Keeping the Keto flu at bay by balancing electrolytes

Electrolyte Imbalance and the Keto Diet: How to Avoid Dehydration and Cramps

The keto diet is one of the few diets that lives up to its hype thanks to its low inflammation and weight-loss benefits.

Unfortunately, those fresh on their keto journey may encounter a few bumps along the way, particularly with the notorious “keto-flu.” It’s important for keto dieters to learn about the side effects of ketosis and how they can hydrate and use electrolytes to help minimize the effects.

What is the keto flu?

Keto flu is reportedly what happens as your body adjusts to a state of ketosis—burning fat stores for energy rather than carbs. Through the ketosis process, your body loses electrolytes along with water weight and struggles to maintain a balance. On this low-carb diet, your insulin levels also drop, so your kidneys retain less sodium. Sodium is one of your body’s most important electrolytes and losing it can cause the other electrolytes to fall out of balance.

As your body adjusts to this metabolic change, it’s almost like you’re going through carb withdrawal. These withdrawal symptoms (keto flu) are believed to be caused by an imbalance of electrolytes in your body.

The most common keto-flu symptoms people report include:

  • Fatigue
  • Lightheadedness
  • Brain fog
  • Muscle cramping
  • Disrupted sleep
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Body aches
  • Diarrhea

Although the keto-flu may put a wrench in your plans, it’s not dangerous or contagious, and not every keto-dieter reports getting it. You just need to be aware of its symptoms and how you can counteract its effects by hydrating and adding more electrolytes to your diet.

If you’re an athlete, someone who works out intensely, or sweat more than other people when working out, it may be even more important for you to replace electrolytes while following the keto diet because you’re also releasing electrolytes through sweat.

How to add in electrolytes to minimize the effects of the keto flu

Adding electrolytes to your daily routine can help you reach ketosis safely and help minimize muscle cramping, fatigue, and other effects of keto flu. If you believe your electrolyte imbalance is causing you muscle pain, spasms, and cramps, then you’ll want to add in potassium-heavy electrolyte foods while also hitting the other top hitters: magnesium and sodium.

There are ways to add electrolytes back into your diet that are also keto-friendly. You can help smooth the bumps on your road to ketosis through intentional food choices and electrolyte supplements.

Here are some keto-friendly foods that are high in electrolytes:


  • Tomato juice
  • Dill pickles
  • Bouillon
  • Salted nuts


  • Salmon
  • Spinach
  • Leafy greens
  • Avocado
  • Almonds
  • White mushrooms
  • Broccoli
  • Zucchini


  • Seaweed
  • Avocado
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Salmon
  • Leafy greens
  • Cocoa powder


  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Bok choy
  • Almonds
  • Chia seeds

You may also want to add in an electrolyte supplement or daily electrolyte drink. Making electrolytes a consistent part of your daily routine (in food and drinks) while on a low-carb diet can help prevent dehydration, minimize the effects of the keto flu, and keep your electrolytes in balance so you feel energized and alert.

Ultima Replenisher electrolyte powders are sugar-free, keto-friendly, gluten-free, and vegan. Plus, they are sweetened with organic stevia leaf and made with real fruit flavor extracts for a delicious taste!

Whether you prefer scoopable hydration powders or individual stickpacks, Ultima has many flavors of keto-friendly electrolyte drinks to match your mood and cravings. So, if you’re looking for a happy-hour accompaniment, try Ultima’s Coconut Piña Colada or Peach Bellini Mocktini to get your daily supplement of electrolytes. If you prefer an old-school flavor, then Grape or Pink Lemonade is the way to go.

Switching from your usual carbohydrate intake to an ultra-low-carb diet like keto can be a shock to your system, but with the right knowledge and preparation, it doesn’t have to be. Eating a well-balanced diet and hydrating with electrolytes are keys to staying in balance and fueled up for our busy lifestyles throughout our lifespan, whether on keto or not.