Many people who are accustomed to eating a carb-based diet, restrict their salt intake to avoid blood pressure, but when eating low carb high fat, there is the need to add salt to replace sodium right from the beginning. That is how “keto-water” came to be.
When eating low carb and when intermittent fasting (extending the amount of time between meals) insulin levels fall, and with it so does the kidney’s retention of sodium (salt). The kidneys excrete sodium in a process called naturesis so replacing the missing sodium is important. Sodium and potassium (as well as calcium and magnesium) are used in pairs in a number of systems in the body, so when the kidneys ‘dump’ a lot of sodium, potassium is soon excreted too, in order to balance the two electrolytes. If someone on a low carb diet doesn’t supplement sodium soon enough, their potassium levels could fall too low as a result, which may cause them to have excruciating headaches and/or irregular heart beat (heart palpitations).
It is fairly difficult to meet the Dietary Reference Intake for potassium on a conventional carb-based diet, but on a low-carb diet – even with a very high non-starchy vegetable intake, it is still challenging as many of the good sources of potassium, such as potato and yams are not part of a low carb high fat diet. Mushrooms and avocado are some of the best sources, so include those foods often.
To be sure to get sufficient sodium and potassium, I make what I call “keto-water”.
NOTE: People with kidney disease (e.g. CKD) must avoid any salt substitutes or half-salts with potassium. Those taking blood pressure medication such as Ramipril have increased potassium retention and should also not use half-salts containing potassium.
Keto-water is 1 liter of club soda / seltzer to which 1/8 tsp of “half salt” has been added.
“Half salt” is a half-sodium / half-potassium salt that is sold under a number of brand names, including “Nu Salt” and “no Salt“.
I add a tiny twist of lime or lemon to round out the taste and also to add a source of Vitamin C and voila, “keto-water“!
Unless it is particularly hot out, or one’s needs are increased because they are exercising or have a fever, two liters a day of “keto-water” is probably sufficient for most people.
Keep in mind that drinking keto-water will result in your body retaining more water along with the sodium, so it may appear as if your ‘weight went up’, but it is only the natural water retention that occurs (and is supposed to occur) when your body has sufficient electrolytes. Remember, weight form most people can fluctuate by as much as 4 – 4 1/2 pounds per day solely from the natural fluctuation in body water, so don’t weigh yourself too much. I recommend a maximum of once a week, on the same day and at the same time. When you are replacing the body’s necessary electrolytes (such as sodium and potassium), it is better to judge fat loss by loss of inches around various parts of your body (mid-arm, mid-thigh, neck, abdomen) than by the scale. Even easier, go by how your clothes feel!
Please don’t restrict sodium when eating low-carb for the sake of a number on the scale! Your body needs the sodium and potassium to function properly.
If you would like to read well-researched, credible “Science Made Simple” articles on the use of a low carb or ketogenic diet for weight loss, as well as to significantly improve and even reverse the symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes, high cholesterol and other metabolic-related symptoms, please click here.
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