Sodium intake on keto


Keto Electrolytes: Tips and Concerns

A diet that has gained a lot of popularity over the last several years has been the ketogenic diet. The ketogenic diet allows your body to use fat as its main fuel source instead of running on blood glucose and stored glycogen (which is created when you consume carbohydrates). By eliminating carbohydrates almost entirely from your diet, the body is redirected into a state with increased rates of lypolysis (fat breakdown), ketogenesis (making ketones) and gluconeogenesis (making new glucose). This means that fat is the main fuel source for most of the body’s needs, and newly synthesized ketones and glucose are prioritized for the brain.

As such, scores of people have seen dramatic changes in their health and well being, including weight-loss, as a result of adhering to a low-carb, high-fat diet.

However, despite the benefits, one potential side effect of a keto diet is that it may alter electrolyte balance within your body.

From a high level, a ketogenic diet’s benefits include (but are not limited to):

  • Satiation: keto dieters consume a high amount of fats and proteins. The combination of fat and protein allows one to stay fuller for longer
  • Energy: fat and ketones – breakdown molecules of fat – provide a steady and efficient source of energy
  • Fat burning: the body is forced to burn more fat in the absence of carbohydrates. As a result, fat is broken down into ketones (leading to a state of ketosis) which the body uses for energy.

There are also a few common considerations of the diet that need to be explored and considered before we jump into why electrolyte loss occurs and how you can nutritionally get them back.

Keto Considerations: Performance, Fat and Electrolytes

While there’s a long list of benefits of the keto diet, there are also usually questions to be asked. You can learn more about those questions here, in our article on debunking keto myths.

One of the main questions surrounding keto often circles around health and performance.

“Doesn’t everyone need carbohydrates as a fuel source to function and perform at optimal levels? What if I’m an athlete? Will my workouts suffer?”

The short answer? No. It’s not technically essential to consume carbs. Although there has long been a common perception that athletes must consume carbohydrates to perform at max efficiency, this narrative has been shown to not be true in all cases. Recent studies performed on low-carbohydrate diets among endurance athletes proved that over several weeks, athletes improved body composition and scored stronger in specific measures of performance.

That said, this is still a topic of debate and active research. Some studies have shown that keto either has no clear effect, or a negative effect on performance.1,2,3 If you’re doing a high-intensity workout, you’ll likely still need carbs as a fast-acting energy source.

Endurance athletes may particularly benefit from keto as they become fat-adapted.

This means their bodies have learned to tap into the “limitless” fat stores, lowering the chance of bonking that regular athletes experience when they’re carb-depleted.

What about eating all that fat? The ketogenic diet often gets a bad rap for being perceived as consisting strictly of fatty foods such as butter, bacon, and whole eggs. This is a common misconceptions, as several different food sources are / should also be included to create a perfect keto diet.

A list of some keto-friendly foods includes:

  • Of course—lots of high-quality fats, like fatty cuts of meat and fish, butter and coconut oil
  • Leafy greens for obtaining adequate micronutrients
  • Low-carb nuts such as pumpkin seeds and almonds
  • A variety of non-meat protein sources including legumes
  • Small amounts of low-carb fruit options such as berries

After performance and macronutrient composition, the next question often asked revolves around electrolytes. Regular people have probably heard of electrolytes in passing, and athletes training regularly use electrolyte hydration tablets to top up the losses from sweat. But what exactly are electrolytes and why are they important?

Electrolytes are minerals within your body that aid in cellular and organ function. They’re essential for a number of bodily functions and are necessary for survival.

The most important functions of electrolytes are to maintain hydration and acidity levels in the body as well as help maintain muscle and nerve function.

Some of the most common electrolytes (minerals) found in the body include:

  • Calcium
  • Chloride
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Sodium

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Why Do We Lose Electrolytes on Keto?

Each electrolyte must be kept within a healthy range in order for our bodies to perform at their best, but staying in range can become an issue when you start to follow a ketogenic diet.

Once you start drastically reducing carbohydrate intake, the body begins to process electrolytes differently. On keto, less insulin is released, causing the kidneys to excrete more sodium. As your body begins to lose sodium, this can also impact the balance of other key electrolytes in your body.

