Potassium is one of the 7 essential macromineral and electrolytes needed for the maintenance of the body. The deficiency of potassium or hypokalemia causes fluid imbalance in the body.
Hypokalemia or low potassium level occurs in the body due to excessive urination, medications, severe sweating, vomiting, overuse of laxatives, kidney disease, and genetic disorders.
Among these reasons excessive urination, and severe sweating are directly associated with the keto diet. That’s why potassium deficiency or hypokalemia on keto is a common problem faced by several keto diet lovers.
However, this issue can be addressed easily by following some steps. So, let’s check why potassium deficiency occurs on the keto diet and how to get rid of it.
Why Potassium Deficiency Occurs on Keto?
The Keto diet is a low-carb and high-fat diet, which replaces glucose with ketones as the main energy source. When the human body does not have enough glucose to burn it starts to burn fats which create ketones.
Because of excess ketone production during keto diets, excess ketones start to release through urination and sweating. Which speeds up the achievement of ketosis symptoms like
- Dark oily yellow ketosis urine color
- Meaty smelling urine
- Bad breath
- Ketosis urine smell like asparagus or tuna(rare cases)
- Keto bloating and constipation
- Diarrhea on keto(some rare cases)
Due to this excess ketone excretion through urine and sweat, our body loses potassium which is the major cause of potassium deficiency on keto.
Furthermore, the keto diet has a diuretic effect which causes water loss on keto. This is another cause of potassium losing (1).
Also, the keto diet restricts some high potassium fruits like bananas, dates, and raisins because of their high carb components. This is indirectly related to potassium deficiency.
Furthermore, diarrhea is also another reason behind the low potassium density. However, major diarrhea causes are not related to keto.
Some other causes of potassium deficiency which does not directly relate to the keto diet are:
- Alcohol abuse or surplus alcohol consumption
- Kidney diseases
- Too much use of natural laxatives for constipation cure
What Are The Symptoms of Potassium Deficiency?
People often get constipated on keto due to potassium deficiency or hypokalemia. It’s because constipation and fatigue are the two most common symptoms of potassium deficiency.
Also, some more symptoms are commonly observed with potassium deficiency. These are (2):
- Significant muscle weakness
- Nausea, vomiting, and abdominal distension
- Muscle cramps
- Resultant myoglobinuria(for severe cases)
- Cardiac problems(for critical problems)
How To Cure Potassium Deficiency on Keto?
Potassium deficiency on keto normally occurs on the first week of keto. However, adding more potassium rich keto foods to your meal plan can deal with this problem.
Some well-known keto foods that are high in potassium are:
- Romaine lettuce
- Hemp seeds
- Chia seeds
- Nut butter like almond butter and peanut butter
Furthermore, potassium loss on keto occurs due to frequent urination and body water loss. This issue can be solved by consuming more water.
However, excess water intake may be able to get rid of ketones which may break your ketosis. So, you should drink only adequate water to stay on ketosis and deal with low potassium.
Furthermore, you should follow the below-mentioned steps to maintain the body potassium percentage on keto:
- Avoiding alcohol
- Use clean plate and water to reduce the risk of watery diarrhea
- If you are diabetic consume more potassium-rich keto fruits for diabetics
People go for the keto diet to achieve a disease-free life. However, several people around the globe are affected by potassium deficiency during a ketogenic diet. Due to this potassium deficiency, several disorders like constipation, fatigue, muscle cramps may occur.
Although the low potassium density aka hypokalemia can be cured by following some rules in the ketogenic diet. As keto water loss through urination and sweating are the major contributor to potassium deficiency, these can be tackled by drinking more water on keto.