Keto Diet

Guide To Keto Electrolytes

keto electrolytes

Electrolytes are a hot topic in the world of keto. Everyone needs them, but they seem to escape even the most diligent keto dieters, which means hello, keto flu. If you’re worried, confused, or even a little scared about electrolytes, you’re not alone (and you definitely don’t need to feel that way). Once you get a handle on your electrolyte levels, you may just find that some of your most stubborn keto-related issues magically don’t exist anymore. Put down those carb-filled snacks and get ready to become the master of your own electrolyte intake. In this article, you’ll learn the most important electrolytes on keto and why you need them, sings you need more electrolytes, electrolyte overdose, how to get enough electrolyte on keto, etc.

The Most Important Electrolytes on Keto and Why You Need Them

Despite what you may think, electrolytes are not a supplement invented by sports drink companies. Electrolytes are many of the minerals necessary for important body functions, from regulating pH to keeping the body hydrated.

Electrolytes are obtained from the foods we eat and then carried (and excreted) throughout the body in fluids such as sweat and urine.

The three most important electrolytes to monitor in the keto diet are::

  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Sodium

You need to pay more attention to these electrolytes on a keto diet compared to a standard diet because your body retains less water on a low-carb diet. When your insulin levels drop, your body responds by removing excess water and sodium, which are combined with glycogen (stored carbohydrates) in your body.

This is important because electrolytes are retained in water, and in ketosis treatment, your body cannot use electrolytes effectively because large amounts are either flushed out or not absorbed.

Please see below for daily electrolyte recommendations:

  • Sodium: 3-5,000mg
  • Potassium: 2,600-3,400mg
  • Magnesium: 320-420mg

You may have read the advice about consuming 5,000 mg of sodium per day in a state of keto. This is because your body retains less water (and sodium) in ketosis, so sticking to the high end of the recommended sodium intake is ideal.

Don’t worry, keeping your electrolytes on top isn’t as much of a burden as you might think. We’ll even show you later in this article how to get enough electrolytes daily through supplements or food.

Signs You Need More Electrolytes

Remember that Snickers commercial? That guy starts to get a little pissed off and his friend reminds him to take a Snickers bar to get rid of his “coat hanger”.

While ketosis is literally the opposite of eating sugar to get your blood sugar to spike, that commercial is still a pretty good metaphor for your body’s lack of electrolytes. That said, you may know if you’re low.

Some signs that you need more electrolytes (especially sodium) include:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle cramps
  • Poor performance during workouts
  • Exhaustion
  • Increased thirst

You may already recognize many of these side effects as symptoms of keto flu. Did you know that you can avoid the keto flu altogether simply by consuming enough electrolytes?

As if avoiding headaches and fatigue weren’t appealing enough, consuming enough electrolytes can also have a plethora of positive side effects. Some of these are:

  • Decreased thirst
  • Increases energy
  • Less muscle fatigue during workouts
  • Fewer muscle cramps.

The electrolytes found in exogenous ketone bodies (BHB) are the reason one KETO 30 Challenge participant, Tabitha, was so excited about No More Charley Horses. One final reason

If you are concerned about an imbalance, you can also ask your doctor to test your electrolytes. It’s not necessary, but it can be reassuring.

What About an Electrolyte Overdose?

There are definitely too many benefits for electrolytes. In some cases, overloading on electrolytes can be very dangerous.

Your body can only handle so much magnesium, but it can also excrete excess magnesium very efficiently. Unfortunately, this means that taking more magnesium orally than you need can cause some pretty intense digestive problems while your body tries to get rid of it. Take more than 400 mg, and you’ll know it.

That’s why many people like to use topical magnesium sprays or creams to soothe sore muscles, especially after intense exercise.

Sodium overdose is very rare, even on a keto diet. This is because the strong salty taste of sodium means it is difficult to overconsume. And don’t forget that more electrolytes (including sodium) are flushed out of the keto body due to reduced water retention.

On the other hand, a lack of sodium can lead to dehydration, since the purpose of sodium is to regulate water in the body. This is why adding salt to the keto diet is especially important.

Eating too much magnesium can be unpleasant, but eating too much potassium is extremely dangerous. That’s why it’s hard to find potassium supplements with more than a minuscule amount of potassium.

Signs of potassium overload include:

  • Racing or abnormal heart rate
  • Heart palpitations
  • Numbness
  • Tingling

Potassium overdose can be fatal if left too long. If you have been pounding electrolyte supplements and notice any of these symptoms, go to the hospital immediately. 

How to Get Enough Electrolytes on Keto

There are two ways to get your electrolytes: From supplements, or from food.

Getting everything you need from food is ideal, but it does require you to pay more attention to your diet. This is why electrolyte supplements are such a great option.

It’s worth noting that some people have no issue hitting their electrolyte needs every day with food, without ever having to really think about it. So while it’s crucial that you’re getting enough electrolytes, don’t worry about having to track and monitor your food for the rest of your keto journey.

Want to know more about getting electrolytes from supplements versus food? Let’s compare the two.