This electrolyte imbalance is often linked to symptoms of “keto flu.” As carb intake decreases, electrolytes are increasingly excreted from the body in urine. The keto flu symptoms can be triggered by imbalances of several electrolytes, but the normal culprits are sodium, potassium, and magnesium.

The keto flu isn’t characterized by the same symptoms as the traditional flu, and it’s not just electrolytes to blame. Lack of carbohydrates in people who are carb dependent can lead to even more nasty symptoms. Not to say this is akin to withdrawal from alcohol or drugs, but the body does experience similarities in terms of withdrawal from something to which it has become accustomed (carbohydrates in this case).

The physical and mental dependence on carbohydrates stems from the body habitually relying on glucose as its main energy and fuel source.

When taken away, the body essentially needs to learn how to process fat as a fuel source, and enter a state of ketosis.

Some of the most common keto flu symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Struggles during physical exertion
  • Arrhythmia
  • Diarrhea

Since insulin levels remain lower in a keto diet due to lack of carbohydrates, the kidneys may excrete critical electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and more. Therefore, it’s essential for people following the ketogenic diet to increase intake of these electrolytes through diet or other supplementation.

Mineral Supplements to Consider

First up—we should point out that you shouldn’t rely on supplementation as your main source of minerals and micronutrients when following the keto diet. Any type of supplementation on top of your diet should be a last resort; try and use an array of food choices before turning to supplements. Supplements were not created to replace other diet essentials but rather, bump intake up to normal levels if not possible otherwise.

Not all people will exhibit keto flu symptoms when going through the diet transition period. Some are able to switch to a keto diet with little-to-no side effects. However, for a number of people, removing carbs from your diet will have some effect on mineral balance in body, so you need to up your intake.

This is even truer for athletes. Athletes tend to excrete a higher level of electrolytes through sweat, leading to a further loss of electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium.4 Therefore, if you are an athlete choosing to follow a ketogenic diet, you may want to consider adding supplementation to minimize mineral deficiencies.

An electrolyte supplement may be the a key ingredient towards maximizing your keto workout. Here are a few to consider.

Most people tend to think of sodium as simple table salt. Truth is, sodium is far from simple; it has widespread functions and plays a vital role in overall health. It’s considered one of the most important electrolytes in the body.

The sodium ion is needed to help the body function properly by playing a role in the activation of muscle contraction machinery.

Most of the body’s sodium is found in the blood and in fluid around the cells. The body loses sodium through sweat and urination, which makes excessive sodium loss a particular risk for athletes. They sweat during exercise, and water and electrolyte intake is often insufficient to replace lost fluids.4

Supplementing sodium in your diet protects the function of a myriad of essential physiological processes, including:

  • Nerve function5
  • Regulation of blood volume and blood pressure6
  • Control of nerve impulses
  • Control of water retention

You many think you are getting enough sodium, but consider—have you experienced any of these symptoms? Sweaty endurance athletes especially need to watch out for these signs of falling sodium levels!

Common signs of sodium deficiency are:7,8

  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Brain fog
  • Irritability

Sodium intake should remain relatively constant over time as drastic fluctuations may lead to negative side effects.9 The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends consuming 2,300mg of sodium per day but an athletic individual following the keto lifestyle may need to increase sodium intake as a way of maintaining electrolyte balance in their low carb state.10

There are a number of ways to combat excessive sodium loss.

Try using more table salt or sodium chloride in everyday foods. Himalayan sea salt is one of the best-tasting, natural salt additives. During training or events, you can eat salty snacks or performance drinks that have a high sodium content.

For years, there was a stigma attached to sodium. People believed high sodium intake was correlated to heart disease or high blood pressure. However, more recent research has forced scientists to reopen the debate about the effects of sodium on health.11 In a epidemiological study of nearly 100,000 subjects, sodium was only found to increase mortality at very high doses, and in other similar studies, low sodium consumption was also associated with increased mortality risk.12,13

Potassium is the mineral we associate with cramps—you’ve probably been told by your mother to have a banana on hand as an anti-cramping superfood. Like sodium, potassium is a key electrolyte for normal function of our bodies, and it’s not just there to keep us cramp free.

