Electrolyte balance is one of the most critical – yet often overlooked – components of a successful and enjoyable ketogenic diet experience. Simply put, low carb and ketogenic diets strip electrolytes.
Lower carb diets are diuretic in nature, meaning the kidneys shift from retaining water, and sodium, to flushing them. Many will experience increased frequency of urination when switching to a low carb or keto lifestyle. This excretion of excess fluid is normal but not completely harmless, as it also removes many of the electrolytes – or minerals – present in our bodies. These electrolytes are necessary to enable many of the body’s biological processes, including proper function of the heart, muscles, nerves, even sleep.
A sudden shortage in these electrolytes is the culprit behind the muscle cramps, brain fog, headaches, low energy, and digestive and sleep issues that are commonly referred to in keto circles as the “keto flu”.
We can overcome this by ensuring we ingest adequate amounts of these essential electrolytes to protect our body’s natural balance, and support healthy mental and physical performance.