If you're feeling tired and sluggish on the keto diet, you're not alone. Keto fatigue is a common side effect of the low-carb, high-fat diet.
When it comes to a ketogenic diet, one of the most important things to consider is your potassium intake. This vital mineral helps balance sodium in the body and plays a key role in maintaining fluid balance, which is essential for anyone on a low-carb diet, in order to avoid the dreaded “keto flu”.
Fortunately, there are ways to combat this and feel your best! Read on to learn how to make sure you're receiving enough potassium on your journey.
What Factors May Cause the Keto Flu?
The ketogenic diet is based on the idea of limiting carbohydrates so that the body will burn fat for energy. But what many don’t know is that in order to maintain ketosis, you need to be getting certain key nutrients.
When you dramatically reduce your carb intake, your body flushes out water and electrolytes. This includes sodium, magnesium, and potassium. As a result, you may experience what’s known as the “keto flu,” symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, muscle cramps, nausea, and brain fog.
The collective name for this group of symptoms that can surface in the first few weeks has nothing to do with an actual influenza virus. Rather, it’s your body’s response to the sudden change in diet and subsequent depletion of carbohydrates.
Most people tend to associate the keto flu with feeling fatigued or having trouble focusing. And while those are two common symptoms, they’re far from the only ones.
Signs and symptoms to look out for:
- Brain fog
- Muscle cramps or weakness
- Nausea or vomiting
Why Potassium is Important for Ketosis
A ketogenic diet can be restrictive, especially for newcomers. One of the most common side effects that beginners experience is fatigue. Fatigue can often indicate that you're shifting into ketosis. However, it’s also linked to a drop in electrolytes, including potassium.
Potassium is one of the electrolytes that’s often lost when transitioning to a ketogenic diet. Because the body becomes efficient at burning fat for fuel when you’re in ketosis, it produces lots of ketones that need to be expelled through urination. However, this process also costs us precious potassium.
Without adequate levels, you may experience symptoms including headaches, brain fog, muscle cramps, weakness, irritability, and you guessed it - fatigue. Consuming enough potassium on a regular basis can help to counteract these symptoms and prevent them from occurring. This is especially important for people who are active on a keto diet, as they may be losing more electrolytes through sweat.
How Much Potassium Do I Need Daily?
If you’re feeling fatigued while on the keto diet, it’s important to check your potassium intake.
A healthy adult should aim to consume 3,500–4,700 mg daily from foods. But the average person only consumes about half of this amount each day. While it is possible to get enough potassium through diet alone, many people who follow a keto diet may need a supplement to help fill in the gaps.
How to Get Enough Potassium on Keto
The importance of potassium becomes even more apparent when you’re transitioning to a ketogenic diet. Many keto dieters focus solely on getting enough fat and protein, and don't necessarily worry about their electrolyte intake. It can be tough to increase water intake when you're also experiencing cravings. But increasing fluid intake and adding electrolytes will help you get through keto flu and get back on track.
The first step to replenishing your electrolyte levels is to hydrate! Then hydrate some more! During ketosis, your body burns through its stores of glycogen more quickly, which can lead to dehydration. When this happens, critical electrolytes like magnesium, potassium, and sodium can get thrown all out of whack if you’re not careful.
Water Intake Guidelines: Take your weight in pounds and divide it in half. That’s the number of ounces of water per day you should aim for. In each liter of drinking water, add ¼ tsp of a good colorful sea salt to restore key vitamins and minerals. If you want to invest in your health, remember, a liquid electrolyte supplement can also be beneficial to optimize hydration.
The Best Potassium-Rich Foods For a Keto Diet
As you know, there are lots of foods that are high in potassium. However, not all of them are also low in carbs. So, you need to be careful about which ones you eat. You’ll want to avoid starchy, high-potassium foods such as dried fruits, beans, and bananas, which are higher in carbs and natural sugars.
Good keto-friendly sources include:
-Leafy green vegetables
Most fruits and vegetables contain at least some potassium, so including a variety of low-carb options in your diet is a good way to ensure you’re getting enough of this key nutrient.
Choosing a Potassium Supplement
One of the biggest problems for keto dieters is electrolyte imbalance. It's difficult to find ways to balance your electrolytes when you start your keto plan and encounter the "keto flu." The solution? Add a highly absorbed pure liquid potassium product.
Liquid potassium formulas are absorbed more quickly compared to less-soluble pill and powder forms, which means you benefit from quick absorption and increased availability that isn’t possible with other types of supplements.
Replenishing your electrolyte levels will help you overcome unwanted symptoms, and keep your body functioning at its best.
Note: Potassium supplements are not recommended for those taking diuretics or medications that treat high blood pressure. You should consult with your physician before starting a new supplement protocol.
Maintaining the Right Balance
Potassium is an important electrolyte mineral that plays a vital role in many body functions. Many people following a keto diet are interested in potassium for two reasons: first, it’s an important electrolyte for maintaining fluid balance in the body, and second, it may help alleviate some of the muscle cramps and other symptoms that can occur when carb intake is severely restricted.
If you're struggling with fatigue and other unwanted symptoms on the keto diet, make sure you're drinking plenty of sea-salted water and adding electrolytes. You may also want to consider supplementing with a high quality liquid potassium.