Supplementing with potassium helps to protect many processes in the body, including:

  • Blood pressure control
  • Maintenance of body fluid
  • Cellular function
  • Decreased risk of hypertension

Many people don’t get the daily recommended amount of potassium in their diets. But just how much is needed?

The World Health Organization recommends ~3,500mg per day of potassium, but most individuals tend to have a daily intake of far less.

The result? Possibly some of these common side effects of potassium deficiency: hypertension, adverse cardiovascular effects, kidney damage or failure, heart palpitations and muscle cramps.14

Low-carb or ketogenic diets have the potential to cause a decrease in potassium. If you’re not getting enough potassium as part of your low-carb diet, there are a number of food options available to increase potassium intake:

  • Avocado
  • Spinach
  • Mushrooms
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Salmon
  • Artichokes
  • Almonds

These food sources do wonders for upping potassium intake as part of a balanced diet, but a lot of people do not have time to prepare vegetables with their busy schedules. If this is the case with you, potassium supplements may be a viable alternative.

Potassium chloride is one supplement option to help top up these important electrolytes. In a study performed on individuals who took potassium chloride as a potassium supplement, it was found that health problems were mitigated when taken regularly.15

Potassium can also significantly lower blood pressure.15 By taking it daily, you can help ensure that your organs (including the heart, muscles, kidneys, and nerves) are functioning at optimal levels.

If you’re extremely active, chances are your potassium needs may be greater than other subsets of the population.16 Potassium supplements are typically available as 99mg tablets. Taking potassium supplements may help your electrolyte balance stay within normal recommended levels, even when following a ketogenic diet.

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body. It has a number of functions within the body that make it important for maintaining proper electrolyte balance.17

Magnesium is responsible for some of the most important life processes:

  • DNA and RNA synthesis
  • Protein synthesis
  • Muscular contraction
  • Controlling blood pressure
  • Nerve transmission
  • Chronic disease including aiding in prevention of Alzheimer’s disease, Type-2 diabetes, Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and cardiovascular disease
  • Brain biochemistry

Do you have low levels of magnesium? You’re not alone.

Chances are spotting a deficiency may be a bit more challenging compared to other electrolytes, but still, large numbers of the population are deficient. Having an improper balance of magnesium may result in leg cramps, neuromuscular disorders, or cardiac disorders.18

Interestingly, magnesium deficiency has shown to have other effects on personality changes, including depression, anxiety, agitation, confusion and delirium.19

The majority of common household foods contain only small amounts of magnesium, but many of them are acceptable as part of the ketogenic diet. Options include:

  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Dark chocolate
  • Almonds
  • Avocado
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard
  • Artichokes
  • Pine nuts

Unfortunately, some of these items take time to prepare or tend to be expensive. The good news, though: if you are lacking magnesium as part of your diet, there are several supplements on the market that can bring you up to sufficient levels.

One popular choice is magnesium chloride. In recent studies, it has been suggested that magnesium supplements may even be able to help treat depression and improve the overall mood of individuals that take them. For most people, 400mg of magnesium daily will be optimal.19

Getting the Most From Your Keto Diet

Whether or not you choose to take mineral supplements is entirely up to you. Everyone may not need them; supplementation use is entirely individual.

But if you’re still experiencing symptoms of the keto flu, you might be more inclined to try supplements than your keto buddy.

While low electrolyte levels and low glucose lead to keto flu symptoms, there is hope (even without carb-binging). Sort out the fluid and electrolyte issues by focusing on your hydration, taking in enough electrolytes and fight the low-glucose slump by using exogenous ketones. Exogenous ketones have been shown to rapidly put you in a deep state of ketosis, while helping curb some of the pain of the keto flu while your body transitions into using fat as fuel.

Peak performance—whether at the office or on the field—is your goal. Never let you diet dictate those results, and make adjustments as necessary to perform your best no matter what.

Here’s how to pick the best ketone supplement for your needs

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Keto is a low-carb, high-fat diet that helps you burn fat rather than glucose for fuel. While the keto diet is a safe and healthy lifestyle with minimal side effects, there are bodily changes you should be aware of, including imbalances with keto electrolytes.

