One of the biggest surprises for me when I started on the keto diet was finding out that I needed A LOT more electrolytes than normally. To be honest, I’ve been on keto for years now and sometimes still get caught off guard.
What it feels like when you don’t get enough electrolytes on keto
You know, I´ll wake up, go to work, go grocery shopping and start making dinner. All of the sudden I´ll feel like I’m getting the flu. I´ll get weak and dizzy, slightly nauseous, slight headache, feel like I’m getting leg cramps and everything just becomes very difficult. Energy totally zapped. I mean, I have 3 kids, work full time and have a bastard of an autoimmune disease, but even more zapped of energy than normally 😂
Then I figure it out. I haven’t been consuming enough electrolytes! It actually makes me happy when I figure it out, because it’s a relatively easy fix.
Ok, great. What’s the fix?
For damage control I go straight for the bouillon cubes (I like chicken or beef from Knorr) and make a cup of broth. 1 cube in 1 large cup/mug of hot water. If I haven’t been eating enough fat that day I´ll add some butter, because I can. Yum.
Next up: I grab the largest glass I can find, preferably one that takes 4-500 ml. First, I fill it up with water and add a pinch of sea salt or pink Himalayan salt because I like to pretend I’m a hipster. Then, my (not so) SECRET INGREDIENT: High5 Zero electrolyte tabs. I’m in love with them. They come in different flavors and I keep them everywhere. In my desk at work, a huge stash in my kitchen and 1 tube in my purse, so basically I don’t leave home without them. There are different brands of electrolyte tabs out there, just make sure they’re low carb and read the list of ingredients carefully. You want to make sure they have sodium, magnesium and potassium. After the tab has dissolved I chug the homemade electrolyte drink and wait for the effects to kick in.
After 30-60 minutes I feel much better! It’s amazing how lack of electrolytes can make you feel absolutely horrible.
And the funny thing is, even if I go out of way to make sure I’m eating tons of table salt; salt my food liberally, eat salty bacon and foods containing magnesium and potassium, I still need my electrolyte drink. This is because when you’re on the keto diet, the body flushes electrolytes and water out faster so you need to make sure you’re hydrated and replace the electrolytes during the day.
The minimum daily intake of electrolytes (sodium, potassium and magnesium) while on the keto diet
This is what’s usually recommended:
- 5000 mg of sodium (salt)
- 1000 mg of potassium, in the form of potassium sulfate or potassium chloride
- 300 mg of magnesium
Tips for getting enough electrolytes
Like I said, it’s really hard to get enough of electrolytes with food alone. But here are some tips:
- Drink bouillon or broth daily
- Measure roughly how much salt you’re eating during the day. If you’re not sure how much 5000 mg of salt is, try weighing that amount in a small bowl so you can eyeball how much it is.
- Take a multivitamin that has magnesium and potassium
- Take a magnesium supplement. I usually make myself a Natural Calm Lemon drink before bed, it’s very relaxing and knocks me right out.
- If you’re lacking potassium, try using a salt substitute like lo-salt. It usually has around 50% potassium and 50% sodium.
- Please make sure you watch the amount of potassium though. Don’t take over 250mg of salt substitute (potassium) at once but the spreading it out over the day.
- Get your blood tested for electrolyte imbalance. You really don’t want to mess with the whole system, it can cause all sorts of health issues.
- If you’re in the beginning stages of keto, you might have the keto flu! So please read my comprehensive post on how to get rid of it.