The ketogenic diet has become the staple point of a trendy lifestyle, with success stories constantly circulating around popular social media sites. The keto diet differs greatly from other health-related social media trends, as it is actually rigorously supported by a plethora of studies from nutritionists and doctors alike. With this professional backing, keto has been dubbed a sure-shot way to lose the extra pounds.
The keto diet focuses on a low-carb, high-fat diet with an end goal of rapid weight loss once your body is in a state of ketosis. With tweaks to your regular eating habits, the ketogenic diet will shed your excess body weight by burning stored fat rather than glucose. As a result of this, keto dieters can feel more confident whilst looking, and feeling, much better.
Staying hydrated during any diet is crucial, but with the keto diet, drinking water becomes all the more important to keep your water intake in check. This is due to the fact that low-carb diets like keto tend to retain less water despite fluid intake, and you will likely lose a lot more fluids through urination compared to other mainstream diets.
Maintaining healthy water and electrolyte intake whilst on the keto diet is essential for preventing serious circumstances such as severe dehydration. Due to this, many people are left wondering how much fluids they should be consuming every day in order to stay hydrated during keto.
In this blog post, we will be covering exactly how much water you should aim to consume while you are on the keto diet as well as the health risks you could face with mild dehydration.
Why The Keto Diet Can Make You Dehydrated:
Those on the keto diet often experience symptoms of mild dehydration if their water consumption is not properly managed, causing it to be too low. The keto diet works on the basis of eliminating nearly all carbs from your daily diet, and though this is great for weight loss, carbs and their salt content actually hold onto a lot of the water that you drink.
Furthermore, the keto diet encourages dieters to eat whole foods which naturally have a far lower sodium content compared to processed and packaged foods. This sodium and salt are vital for retaining water, also known as the dreaded water weight. Despite negative public opinion on water weight from dieting culture, it actually helps keep symptoms of dehydration and electrolyte imbalance at bay.
Without these carbs, drinking water will not have the same effect. As this water has no carbs to absorb, it is expelled rather quickly through sweating or urination - especially if you live somewhere with frequent hot weather.
Side Effects Of Dehydration:
So, what could happen if you do not drink water during keto? If your water intake is low, the following things could happen to you.
Headaches occur when your body is experiencing mild dehydration. This is actually because your brain can temporarily contract away from your skull due to a lack of fluids, causing the headache pain sensation. A lack of electrolytes from not drinking enough water can also cause headaches and migraines.
Not drinking enough water can cause your blood pressure levels to drop as it becomes too thick to easily regulate around the whole body. When you are dehydrated, your brain does not have the same access to blood levels as it usually does. As a result of this, you may experience dizzy spells or short periods of tunnel vision and extreme dizziness when making sudden movements, such as standing up from a sitting position.
Whilst dizziness should be enough of a dehydration symptom to cause you to drink some more water, if you ignore this symptom, then you have the potential risk of fainting. Like dizzy spells, fainting due to dehydration can occur if your blood pressure lowers. If your blood pressure drops by too much or too quickly, your body's nervous system might not be able to cope and you may faint.
Lethargy due to dehydration can either occur as a direct consequence of not drinking enough water, or it could be a secondary result of other dehydration symptoms. For example, lethargy may occur as a result of feeling nauseous: muscle cramps, rapid heartbeat, sickness, and muscle weakness are all symptoms of low water consumption. These can cause people to feel tired and weak as their body is struggling to cope due to dehydration.
Additionally, lethargy can also be a direct result of not drinking water enough throughout the day. This is because water is an essential aspect of your internal body that helps to deliver key nutrients to parts of the body, such as important organs. If this water content level is lacking or suddenly reduced, the body cannot deliver the right amount of nutrients and minerals to cells in a timely manner. This will cause your body to feel weak and lethargic and may cause you to feel overly sleepy or dizzy.
How Much Water Should You Drink On Keto?
This is the key question that unfortunately does not have a straight answer that works for every type of body. Generally, how much water you need to consume whilst following the ketogenic diet also depends on external factors such as whether you exercise regularly, the extent to which you restrict carbs, as well as the average temperature of where you live.
As a result, there is no precise amount of water that you should drink whilst on keto - it depends on everyone’s unique body type. There is, however, a general formula that can be used to estimate how much water should be consumed.
To work out this formula, choose anywhere between 50% to 100% of your body weight in pounds (a happy medium would be 75% of your body weight) and have that figure as the number of ounces of water you should drink on a daily basis. Though you can choose anywhere between 50% and 100%, this is when you should factor in the external issues. For example, if you are exercising a lot or living in a hotter climate where you sweat more, raise the % amount that you decide on.