When you start a ketogenic diet, it changes the way your body handles electrolytes and water. You may experience thirst, dehydration, and other short-term side effects as a result.

While electrolyte imbalances can be quite common on keto (and easily treated), it’s important to understand why an imbalance occurs in the first place. This guide details what electrolytes are, why an electrolyte imbalance may happen on keto, and how to replenish your electrolyte levels through food and supplements.

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What Are Electrolytes?

Electrolytes are minerals in your blood (and other bodily fluids) that carry an electric charge. These nutrients allow your body to carry out essential functions like muscle contractions, heartbeat regulation, body temperature control, bladder control, energy production, and neurological functions. Common electrolytes include sodium, potassium, calcium, bicarbonate, magnesium, chloride, phosphorus.

You must have enough electrolytes in your body to function correctly. If one or more of these electrolytes are deficient, you may experience the following side effects:

  • Heart palpitations or racing heart
  • Feeling shaky, dizzy or weak like you’re going to pass out
  • Headaches, brain fog, or migraines
  • Weight loss (usually due to a loss in water weight)
  • Leg or other muscle cramps, such as getting Charley horses at night
  • Trouble with constipation and bloating

What Causes an Electrolyte Imbalance?

When you switch to a keto lifestyle and drastically decrease your carb and processed food intake, you will naturally reduce your sodium intake. Meanwhile, the levels of other electrolytes may decrease along with it.

How does this happen? Each gram of glycogen (stored glucose) in your body is stored with 3 grams of water. When you eat a low-carb diet, and thereby use up your glycogen stores, all that water that was storing it also gets flushed out.

When this happens, you can develop an electrolyte imbalance. And if you’re not making an effort to replenish these critical stores, you’ll likely feel symptoms such as a racing heartbeat, heart palpitations, feelings of being dizzy, shaky, or weak, leg cramping, constipation, and bloating.

The Relationship Between Electrolytes and Keto Flu

The above side effects are symptoms of the keto flu, which can occur during the initial period where your body is adjusting to the lack of carbohydrates and switching to running on fats (ketosis).

The keto flu really comes down to electrolyte imbalances. If you don’t understand these symptoms, you may conclude that keto isn’t right for you — but in reality, it’s just an adjustment period.

Electrolyte imbalances can happen to those who are new to the ketogenic diet — but thankfully, there are some simple ways to address these imbalances.

Dehydration on Keto

Water makes up more than 50% of your body and is probably the most important necessity in life. Although everyone should be mindful of their body’s water requirements and stay hydrated, if you’re eating a ketogenic diet (at least in the beginning phase) you may have higher water needs.

The low-carb nature of this diet leads to water loss. This can lead to at least mild dehydration, which can contribute to constipation and other keto flu symptoms.

4 Keto Electrolytes to Help Replenish Your Levels

You can replenish electrolytes through nutrition. There are four main vitamins and minerals that help rebalance your electrolytes to normal levels (and below, you’ll learn various keto-friendly food sources for each).

You can also use keto greens powder or the Perfect Keto Electrolytes supplement to maintain optimal electrolyte balance.

Note: If you lead an overly stressful life or exercise often, you may need more of these minerals. Stress can affect hormone balance, leading to further fluid and electrolyte imbalances, while strenuous exercise can deplete sodium levels to a greater degree.

#1: Sodium

Sodium is an important mineral and electrolyte that helps retain water in the body and keeps a proper balance of other electrolytes. Sodium is also vital for muscle and nerve function.

Keto dieters can replenish sodium by adding Himalayan sea salt to water and food, or by regularly drinking bone broth. You can also make a DIY electrolyte drink with just sugar-free coconut water and sea salt.

#2: Potassium

Potassium is a must for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels, regulating heart rate, and ensuring proper fluid balance in the body. Like sodium, you also need potassium for nerve and muscle function.

However, too much potassium is toxic so be careful with supplementation. Thankfully, there are great whole food sources out there that contain adequate amounts of potassium. These include salmon, nuts, avocados, leafy green veggies, and mushrooms.

