Does Ketosis Make You Thirsty? [Yes, and No….]

  • Author: Katie
  • Date: October 9, 2022
  • Time to Read: 5 min.

Does ketosis make you thirsty? Yes, there are times when you may feel thirsty on the keto diet. However, this is not something that you need to worry about, below we will explain why you get a dry mouth, as well as the simplest ways to overcome the feeling of thirst on keto.

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So, we’ve already answered the questions, does ketosis make you thirsty, we know that it does, but why and what can you do about it?

The keto diet has far too many health benefits to give up on it, just because you may feel a bit thirsty. So let’s get into why ketosis may make you feel thirsty, as well as your options for overcoming it.

What Is Ketosis?

Ketosis is a metabolic process. It occurs when the body has burned through all of its glucose stores and therefore has run out of fuel.

As a result, it looks for a different source of fuel.

The next available source of fuel in the human body is fat. As the body starts to burn fat, it produces ketones. These are produced in the liver of the body.

It is these ketones that are broken down and used as fuel

Glycogen is responsible for storing water in our muscles, so when we burn through our glycogen stores, our water levels fall. 

Water loss occurs when the body transitions from burning carbs to fat for fuel.

To clarify: Glucose is the sugar that can be found in our bloodstream, when we have too much of this, the extra is converted by our body and is stored as glycogen.

Thirsty On Keto Find Out Why

Also, when you are eating foods that are high in carbohydrates (sugar), your insulin levels will be higher. When you stop eating sugar, and reducing your carb intake, and the body starts burning through its supplies, your insulin levels will start to decrease.

One of the results of high insulin levels is that it triggers the body to retain water and sodium. As your insulin levels normalize, your kidneys release this water and sodium.

As insulin levels reduce, water is released from the body

This is why you may find yourself urinating more on the first few days of transitioning into ketosis through a keto diet. Check out our article for more on side effects to expect on a keto diet.

Helpfully, the feeling of thirst can also be a good indication that you are heading into ketosis, which is a positive thing.

Keto, and some of the language used around keto, can be very confusing. Here, we try and break everything down for you, however, we realize that we may not always remember to.

To help you out, we have drawn up a list of the commonly used keto terms, and keto abbreviations for you. These should help you on your keto journey.

Print them out, or bookmark them, then they will be there whenever you need them.

Why Does Ketosis Make You Thirsty?

Ketosis thirst is sometimes described as having a dry mouth.

As we have seen above, there are two metabolic functions that are making you lose more water than normal.

1. You are not storing water with glycogen in the skeletal muscles

2. You are no longer storing water in the cells of the liver and kidneys.

The majority of this water will be excreted through your urine. You may read that you lose a lot of ‘water weight’ initially on keto. When people say this, these processes are what they are referring to, and why people often experience rapid weight loss in the early days of keto.

20% of the water we consume comes from the food we eat.

Furthermore, if you ate a lot of fruit prior to ‘going keto’, this will have contained a lot of water. Also, a lot of processed foods are actually high in water content. By not eating these and eating more nutritious, natural foods, you are further reducing your water intake. 

Approximately 20% of the water we get comes from food. This is a significant decrease. 

As a result of these processes, you will have less water stored in your body, so naturally, you are going to feel thirsty on keto.

So, in answer to the question, does ketosis make you thirsty, yes, it does, and the above is why.

How To Know If You Are Dehydrated On Keto?

There are some simple signs to look out for to check whether you are actually dehydrated on keto, the feeling of thirst is just one of them.

Signs that you may be dehydrated on keto;

  • Dry mouth
  • Dry throat
  • Dry eyes
  • Dark yellow pee
  • Strong smelling pee
  • Feeling lightheaded, or dizzy
  • Feeling lethargic

Also, another simple test you can do is by pinching the skin on the back of your hand, if it does not immediately spring back, it may be a sign that you are dehydrated.

How To Prevent The Feeling Of Thirst On Keto

If you are just starting out on your keto journey, one of the best things you can do is ensure that you remain hydrated.

Check out our article on how much you should be drinking on a keto diet.

Our top tips for doing this are to work out how much you need to drink for your body weight and ensure that you drink this amount as a minimum throughout the day.

Drinking water or water-based drinks, such as green tea are going to ensure that you remain hydrated.

Remember that if you are eating a keto diet, you may need to add 20-25% to this amount to compensate for what you’re lacking from food.

Also, a good tip is that if you feel thirsty, don’t ignore it, just because you’ve had your usual amount to drink, don’t dismiss it, you will need to drink more in your early days of keto.

Electrolytes: Will These Stop Your Feeling Of Thirst On Keto?

Electrolyte drinks and tables can help replace the fluids you have lost, as well as contain sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, chloride, sulfate, and other minerals that help maintain fluid balance in the body.  

An alternative (and more budget-friendly option) is to add pink Himalayan salt to your water, or food.

Himalayan salt contains sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, chloride, sulfate, silica, iron, manganese, copper, zinc, fluoride, and other minerals.

Drinking coconut water, or adding bone broth to your diet can be a great way of adding more electrolytes to your diet, which should help with your feeling of thirst.

Check out our article for more on electrolytes, and how to incorporate them into a keto diet.

If you are drinking plenty of water and it is not quenching your thirst, or you are concerned at all about your feeling of thirst, please seek medical guidance.

Wrap Up

Does Ketosis Make You Thirsty? Yes, it can, but if you know the signs to look out for, you can soon overcome these.

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