1: Electrolyte Supplements

Electrolyte supplements can be a total game changer, but they’re not all created equal.

If you’ve done even half a day of keto, then you’re probably well aware that sugar is hiding in pretty much everything. That’s why trying to find sugar-free electrolytes is so tough.

Whether it’s an electrolyte sports drink or a powder, sugar is almost always the number one ingredient. It can be difficult to find electrolyte supplements that are not only low in sugar, but also taste good.

Fortunately, keto-friendly options do exist.

Keto Electrolytes has less than 1 gram of net carbs per serving, is sweetened with keto-friendly stevia, and doesn’t boast an ingredient list that you’d need a science degree to translate. It’s everything you need to give yourself an easy electrolyte boost.

Plus, you can choose between two flavors (raspberry or pineapple) or go unflavored to add to your daily protein shake.

2: Beta-Hydroxybutyrate (BHB)

Bone broth is one of the best food sources of electrolytes, probably due to its sodium and mineral content, being bone broth.

Not only is bone broth good for your intestines and a great source of collagen, it is also often fortified with electrolytes.

Try slurping a hot cup of bone broth throughout the day, or even try a quick bone broth.

Choose something simple and high quality. In case you’re wondering, here’s a simple breakdown of why grass-fed is best.

3: Bone Broth

One of the top food sources of electrolytes, likely due to it’s sodium and mineral content, is bone broth. 

Not just good for your gut and a great source of collagen, bone broth also often comes fortified with electrolytes. 

Try sipping a hot cup of bone broth throughout the day or even trying a bone broth fast. 

Choose something easy and high-quality, like FBOMB Grass-Fed Bone Broth. And in case you’re wondering, here’s an easy breakdown of why grass-fed is best.Bone broth is one of the best food sources of electrolytes, probably due to its sodium and mineral content, being bone broth.

Not only is bone broth good for your intestines and a great source of collagen, it is also often fortified with electrolytes.

Try sipping a hot cup of bone broth throughout the day or even try a quick bone broth.

Choose something simple and high quality. In case you’re wondering, here’s a simple breakdown of why grass-fed is best.

4: Food Sources of Electrolytes

Almost all keto whole foods are rich in electrolytes. However, keep in mind that you do have to eat a lot of each food to replenish and balance your electrolyte levels. That’s why supplements exist!

Here are the most electrolyte-rich keto foods that you can easily incorporate into your daily diet:

Foods high in sodium

  • Sea salt- 2325mg per teaspoon
  • Ham- 1,117mg per 3oz
  • Parmesan cheese- 433mg per oz
  • Chicken thigh- 345mg per 3oz
  • Feta cheese- 316mg per oz
  • Pickles- 240mg per oz
  • Swiss chard- 100mg per cup

Foods high in magnesium

  • Brazil nuts- 106mg per oz
  • Almonds- 80mg per oz
  • Tofu- 74mg per cup
  • Dark chocolate- 64mg per oz
  • Hemp seeds- 60mg per tablespoon
  • Tuna- 54mg per 3oz
  • Avocado- 44mg per cup
  • Pumpkin seeds- 40mg per tablespoon
  • Chia seeds- 40mg per tablespoon
  • Flax seeds- 40mg per tablespoon
  • Kale- 30mg per cup
  • Swiss chard- 29mg per cup
  • Mackerel- 28mg per 3oz
  • Cacao powder- 27mg per tablespoon
  • Green beans- 25mg per cup
  • Peanut butter- 24mg per tablespoon
  • Spinach- 24mg per cup
  • Salmon- 23mg per 3oz
  • Brussels sprouts- 20mg per cup
  • Broccoli- 19mg per cup
  • Spirulina- 14mg per tablespoon

Foods high in potassium

  • Lite Salt- 720mg per half teaspoon
  • Avocado- 700mg per cup
  • Coconut cream- 630mg per cup
  • Brussels sprouts- 342mg per cup
  • Kale- 329mg per cup
  • Greek yogurt- 320mg per cup
  • Pork loin- 305mg per 3oz
  • Broccoli- 297mg per cup
  • Artichokes- 273mg per medium artichoke
  • Beef- 270mg per 3oz
  • Mackerel- 267mg per 3oz
  • Salmon- 250mg per 3oz
  • Bone broth- 240mg per cup
  • Mushrooms- 222mg per cup
  • Green beans- 209mg per cup 
  • Tuna- 201mg per 3oz
  • Almonds- 200mg per oz
  • Chicken thigh- 187mg per 3oz
  • Brazil nuts- 186mg per oz
  • Spinach- 167mg per cup
  • Dark chocolate- 158mg per oz

Electrolytes and Working Out

Electrolytes are important in ketosis treatment, but they are especially important for people who exercise regularly. This is because of their role in helping your body stay hydrated and assisting with muscle contraction. In addition, you may lose more electrolytes than usual due to sweating.

Want to be a fat-powered athlete? Make electrolytes your new best friend. Make your own keto water at the gym by mixing some keto electrolytes into your shaker cup, or just add a little salt to the water. This can make all the difference in the world and get your workouts back to those awesome pre-keto levels.

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