#3: Calcium

Calcium is another essential electrolyte that plays many different roles in the body, including blood clotting, building strong bones, regulating nerve function, and ensuring proper muscle contraction.

You can get calcium from dairy foods, leafy greens, broccoli, fish, and even non-dairy unsweetened milks like almond and coconut milk. If supplementing with calcium, make sure it includes vitamin D to ensure adequate absorption.

#4: Magnesium

Magnesium helps your body maintain a healthy immune system, normal heart rhythm, proper nerve and muscle function, and many other biochemical reactions. Like calcium, you need it for building healthy and strong bones.

Leafy greens, dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds, Swiss chard, and nuts have magnesium. You can also consume a magnesium supplement like magnesium citrate (around 500 mg of magnesium per day is sufficient for most people).

Restore Electrolyte Levels by Staying Hydrated

Since excess water excretion can cause electrolyte imbalances and dehydration on keto, increasing your water and electrolyte intake is imperative when starting a keto diet.

The amount of water that you need to consume daily depends on your activity levels, the climate you live in, and your food intake.

Surely, you’ve been told to drink eight glasses of water per day. However, telling the global population to consume the same amount of water doesn’t account for height, weight, activity level, or physical location.

For example, a 200-pound man who exercises daily and lives in Phoenix, Arizona, should drink more water than a 120-pound female who exercises three times a week and lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

That said, you should not drink so much water than you flush out your electrolytes, which is counterintuitive.

Instead, listen to your body. Eat whole foods like green, leafy vegetables that are naturally high in water content, and drink water throughout the day.

Don’t Fall Victim to Keto Electrolyte Imbalances

When transitioning to a keto diet, you may experience an imbalance in electrolytes. Electrolytes are minerals, like magnesium, sodium, calcium, and potassium that carry out a wide range of important bodily functions.

To restore your electrolyte levels, you can consume electrolyte supplements, like those offered by Perfect Keto, or you can increase your consumption of certain foods.

Keto-friendly foods like nuts, seeds, and leafy greens are naturally high in electrolytes and can help bring your levels back to normal. At the same time, try to increase your water intake and use sea salt generously at mealtime.

With the right food choices and the right supplements, you can have electrolyte levels. Review this list of keto-friendly foods to get started.

If a solid nutritional plan is key to getting into ketosis, then a solid hydration plan is the key to enjoying the experience once you’re there.

Even mild dehydration impairs memory, reasoning, and cognitive function, causes unnecessary fatigue, and makes you feel generally lousy. On keto specifically, some research also suggests that ketogenic diets increase the risk of developing kidney stones in people who aren’t getting enough water. Not getting enough electrolytes can cause problems including muscle cramps/spasms, headaches, and constipation (this is especially true for lack of magnesium).

Eating keto changes the way your body process water and electrolytes (sodium, potassium, and magnesium). But luckily, once you know how it works, it’s pretty simple to adjust your diet accordingly. Here are 5 things you need to know:

1. You need more water on keto.

“8 glasses a day” is a typical guideline, but it makes more sense to observe your own body’s reaction than to blindly follow a number.

Dehydration is a known side effect of ketogenic diets, for a couple reasons. For example, on keto, you excrete more salt (more on this below). The more salt you lose, the less water you retain. At the beginning, many people also excrete a lot of excess ketone bodies, which is dehydrating. Basically, people eating keto need to drink more water to stay properly hydrated than people on other diets.

On the other hand, slavishly following specific numbers of ounces or liters can also cause over-hydration and electrolyte imbalances. The goal isn’t to have as much water in your body as you can physically fit in your stomach; it’s to have as much as you need.

A good rule of thumb is to drink until your urine is light yellow (although note that if you’re taking B vitamin supplements or a multivitamin with B vitamins in it, this isn’t a great guideline since high-dose B vitamins turn most people’s urine bright yellow regardless of hydration).

2. Electrolytes are just as important as water.

Electrolytes (e.g. sodium, potassium, and magnesium) are key to good hydration because they maintain fluid balance. One big reason why there’s such a thing as “too much water” is that it can dilute the electrolytes in your body: many sports drinks have electrolytes in them to avoid exactly this problem.

