When you are starting a ketogenic diet you need to be prepared for a complete lifestyle change.
That is what you’re doing this for anyway. You want to change how you look at yourself in the mirror and choosing to go about this diet is going to do that for you.
For those that are still in the dark about a ketogenic diet, it’s a diet that will change your body from a sugar-burner to a fat-burner. This means that you will be burning all of that extra fat on your body by changing and cutting some foods in your everyday diet.
Fully committing to this diet means that you need to be as prepared as possible when you’re starting. Your body is going to go through a lot of changes in a short amount of time.
One big change that is going to occur is that fact that you’ll be losing a lot of fluids. Through those fluids you’ll be losing a lot of electrolytes, something that your body needs to have to function properly.
The Importance of Electrolytes on a Ketogenic Diet
Without electrolytes in the body, it’s not going to be able to do what you want it to do on a daily basis.
Simple tasks are going to seem more difficult and you won’t be feeling like your a lesser version of yourself.
What are Electrolytes?
Electrolytes are minerals found in the body that allow it to maintain specific functions such as muscle contraction and regulating your heartbeat.
The main electrolytes found in the body are chlorine, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium.
However, the main electrolytes that need to be focused on are potassium, magnesium, and sodium.
These are all electrolytes that are lost in your fluids on an everyday basis. However, this is magnified when you’re on a ketogenic diet.
Your body starts to get rid of more fluids because there is less insulin in your body. So, instead of retaining fluids, your body is told to release more of it.
As you can see, losing fluids at a faster rate means losing electrolytes at a faster rate as well.
Lack of Electrolytes Lead to Keto Flu
The keto flu is something that a lot of people experience when they are in the first stages of the keto diet. It’s definitely a little rough to go through.
Putting your body through all of these changes during a ketogenic diet is going to cause it to break down a little. When this happens, you’ll start to experience some flu like symptoms.
This happens, in big part, because of the lack of electrolytes in your system.
Being on a ketogenic diet will cut a significant amount of carbs from your diet. You’ve probably retained most of your electrolytes through all of the carbs you’ve been eating.
When you eat a lot of carbs your body likes to retain water. Less carbs leads to less water retention, thus, leading to fewer electrolytes in your body.
Once you start to experience the keto flu, you can lose even more electrolytes because of the symptoms you’ll be having.
Avoiding the Flu
It’s possible to avoid the keto flu, but it takes work.
You have to replenish your electrolytes however you can. The better you are at keeping electrolytes in your body, the more chance you have at not getting the flu.
Some people may not be able to avoid it no matter what they do, unfortunately. However, it’s still good practice to get in the habit of replenishing your electrolytes.
How to Replenish Your Electrolytes
Since having an excess number of carbs is out of the question, you need to find other ways to replenish your electrolytes on a ketogenic diet.
There are a number of ways you can do this.
You also want to make sure that you are getting the right amount of each electrolyte each day so that your body stays fully functioning.
The recommended amount of magnesium is around 300mg a day, for potassium it’s about 1000mg, and for sodium it’s around 5000mg.
So, how do you get this amount of electrolytes in your body throughout the day?
For starters, you can get all of these electrolytes through supplements, such as pills. This could be an easier way for some people to guarantee that they are getting the right amount of electrolytes.
If popping pills isn’t for you, then there are plenty of alternatives that will allow you to get your electrolytes through the foods you eat while staying on top of the ketogenic diet.
You can get your magnesium through some easy alternatives. Adding more leafy greens to your meals or even having a side salad is going to boost your magnesium intake. Consuming more fish, such as salmon, is going to help as well. There is also magnesium in dark chocolate, but you need to be careful with that because you don’t want to go overboard with the carbs.
Potassium can be added through dark leafy greens and salmon as well. You can get potassium through nuts as well. Avocados have a high potassium content so this may be your best option if you want your potassium regularly.
You may also know that there is a lot of potassium in some fruits. The problem with this is that most fruits aren’t keto friendly based on the fact that they have a ton of sugars. Sugars get converted to carbs, and carbs get converted to fat. This is what we don’t want.
Getting enough sodium should be the easiest to get. Adding salt to anything is going to give you more sodium in your diet.
Most people enjoy adding salt to their meals for a bit of added flavor anyway.
You may have heard that having too much sodium over a period of time is going to lead to health problems. Well, that is for people that usually have a high calorie, high carb diet.
When you’re on the ketogenic diet, you’re going to need sodium to keep your body functioning the way it should. You will be holding onto very little excess sodium.
Because of this, the health concerns are severely downgraded.
I cannot stress the importance of staying hydrated. It’s one of the most important aspects of the ketogenic diet.
If you stay hydrated, you’re going to reach ketosis faster and keep electrolytes in your body.
You could be a little dehydrated and not even realize it. If you start to feel as though you’re starting to get the symptoms of the keto flu, the first thing you should do is drink some water. Those symptoms could disappear in a hurry.
That just means that you were dehydrated.
The longer you can keep yourself hydrated, the more efficient your body is going to be when it starts to burn fat.
Staying hydrated is also going to help your body through the small adjustment period from being a sugar burner to a fat burner.
That being said, everyone’s body is going to react differently to the ketogenic diet. However, staying hydrated is going to somewhat level the playing field and help everyone’s bodies remain as “normal” as possible.
Electrolytes Are Your Friend
We all need electrolytes in our lives. They just become more important when you’re starting a new lifestyle like the ketogenic diet.
Think about it like this, if you want to struggle in the early stages of the ketogenic diet then ignore your electrolytes. If you want to start the keto diet on the right foot and get a jump start on a brand new you, then focus a little bit on your electrolytes.
It’s that simple.
If you’re still not sold on the importance of electrolytes, check out Keto Bootstrap. Here you can find testimonies from a supportive community where people have been through the ups and downs of the ketogenic diet.