Potassium, also called an electrolyte, is an important mineral that the body tissues require. It can activate several nerve and cell functions by carrying a small electrical charge. In addition, it helps in maintaining normal fluid levels in the body. Potassium is naturally present in different food items. But how does it affect a person’s body on a keto diet? How much potassium do you need on a keto diet? Read this post to find answers to these questions.
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Why May You Need Potassium On Keto?
If you’re new to keto and want a bit more information, check out our keto beginners guide.
As a quick summary, if you need it, the keto (also known as the ketogenic diet) is a low-carb, high-fat diet (LCHF).
The whole concept of the keto diet is that your body transitions from burning glucose, in simple terms, sugars or carbohydrates, to burning fat as its primary fuel source.
For a keto diet, people will restrict their macros to eating;
- 70% of their calories are from fat
- 25% from protein
- 5% from carbohydrates
Sticking to these macros for a period of time will put your body into a state of ketosis. Ketosis is when your body has transitioned from burning carbohydrates as its primary fuel source to burning fat for fuel. It is at this point that you will start to see and feel the benefits of the keto diet.
It is the role of the liver to convert amino acids into small amounts of glucose. This process is called glucogenesis. This is when ketone bodies (ketones) are created.
Eventually, your body will become what is known as ‘fat adapted‘. In simple terms, this means that your body is accustomed to burning fat as its primary fuel source and it will function this way as its default setting.
There are a lot of new terms and abbreviations that you may come across, sometimes it can feel like a new language that you need to learn. In order to help you out and keep you on the right track, we have created a keto terms and keto abbreviations guide, bookmark these to make your keto journey easier.
Some people can be put off the keto diet because of the side effects, however, these are only short-lived and the health benefits of keto far outweigh the side effects.
There is no doubt that the process of getting into ketosis and remaining there is a massive change to the way your body is used to functioning.
Supplements may be able to assist your body with this transition and speed up your journey to your health goals.
What Does Potassium Do For The Body?
Potassium is a mineral that is highly reactive in water. It produces positive charges (electrolytes) when dissolved in the water. But the importance of potassium remains highly underestimated.
Potassium can conduct electricity needed to perform different functions in the body.
They help your body regulate chemical reactions, as well as maintaining the balance between fluids inside and outside your cells, and so much more.
If you regularly consume a potassium-rich diet, it can help maintain blood pressure. It even prevents osteoporosis and offers protection against stroke.
Here’s what more potassium does for the body:
- It helps regulate fluid balance
- It is important for the nervous system
- It regulates muscles and heart contractions
- It can reduce blood pressure
- Can offer protection against strokes
- It can prevent osteoporosis
- It can prevent kidney stones
- It can reduce water retention
What Will Happen If I Have Too Little Potassium?
When your blood potassium level is below 3.5 mmol per liter, it is classified as potassium deficiency.
In the medical language, it is called hypokalemia.
Proper potassium levels in the body are responsible for regulating muscle contractions, fluid balance, and healthy nerve function. But many adults do not consume the required amount of potassium.
Hypokalemia can be caused due to shock, fluid loss, malnutrition, medical conditions like kidney failure, and the use of some medications.
Low Potassium Symptom Keto
Potassium deficiency occurs when the body does not get the required potassium for the proper functioning of the body.
If you are on a keto diet, you can notice the following symptoms to know whether your body has a proper potassium level or not.
- Weakness and fatigue
- Muscle weakness and cramps
- Digestive problems
- Abnormal heartbeat
- Breathing difficulty
- Tingling and numbness
- High blood pressure
These symptoms are not exclusive to the keto diet, anybody, on any eating plan, could experience these.
Can the Keto Diet Cause Low Potassium?
People who are new to the keto diet world often experience fatigue in the early day, this can be one of the side effects of keto.
While fatigue is one of the major signs that indicate the body is shifting towards ketosis, it is also may be linked to potassium deficiency.
When an individual eliminates food items like bananas from their diet, potassium deficiency can occur. Eating bananas is not encouraged in the keto diet, as they are high in carbohydrates, even though it is an excellent source of potassium.
So until somebody new to the diet has worked out how to get all of the nutrients through keto foods, it may be possible that they are deficient.
Don’t worry though, we will take you through why and how much potassium you need on keto below.
Why Do You Need Potassium on the Keto Diet?
If you are on a keto diet, you are advised to have a well-maintained level of potassium in the body. If your body does not have the suggested amount of potassium, it can compromise lean muscle mass.
It can result in irregular heartbeats, heart palpitations, and respiratory distress. Proper potassium levels in the body can help you perform well.
How Much Potassium Should I Take on Keto?
If you follow a keto diet, your body will want more potassium. Thus, it’s always suggested to take a potassium-rich diet when following keto.
Whether you are on a keto diet, you must consume 4700 mg of potassium in a day. You can fulfill this potassium requirement by consuming food items rich in potassium.
What Kind of Potassium is Best for the Keto Diet?
Potassium chloride is the highly preferred potassium for ketogenic diets. This form of potassium is also used in the best electrolyte products.
Potassium Citrate vs. Potassium Chloride on Keto
Potassium citrate is considered a potassium salt of citric acid. But citric acid is known to stop the body from entering the ketosis state.
While many products contain this form of potassium, it is not advised to consume them as they are not ideal for a keto diet.
On the other hand, potassium chloride is ideal for a ketogenic diet. It can treat low potassium levels in the body.
What Will Happen if I Have Too Much Potassium?
If the body has too much potassium, it is called hyperkalemia. This condition can damage your heart and can also result in a heart attack.
High amounts of potassium in the body can result in chronic kidney disease, dehydration, or uncontrolled diabetes.
It can also be caused by consuming excessive dietary potassium, injury-causing severe bleeding, and certain medications.
That’s why we would always encourage you to track your macros using an app such as MyFitnessPal, especially in the early days, until you are happy that you are getting off of your nutrients in the right balance.
How To Get More Potassium On Keto
You can include more potassium-rich foods in your keto diet by consuming keto-approved food items that are rich in potassium. Some options include clams, mushrooms, pumpkin seeds, leafy greens, fatty fish, brussel sprouts, and pork.
Keto-Friendly Foods Naturally High in Potassium
Finding keto-friendly food naturally high in potassium is not easy. But we have got you covered.
Potassium Rich Keto Foods List
For speed, we’ve rounded up a list of some of our favorite potassium rich keto foods for you.
- Swiss Chard
- Bamboo Shoots
- Beet greens
- Coconut water
As you will see, most of these keto friendly foods containing potassium are common ingredients that most people will be able to fit into a keto diet. Also, a lot of these are vegetarian and vegan friendly.
There you have it, you have everything you need to know about potassium on the keto diet. Read our article on vitamins and supplements on the keto diet for more on the topic.