The ketogenic diet is an incredible diet we explain in the Body Reboot book. This high fat, low carb diet has the potential to help people lose weight, fight against disease, and make healthier decisions in life. And that’s just a few benefits of the diet! By reducing carbohydrates, the body goes into a state known as ketosis, and weight loss is accelerated. A body quickly burns through glucose, and without carbs, it’s easier for a person to get dehydrated. That’s why staying hydrated and getting enough fluids is so important while on the keto diet.
Survive Keto explains why a body may lack water during the early stages of the keto diet. Losing water leads to weight loss, but it can cause health issues if you’re not careful. Staying hydrated to replenish the water you’re missing is critical to making the keto diet work for you.
In the early stages of a Ketogenic Diet, your body produces less insulin due to carb restriction. In a normal high-carb diet insulin is released to convert carbs to glucose for immediate energy expenditures, and to convert the remaining carbs to glycogen to be stored in the muscles and liver for future energy needs. During fasting or carbohydrate restriction your glycogen stores are depleted, along with the accompanying water.
Many people experience weight loss in the early stages of ketosis. This loss is merely water weight being expended, and not being replenished. Another issue with this depletion of glycogen and water is that electrolytes are also excreted.
Obviously, with the accelerated depletion of water and electrolytes, you will need to consume more liquids than usual. We’ll discuss hydration and electrolyte replacement recommendations and strategies below. Understand that the recommendations cited are for an individual on a standard diet and that your requirements will be a bit greater. There are multiple ways to determine if you are not getting enough liquids while in ketosis, for now, let’s know that your body is a marvelous machine and it usually will tell you when you need fluids as you will get thirsty.
Livestrong reiterates why keto dieters are more prone to getting dehydrated, especially when you first go on the keto diet. As you progress in the diet, you can still get dehydrated, which is why it’s essential to stay on top of your fluids.
Carbohydrates, in the form of glycogen, are stored with water, keeping you hydrated. When you restrict carbohydrates, your body quickly sheds water weight. While most dieters are encouraged by this reduction in body weight, remember that you are now more vulnerable to dehydration. Harvard Medical School recommends drinking at least 6 to 8 cups of liquid per day. Be especially diligent with water intake when working out and in hot weather and drink two to three cups of water for every hour of exercise or vigorous activity.
You shouldn’t be afraid of drinking too much water, as PopSugar reminds us. Even when you become keto-adapted, which means your body gets used to eating fewer carbs every day, you still may not be drinking enough water.
But you may need to drink even more water with lifestyle changes such as the low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet.
“When you eat very few carbs, your liver releases glycogen, the storage form of glucose (sugar), and for every gram of glycogen that is released, two grams of water are released and excreted in the urine,” Franziska Spritzler, RD, a certified diabetes educator in Huntington Beach, CA, told POPSUGAR. “During this time, you should drink at least 2.5 liters of water or fluid per day to replace the amount lost in urine. Once you become keto-adapted, you should still consume a minimum of two liters of water daily in order to prevent dehydration and promote optimal metabolic health.”
Carb Manager explains why electrolytes are so important and how they play a role in hydration. They also discuss weight fluctuations caused by keto.
Electrolytes are Crucial
Sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium are essential electrolytes that are key for proper hydration.
On keto, you’re eliminating various salty processed carbohydrates, so it’s crucial that you increase your sodium intake more than if you were following a diet that consisted of carbs.
Since keto helps maintain low levels of insulin, your body flushes out more sodium than any other diet. Make sure to replenish these essential electrolytes, especially sodium, to get the most out of the low carb, high fat lifestyle.
Keto-Adaptation Will Cause Water Weight Fluctuations
During the first week of keto, you’ll experience a drastic water weight fluctuation. This is completely normal and should not be a cause for concern.
When your body stores carbs, it holds onto water. For every 1 gram of carbs you store, you’ll store an average of 4 grams of water. Once these carbs are removed from your diet, water will come along with it, so it’s important to maintain proper fluid levels during this period.
If you’re having issues drinking enough water, My Sugar-Free Journey recommends putting some flavor in your water and keeping it close to you. If it’s close to you, then you’ll be more likely to reach for it more often.
Keep Water Close
It’s a lot easier to drink water if the water is always around. Keep a water glass near you and full at all times. You will be surprised at how quickly you will power through a gallon or more a day just by always having it around.
Flavor Your Water
Stay away from anything with sugar obviously but try cutting a few lemons or limes and putting it in the water and see if it tastes good to you. About a month ago I started drinking water with a little Raw Apple Cider Vinegar in it because there is some evidence that it speeds up weight loss and found I liked the taste.
Salt Your Water
A little salt in your water will make it taste better and help your body retain more of it. Just a pinch is all you will need.
I hope these tips help you drink more water and lose weight faster!
When you first go on the keto diet, you will experience what is known as the “keto flu.” Due to the keto-like flu, Ketogenic.com explains what you may encounter and why water is so essential to counteract the symptoms.
Many people who start a ketogenic diet often experience the unpleasant “keto flu,” which is the name for one or a combination of these symptoms. Even if you are following a well-formulated ketogenic diet with a low amount of carbohydrates, a moderate amount of protein, and higher amount of fat as suggested, it is likely that you may still experience some of these symptoms. While your macronutrients may be in line, there is another important factor to consider: ensuring you keep your body properly nourished and functioning well. That key factor is the balance of electrolytes in the body.
What are Electrolytes?
Electrolytes are minerals found in the body and are the electrical signaling molecules used for maintaining functions within the body, such as regulating your heartbeat and allowing muscles to contract for functional movement. The most relevant electrolytes in this context are sodium, potassium, magnesium, chloride, and calcium.
Why is Monitoring Your Electrolytes Important?
When you shift to a ketogenic diet, your body tends to release more water as opposed to storing it. The reason being that there is less insulin produced as a result of the composition of the diet. This leads to hormonal signals via the renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system signaling your kidneys to excrete MORE water and retain LESS.
Along with increased excretion of water, the minerals found in that water are lost at a higher rate. In the end, you can quickly become depleted of key electrolytes that your body needs to function properly. As a result, you can experience some of the negative symptoms associated with the “keto flu.”
Ketogenic.com also discusses how vital it is to keep your electrolytes up and drink more water. Yes, that’s what we have been stressing throughout this article! It’s easy to forget to drink water, so while on keto (and even when you’re not on keto) it’s vital to remind yourself to drink more.
While you need to make it a priority to keep your electrolyte intake escalated, it is also important to increase your water intake as well. With the switch to a ketogenic diet, you will probably experience increased urination during the first few days. Additionally, as mentioned before, your body does not retain water as well. Thus, it is important to keep your water intake high to ensure proper hydration.
An easy and convenient way to determine hydration status is to check the color of your urine. If it is a pale yellow or clear color, like lemonade, then the odds are that you are well hydrated. The darker it is, more like the color of apple juice, the more you may need to drink up. Whether you are preparing to embark on a ketogenic diet, or are suffering from any of the aforementioned symptoms, make sure you are conscious of your electrolytes and not just the macronutrients of the foods you are consuming.
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