We know that you need a very solid meal plan if you are going into ketosis. But you must also have a good hydration plan if you will enjoy the keto experience when you get there. The truth is that even mild dehydration can impair your memory and reasoning, as well as cognitive function.
It can also cause unnecessary fatigue and irritability. You may just begin to feel lousy in general. That’s why retaining water on keto is very important. While on keto, researchers tell us that the kind of diet you are eating may increase your risks of kidney stones if you refuse to get enough water.
Dehydration is one well-known side effect that may come with ketogenic diets. This happens for some good reasons. For instance, salt excretion increases on keto. And as your body loses salt, it drags water along. Essentially, your body will retain less water. You may also excrete lots of ketone bodies at first, and this is dehydrating too.
Basically, if you are eating keto, you should be drinking more water so that you can remain well-hydrated. But keto does not only change your body’s water composition. It also affects your electrolytes too. Imbalance in your water and electrolytes might cause problems, such as muscle spasms/cramps, constipation, and headaches. But once you master the way it works, you will find it easier to make the necessary adjustments.
The Importance of Retaining Water on Keto
Your body experiences major metabolic changes when you start burning off fat. These are the reasons why you must retain water while on keto:
To Replace lost water
Your body usually stores water with carbs. Each gram of carb in your body stays back with 4g water in your body. You can imagine how much water you would be losing when you stop eating and storing carbs. With the elimination of carbs, you need to drink more water to replace the water that is being flushed out.
To regulate appetite and curb cravings
Oftentimes, the sugar cravings and hunger pangs that you experience on keto are most likely due to dehydration. So you must master the art of reaching for water rather than sugary treats when the cravings arise.
Your kidneys experience less stress
Ketones are typically acidic. Your kidneys will flush out some ketone bodies instead of your body using them for fuel. This ensures that ketones don’t build up in your body. Water helps your kidney to filter out these ketones and flush them out with little to no stress.
Water supports fat metabolism
There is a process in your body called beta-oxidation. This is the process by which your body breaks down fats. Water molecules are part of the requirements for this process. So when you are burning lots of fats, you need more water for the process to be more effective.
For these reasons, experts recommend that we should consume about 91-125 Fl. Oz. of water daily. This amount, however, may vary with lifestyle and individual factors like age, weight, activity level, and of course, diet.
For instance, if you frequently work and exercise in hot afternoons, you would need more water. Someone working on a desk or who is living a sedentary life would need less water. And if you are eating keto, you definitely need more water but don’t now overdo it.
Electrolytes Are Important Too
Electrolytes like sodium, magnesium, and potassium are vital for proper hydration. They help you maintain proper fluid balance. And that’s why you can overdo water consumption. When you drink water in excess, it might dilute your body’s electrolyte.
This is why many brands of sports drinks include electrolytes in their mix. This is an attempt to prevent this problem. People generally have no issues with getting more potassium and magnesium on their plates. But although sodium is equally important, many people still think they’re bad.
You should not be afraid of salt because, in all honesty, you need it to live. If you don’t get enough sodium, you may experience a range of unpleasant symptoms to dangerous consequences. These include muscle, cramping, general weakness, fatigue, brain fog, grogginess, and body malaise.
When you are eating keto, it means you must have eliminated most processed foods (which are ultra-salty) from your diet. As such, you will be eating far less sodium already. More so, since keto keeps your insulin levels low, your sodium levels will be low too.
Low insulin levels would make your body flush more sodium out of your system. So then, you would need to pay attention to your electrolytes, especially salt. Broths are a good way to level up your electrolytes without eating high carbs.
Other options you may want to try include electrolyte tablets (could be with or without flavor). But even if there is flavor, please ensure not to get one with lots of added sugars. And don’t forget the simplest means of all. Add salt to your food. It may look old-fashioned, though. But it indeed works!
How to Retain More Water on Keto
If you have struggled with staying hydrated on your keto diet, you may need the following tips to help you stay properly hydrated:
- Drink water as soon as you wake up. The worst dehydration usually occurs after full night’s rests. So you may want to drink up some glasses upon waking up. This option is great for starting your day with proper hydration.
- Add some flavor to your water. Some people cannot cope with drinking flavorless water. Try to get zero-calorie flavorings to include in your drinking water. But stay away from any flavoring that contains calories or sugar.
- Keep water within reach always. A bottle should always be close by so that you can easily get a sip each time you need one.
- Coffee and tea, as well as other forms of non-water drinks, are also very helpful. Just make sure that they don’t have loads of syrup and sugar.
So you see, retaining water on keto is very important. And it’s easy to accomplish too. Just follow the tips we have shared above.