Alternatively, health experts recommend drinking around 64 ounces of water daily if you are following the ketogenic diet, with men needing to drink about 5 glasses of water more than women a day. To help regulate your body temperature and energy levels (as well as avoiding symptoms of the keto flu), experts suggest adding more salt into your low carbohydrate diet for optimal health.
It is recommended that whilst on the keto diet, you should add salt to your water to help regulate your electrolytes. 2.5 teaspoons of salt a day, or 5 grams of sodium, will help your body to retain water in order to help prevent dehydration.
Benefits Of Staying Hydrated On Keto
Other than preventing dehydration, there are several benefits associated with staying well hydrated whilst following the keto diet. The main benefits of this are as follows!
Water increases the rate of fat metabolization:
Drinking more water whilst on the keto diet can help you to lose weight more quickly! This is because fats, proteins, and carbohydrates all require different processes to be performed by the body in order to be successfully broken down into the digestive tract. To break down fatty acids to be used as ketones, more water molecules are needed in comparison to proteins and carbs.
Consequently, it is important that those following a keto diet maintain high levels of water consumption as water plays an essential role in breaking down the fat and the fatty acids that the body stores. This will help keto dieters to gain energy more quickly without feeling sluggish or lethargic during the digestive process.
Reduces appetite and cravings:
There are a few reasons why drinking water is great for reducing your appetite and soothing your salt or sugar cravings. Firstly, being mildly dehydrated can often be mistaken for feeling hungry. Therefore, always reach for your water bottle before your keto-friendly meals and pay attention to whether drinking more water before meals helps you feel more satisfied. This can demonstrate where you are eating more to make up for symptoms of dehydration without realizing it!
Secondly, over your keto journey, you will definitely experience salt or sugar cravings at some point or another. Whilst there are keto-friendly salt and sugar alternative snacks, the best thing you can do is mix some salt or keto-friendly sweetener into your water and drink it. This tip will be really helpful as you will drink healthy electrolytes, especially sodium from salt, whilst satisfying your cravings and hunger.
Lowers stress on kidneys:
When changing your body's main source of energy from glucose to ketones (excess stored body fat), your kidneys need to adapt their filtering process. This is especially important for keto dieters, as ketones are a lot more acidic than the usual glucose. As a result of this, drinking more water whilst on keto will lower the stress of filtering ketones on your kidneys.
Tips To Stay Hydrated During Keto
We have researched some of the top tips for staying hydrated whilst on the keto diet, even if you do not want much water to drink throughout the day! We have listed some alternatives to water (such as carbonated water), as well as ways that you can treat and prevent symptoms of mild to severe dehydration.
Eat water-rich foods
Some people on keto diets just naturally find it hard to drink water throughout the day. In order to still be hydrated, try incorporating water-rich foods into your diet. Foods such as dark green leafy vegetables, avocado, and bone broth, are water-dense food options that adhere to a low-carb diet.
Additionally, you can also choose to drink carbonated water as well as teas and coffees. Just try not to increase your caffeine intake by too much, too quickly as this can cause some side effects like anxiety or insomnia.
Drink a lot more electrolytes
There are many factors that can influence how effective drinking water is to cure the effects of mild dehydration on the average adult. For example, you will soothe symptoms of dehydration more quickly by drinking water with added electrolytes, as it will boost how your body responds to the increased water intake. In fact, when you are dehydrated, health experts recommend drinking electrolyte-infused water, such as Smart Water, to help support the kidneys.
Drink when you feel thirsty
Drinking more water when you feel thirsty is an important factor that many people overlook. Whenever you feel like you have a dry mouth or throat, a good rule of thumb is to drink at least half of an average-sized water bottle. The human body has evolved over thousands of years to truly understand what its internal organs require and when they need it, including when it has low water blood content and electrolyte levels. Therefore, a great tip is to use your own thirst to guide your water consumption.
In summary, it is so important to stay well hydrated whilst on the keto diet. You will actually need to drink more water (or equally hydrating fluids) whilst following the keto diet in order to help break down the fatty acids in your body and support your kidneys. Drinking the equivalent of around 75% of your body weight in pounds and having that figure as the number of ounces of water you should drink on a daily basis, alongside added electrolytes or salt capsules, will help to prevent symptoms of mild dehydration.
The tips and tricks listed above can also help you to tackle the keto flu, which can be an awful experience for those just starting their low-carb journey.