Most people are fine with eating more magnesium and potassium, but it’s just as important to get out of the idea that sodium/salt is bad. Being scared of salt or trying to restrict it only makes sense if your whole diet is one hyper-salted processed meal after another. Humans need salt to live, and not getting enough sodium can be everything from unpleasant to dangerous – think weakness, muscle cramping, and a general sense of fatigue and malaise.

On keto, you’re eliminating most of the ultra-salty processed foods that add so much sodium to the typical American diet. Keto dieters also excrete more salt than other people, because by definition, a ketogenic diet is one that maintains low levels of the hormone insulin. When insulin levels are low, your body flushes out more sodium.

All of this adds up to a simple fact: keto dieters need to be aware of their electrolyte levels, particularly salt, and many people benefit from deliberately trying to get more electrolytes. Some easy, low-carb ways to do this:

  • Bouillon or broth
  • Salt/electrolyte tablets – you can buy these from running stores in either flavored or unflavored varieties. Make sure to get ones that don’t have a bunch of sugar!
  • Lite salt – this has a higher potassium:sodium ratio than ordinary salt. You can just stir it into a glass of warm water or use it in cooking like regular salt
  • Salt on your food. Old-fashioned, but it works!

3. Mineral water is a great “supplemental food” for keto hydration.

Mineral water is pretty pricey, so it’s not an option for everyone. But if it’s in your budget, even occasionally, it can be a great supplemental source of magnesium (a crucial electrolyte, especially for preventing cramps) and calcium (a mineral that’s often lacking on keto, especially for people who don’t do dairy).

For example, studies have shown that mineral water rich in magnesium improves cardiovascular health. Mineral water also has enough highly bioavailable calcium to reduce bone loss.

Tap water and bottled water do also contain some minerals, although generally less than mineral water.. For example, this study found that about half of tap water supplies in the US provided 8-16% of the recommended daily intake of calcium and 8-31% for magnesium. With tap and bottled water, it’s really more the luck of living in the right place and the main problem is that you might just get unlucky and wind up with mineral-poor water by chance.

Just as a side note: reverse osmosis filtration strips out the minerals, so watch for that on bottles (unless it’s been remineralized by artificially adding the minerals back).

4. Starting keto or having cheat meals can cause massive water weight fluctuations – don’t panic.

In your first few days on keto, you’ll likely see a massive “whoosh” of water weight leaving your body. This is normal and it’s not dangerous at all. Unfortunately, you do stop losing weight at that pace pretty fast, but it’s nice while it lasts.

The explanation is simple: when your body stores carbs, the stored carbs also hang onto some water. In general, for every 1 gram of carbs you store, you’ll store 3-4 grams of water to go with it. Depending on the size of your body and the amount of glucose that you’re storing, this might add up to multiple pounds of water weight. When you stop eating carbs and burn through all the carbs you have stored, there’s no reason at all to hold on to the extra water, so expect a lot of bathroom trips and a sudden drop in your scale weight!

On keto, even if you’re being smart and careful to get enough salt, you’ll also probably be eating less salt than you would on a typical American diet. Salt causes water retention, so the sudden drop in dietary salt will make you lose even more water.

Of course, if you have one “cheat meal” and eat a bunch of pasta, you’ll gain all that water weight back, but don’t panic: you’ll just lose it all again as soon as you go back to keto. Learn more about water weight here

5. Tea, coffee, sparkling water, etc. are all hydrating

This still counts as hydration!

In general, research shows that drinking things other than plain water is just as good – even caffeinated drinks are equally hydrating, in reasonable amounts.

In this study, for people who were used to drinking coffee, coffee was just as hydrating as water. This study found the same for tea.

This study found no significant difference in hydration for regular water, tea (iced or hot), coffee, or sparkling water. (Juice and sports drinks also weren’t different, but you wouldn’t be drinking those on keto anyway).

Food can also provide a whole lot of water, especially really “juicy” vegetables like cucumbers (just think of how much smaller vegetables get when they’re dehydrated). Some research has found that vegetables significantly contribute to hydration status.

