It’s likely that you already know when your switch from a standard carbohydrate-laden diet to a keto diet , electrolyte loss ( namely Magnesium, Potassium, Sodium ) happens.
So how much Magnesium, Potassium, and Sodium do you actually need on keto?
Short Answer: You need 3000-5000 mg of sodium and 3000-4000 mg of potassium and 300-500 mg magnesium on an average when in the keto diet.
Rather than trying to track your daily sodium and potassium intake, it’s best to add 2 gm of sodium as broth or bouillon, and accommodating 5 servings of non-starchy vegetables daily in your keto menu. For magnesium, it is best to take it as supplement tablets (3 tabs per day of slow-release magnesium)
What are the Symptoms of Keto Diet Electrolyte Imbalance?
Sodium deficiency in Keto will generally result in getting fatigued and feeling weak, headaches and sometimes difficulty in concentrating. To resolve it, have more salt in food. Better to have a broth or bullion having 2 mg of sodium in it.
Potassium imbalance will manifest as muscle cramp and twitching, increased palpitations. Easy way to handle this is to have more mushrooms and leafy vegetables in each of your keto meal.
Magnesium imbalance will generally result in muscle cramps at night or after walking or other exercises. This can be handled by consuming chia or pumpkin seeds every day along with almonds and leafy green. If required magnesium tablets can be consumed as supplements.
Why Electrolyte Imbalance Can Happen in Keto Diet?
In the beginning, many people experience ‘keto flu’ when starting their keto journey. But it is not actually flu — what people experience is a result of carbohydrate withdrawal and electrolyte imbalance.
Electrolytes (aka sodium, potassium, magnesium) remains in dissolved state within body fluids. When transitioning from a general high-carb diet to a keto diet, a lot of water is lost as it comes from the glycogen that is stored in the body.
It is important to note that 3-4 gm of water is stored for every 1g of glycogen stored in the muscles and liver. So when body is deprived of carbohydrates, it uses up the glycogen stores and the associated water (including the electrolytes dissolved in it ) resulting in electrolyte loss.
This is the main factor behind quick weight loss that generally happens in the first one or two weeks on a ketogenic diet.
As mentioned earlier, when body loses water it also loses electrolytes mainly sodium, magnesium, potassium, and calcium. So it’s important to replace them according to your need.
What is best Keto electrolyte drink?
You can make your own keto electrolyte drink by mixing 6 cups (1.5-litre water) with juice of medium lemon, and 1/4 tsp of pink Himalayan salt,1/2 tsp of Potassium chloride, 2 tsp of magnesium supplement. Mix all the ingredients and take the electrolyte drink every day.
Electrolyte replacement is important to help you continue on your keto journey. Many people quit after a week or two because they ignore this important factor while on keto.