, which takes everything back to energy production again. 

So thinking about what you just read, you are likely saying, "ok but can I just make sure that I eat certain things to make up for this?" Yes and No is my response to that. I will place a chart below of foods that you can supplement but in my opinion, if you plan to follow a ketogenic lifestyle for a long time (which most people do) you need additional supplementation. As soon as people start eating "regular" again the weight starts coming back along with the bloating, sickness, cramping, fogginess, and other odd effects of going from a sugar free/low sugar life back to having it again. 

CalciumPhosphorusMagnesiumPotassiumSodium
Dairy, Coconut, Whole, Almond Milks
Fish
Leafy Greens
Broccoli
Red Meat
Fish
Leafy Greens
Nuts/Seeds
Dark leafy greens
Nuts
Salmon
Leafy Greens
Nuts
Mushrooms
Avocados
Real Salt with added minerals

Bone Broth

Here are my top recommendations for getting electrolytes while following a ketogenic diet. 

These have been tested (by myself and my family) and got approvals. Here is a video of my husbands blind taste test of a few of these options as well. Note, I am not a medical professional, nor am I claiming to be. These are simply products and ways that I personally have managed my own electrolytes through trial and error of my own ketogenic journey. 

1) Ultima Water enhancer -  Not only do these come in nice travel size packets that I personally have used for over 4 years now, but they also come in multiple flavors. I originally got these as a sugar free water flavor option not even realizing it was also electrolytes and thank goodness that I did. They hit all of the essential electrolytes needed to be replenished plus more. I personally really like the blue raspberry and grape flavors. I also have a kids version of this I bought in lemonade so when my kids ask for lemonade I can mix this in with water and they THINK they are having a "treat".  You can also get these in larger canisters with scoops. Thrive market often has them for less. Otherwise I have found that buying direct from the website has gotten me more for my money. They have a variety pack that I tend to grab a lot too just to have additional flavors handy in case I am craving something "different". 

2) Perfect Keto -  So sometimes I just really like having a plain ice water or even a Hint water - so I do not want flavor in my water I just want to drink a regular water. So these Perfect keto capsules are one of my go to items. They also just released some electrolyte powders . 

I have tried the watermelon and can speak to it, but not the others. It is good! The pills hit everything except phosphorus and the powder is missing calcium as well. Hence why these are my 2nd choice.


 


Now these do not have as many electrolytes in them, but they do also come with vitamin D which is another deficiency in many Americans right now. 

I do want to point out that perfect keto also makes a Beta Hydroxybutyrate, BHB Supplement, an exogenous ketone as they call it. They have added electrolytes to these powders and tablets so you are getting a boost in ketones and overall electrolytes in general with this product. BHB powders are meant to imitate ketones for energy in the body when sugar stores are low (glucose). If you are first starting out, or trying to get back into ketosis this may be a good option for you to incorporate into your routine for awhile to help you get back on track. But I would not recommend having this all the time like the electrolytes in general. That is my own personal opinion. I think that training you body to eat the correct foods to be in ketosis for weight loss and therapeutic purposes is much more important than supplementing with additional pills or powders. 

If you decide to try these the perfect keto options are best in smoothies and shakes. The Zhou nutrition powder is best in just plain water. It is called Keto Drive. 

For a discount on Perfect Keto, use code: KETOSISMOM at checkout. 


3) Sports Research Post Sweat - I have these in travel size sample packets that the company sent me when I became an ambassador. They make them in fruit punch and blue razz.  The flavor is good, however I am not sure how much creatine I want to consume on a regular basis. These are also 5 g of carbs.  So this choice is up to you. The product is marketed as a "post workout" replenishment for your body. So if you are not working out and fatiguing your muscles a lot, you likely can use one of the other electrolyte enhancers listed here. But the flavor is good! Very sweet though. If you do not like sweet, pick something else. 


Nonetheless, you can save using the code: KETOSISMOM10 at Sports research and Sweet Sweat. 


4) Hydrant -  So this option also has caffeine. The only reason this option is making my list is because it is something my husband has been taking to work, in the lemonade flavor. He likes the "pick me up" with the caffeine. I personally find it to be counterproductive as caffeine simply is a diuretic (makes you urinate even more).  If you get these they state no artificial sweeteners (because they use cane sugar) and this is a big no no on keto. So if you need the pick me up, grab the keto drive mentioned above over this. They do also have Zinc which is great for immunity and has been a proponent in combating the coronavirus over the past year. So for this, you have to pick and choose your battles. It has 3 of the needed electrolytes, has a caffeine effect, and zinc. So if that worth the 3 - 5 carbs to you? I personally would rather eat my carbs! But that is me.  


Now that you have a few options and the pros and cons of each, hopefully you can make a decision on which product may be right for you and your daily life. I personally use the Perfect Keto capsules 

and Ultima water enhancers the most out of everything listed here. Be sure to check out the blind taste testing done by myself and my husband on some of these products on my YouTube channel. 


My hopes are that these posts are helpful to everyone changing their lifestyle for the better, while fighting the keto flu and launching yourself into your weight loss journey. 

- The Ketosis Mom 

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