Unless you’ve lived under a rock for the last couple of years, you have probably heard something about the ketogenic diet.
Approximately three percent of the population currently follows this diet — are you interested in following it, too?
If you’ve done any research on a ketogenic diet, chances are you’ve learned about the importance of staying hydrated. That means you can just drink lots of water, right? Not exactly.
In order to stay hydrated, you need to figure out how to replenish electrolytes.
Read on to learn more about doing this. You’ll also learn other tips that will help you stay healthy and happy while on a ketogenic diet.
What is a Ketogenic Diet?
Put simply, a ketogenic diet is a low-carbohydrate, moderate protein, high-fat diet.
At first, it might seem counterintuitive to eat lots of fat. In reality, though, eating fat does not make you fat. Fat is not inherently unhealthy, either.
In fact, our bodies need fat to function properly. Without fat, our brains don’t function well, we cannot make hormones, and we cannot absorb other vitamins and minerals effectively.
How Does it Work?
When you restrict carbohydrates and eat higher fat, moderate protein diet, your body’s metabolism changes. Instead of running on glucose, which the body gets by breaking down carbohydrates into sugar, it runs on fat.
Why would you want your body to run on fat? Research shows that your body runs more efficiently when it runs on fat compared to running on glucose.
Most people also have an abundance of stored fat on their bodies that they can use for energy. Because of this, when your body runs on fat, you’re less likely to feel hungry or experience a blood sugar crash like you do when your body is running on glucose.
Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet
There are a lot of benefits that come with eating a ketogenic diet. Some of the greatest benefits of this diet include:
When you eat fewer carbohydrates and get a higher percentage of your daily calories from protein and fat, you’ll likely experience a reduction in appetite. This is because fat digests more slowly than carbohydrates and helps you to feel fuller longer.
Faster Weight Loss
When you initially switch to a diet that is low in carbs and high in fat, you’ll lose a lot of weight very quickly.
It’s true that the bulk of this weight is water weight. When you lose a lot of weight in the beginning, though, you might feel motivated to keep going and stick to your diet.
Lower Triglyceride Levels
Triglycerides are fat molecules found in the blood. High triglyceride levels are linked to serious illnesses like heart disease. People who stick to a ketogenic diet tend to have lower triglyceride levels.
Better Blood Sugar
When you restrict carbohydrates, you experience fewer blood sugar spikes. This, in turn, can help you to manage your blood sugar and insulin levels. As a result, you can become more insulin sensitivity and even reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Treatment for Brain Disorders
Finally, ketogenic diets can also be used therapeutically to treat brain disorders like epilepsy. In fact, that is the reason why ketogenic diets were first developed.
Staying Hydrated on a Ketogenic Diet
When your body shifts from running on glucose to running on fat, you may experience some unpleasant symptoms in the beginning.
For example, many people find that, when they first switch to a ketogenic diet, they experience dehydration and symptoms associated with it (headaches, fatigue, muscle cramps, etc.).
This is because carbohydrates cause your body to retain water. When you restrict carbohydrates, your body gets rid of excess water.
When your body is getting rid of excess water, you need to make sure you’re replenishing electrolytes, too. You can’t just drink a lot of plain water.
Your body needs electrolytes (especially sodium, potassium, and magnesium) so that the cells can absorb water. Electrolytes also balance the acidity of the blood, regulate the function of nerves and muscles, and help rebuild damaged tissues.
How to Replenish Electrolytes on a Ketogenic Diet
Be sure to keep these tips in mind to replenish your electrolytes when you’re following a ketogenic diet:
- Add extra salt to your food to ensure you’re getting plenty of sodium
- Drink bone broth for extra sodium
- Eat avocados to increase your potassium levels
- Drink mineral water to get extra magnesium
- Add fresh lemon juice to your water to increase potassium
You can also take an electrolyte supplement.
There are lots of different electrolyte supplements on the market that will help you balance out your electrolytes. Just be sure to steer clear of sports drinks that contain a lot of sugar. Read the labels and make sure no sugar is added before you drink up.
Staying Healthy on a Ketogenic Diet
Keeping your electrolytes balanced is one of the most important things you can do to stay healthy while you’re on a ketogenic diet.
There are a few other steps you can take to stay healthy, though, including the following:
- Focus more on cutting carbs rather than adding fat — it’s the carb restriction that gets you into ketosis, not adding tons of fat to your food
- Focus on eating whole, nutrient-dense foods and avoid lots of packaged, processed snacks, even those that are “keto friendly”
- Try using fasting to help you get into ketosis faster
- Eat sufficient amounts of protein to help with your satiety levels
Be sure to get plenty of sleep while you’re transitioning to a ketogenic diet, too. This will help you overcome unpleasant symptoms and feel your best.
Want to Learn More About a Ketogenic Diet?
It can be a bit overwhelming at first trying to figure out how to replenish electrolytes on a ketogenic diet.
Once you do a little research, though, the process becomes a lot easier.
Keep these tips in mind for staying hydrated (and generally healthy) and you’ll have no trouble following a ketogenic diet. Do you want to learn more about the keto diet? If so, we’ve got lots of articles to help you.
Start by checking out this article to learn about healthy keto diet foods to eat on a daily basis.