The ketogenic diet has become one of the most popular wellness trends in the past few years. Many people gravitate towards keto for its weight loss benefits, as well as reduced inflammation, boosted metabolism, and lower blood sugar levels. However, one of the downsides of the keto diet is you need to be more intentional about ingesting key electrolytes for your body.
When carb intake is low, you lose access to some of the body’s most necessary electrolytes, particularly sodium. Missing out on electrolytes can lower your energy levels, affect natural body functions, and make it much more difficult to concentrate.
If you’re interested in giving the keto diet a try, you will want to understand the importance of adding electrolytes to keep your body functioning at a high level while on a low-carb, high-fat diet.
Why are electrolytes important on the keto diet?
Keep energy levels up
Even though keto is great for losing fat, it may not be the ideal diet for avid gym-goers and athletes. Since you’re cutting out carbohydrates on keto, your body lacks a fast-acting energy source. So, you may struggle to bounce back after a tough workout or even make it through your regular exercise routine.
Athletes need extra support for their body to feel well-rested and ready to take on the next workout. Since athletes work their bodies harder than most, they’ll be the first to notice their electrolytes are out of whack while on the keto diet. Athletes with an electrolyte imbalance are likely to feel more dehydrated, experience muscle cramping, and feel weaker and less energized than usual.
One of the first results of a keto diet is losing all that extra water weight stored in your body. As you stop ingesting carbs, your body burns off glycogen, the storage form of sugar. Once your glycogen storage begins to drain, you’ll lose a lot of water along with , known as the “whoosh effect”. If you’re interested in losing weight quickly, that sounds great; however, processing water at a faster pace means vital electrolytes and minerals get flushed out with that water. This means you could become dehydrated quickly if you’re not replenishing those electrolytes.
Maintain a balance of much-needed sodium
Sodium is one of our body’s key electrolytes. It helps maintain nerve function, nerve impulses, and regulates blood pressure. Since keto diets call for the removal of processed foods they are automatically. Plus, consuming less carbs means your body’s insulin levels begin to drop. Together, these factors can lead to low levels of sodium in the body because as your body creates less insulin on a keto diet, your kidneys flush out more sodium. Considering the CDC recommends 2,300 mg of sodium daily, you may be unable to replace your sodium levels on the keto diet. Without adequate levels of sodium in your body, it’s likely your other electrolytes will soon fall out of balance as well. Potassium and magnesium are the other major players in your body, and you need to maintain healthy levels of all your electrolytes for optimal health.
Avoid or minimize keto flu
One of the most common side effects of a keto diet is the infamous keto flu. It’s a rite of passage for those starting the keto diet and is believed to be caused by the lack of electrolytes.
Keto flu is a low energy feeling due to the lack of sodium, potassium, and magnesium in the body. You may experience depleted energy, brain fog, headaches, trouble sleeping, and muscle cramps. In more extreme cases, you may struggle with diarrhea, which can also increase your risk of dehydration.
How do you add in electrolytes?
Electrolytes are incredibly important to our body’s natural functions. They help your organs perform their jobs more efficiently , rewaste from your body, help maintain nerve and muscle function, as well as keep your body hydrated. One of the best ways to easily increase your electrolytes is to consume an electrolyte drink or supplement. You will want to get these minerals through food as well, but your choices may be more limited on keto.
Ultima has many keto-friendly hydration packets you can take on the go. They have six vital electrolytes and trace minerals to support optimal hydration. Ultima Replenisher hydration packets like the Variety Stickpacks and the prevent muscle cramps and replenish electrolytes lost from sweat and exercise, making them ideal for everyday hydration and a terrific tool while following the keto diet.
Another sugar-free electrolyte powder is an Ultima fan favorite, the Lemonade Hydration Powder. There is zero sugar and no unhealthy additives, and it's carb-free, so it’s the perfect keto-friendly electrolyte drink. Simply dissolve one scoop of Ultima Replenisher hydration powder into 16 fl oz. of water.
Electrolytes are the key to preventing dehydration and helping your body perform at its best. Consider adding in an electrolyte drink to your daily routine while on a low-carb or keto diet, so your body has all the support it needs.