If you hate the taste of plain water, then sparkling water, tea, coffee (within reason), or other beverages can also help you get to full hydration. Just make sure you don’t rain on your own keto parade by putting a bunch of sugar in there.

Summing it Up

In short:

  • Drink lots of water – until your urine is light yellow.
  • Salt your food liberally, drink bouillon, and/or use potassium salt.
  • Mineral water is a nice luxury if you can swing it.
  • Coffee, tea, and other non-water drinks are just as helpful! (Provided of course that they’re not doctored up with a bunch of sugar and syrup)

These very simple steps can help you avoid a lot of unnecessary misery in the form of grogginess, headaches, brain fog, fatigue, and muscle soreness/cramping.

Top-3 Mineral Deficiencies On A Ketogenic Diet (And How To Fix It)

A common question I get asked after clients start a ketogenic diet is “why do I feel lousy?” Like them, you’re probably thinking going keto will provide an immediate mental and physical boost. For some, it will. For others, you may experience adverse symptoms, also known as the “keto flu”. When you start a very low-carb ketogenic diet, you’ll flush water and sodium out of your body in the first few weeks. As your sodium levels fall, so too will potassium levels. This can leave you feeling tired, sluggish, and wondering what you got yourself into. Fear not, it’s only temporary. Here are some suggestions for avoiding key mineral deficiencies when jumping into a ketogenic diet.

One of the biggest health and nutrition “myths” is that you should avoid salt. If you’re fit, healthy, and following a keto diet you’ll lose water and sodium in the first few weeks. For athletes, this problem can be compounded because you also lose sodium through your sweat, and as your sweat rate increases, your sodium and blood volume will decline. Not a good recipe for optimal energy and performance.

On the flip side, if you’re overweight, out of shape or in poor health then your body is likely already holding on to too much sodium from high consumption of packaged and processed foods (i.e. sodium is used as the primary preservative) or from chronically elevated insulin levels. Therefore, a low-carb or keto approach is great way to restore healthy levels.

Symptoms of low sodium include fatigue, headaches, compromised ability to perform (especially outdoors in the heat) and in more serious cases you may pass out. Remember that most of the sodium in your body is found in your bloodstream, so if your body gets deficient, you don’t have many reserves to tap into.

In the first few weeks on a keto diet, only about half of your weight loss is from body-fat. The other half is from water and sodium loss. Therefore, getting enough sodium is crucial.

Aim for an extra 1,000-2,000mg of sodium daily via:

Athletes should aim to take one gram 30 minutes before workouts to offset adverse effects of low sodium on performance.

When you lose sodium on a keto diet, the salt depletion causes a parallel loss of potassium. Common symptoms of a potassium deficiency – the medical term is hypokalemia – include weakness, muscular cramps, constipation, irritability or skin problems. In athletes, low potassium can compromise lean muscle mass which will ultimately impact performance, and in more severe cases, you may experience heart palpitations, irregular heartbeats, respiratory distress (and even heart failure with serious deficiency).

Virtually all fruits and veggies contain significant amounts of potassium, but not all are keto friendly. In fact, most people don’t realize that animal protein is terrific source of dietary potassium, however the cooking process strips a great deal of it away (but the leftover juices from cooking can be used to keep your levels up).

Here is a list of my potassium rich keto-friendly foods:

Do you ever suffer from muscle cramps? Lack of magnesium is likely the culprit. Magnesium is the body’s “calming” mineral; helping to keep your brain, heart and muscles relaxed. It’s also essential for protein synthesis, blood sugar control, energy metabolism and over 300 other biochemical reactions in the body. Intense exercise, lack of sleep, and stress can all deplete magnesium levels.

Animal protein is also a great source of magnesium – in particular shellfish like oysters and mussels – along with leafy greens. Veggies get their deep green colour from chlorophyll, and the core of the chlorophyll molecule is magnesium, so make sure to always eat your leafy greens at mealtime. The darker the leafy green, the more magnesium.

Include the following regularly:

The Bottom Line: If you’re starting up (or already following) a keto diet, it’s important to make sure you keep your electrolytes in balance; boost sodium levels by adding Sea salt to meals and a bone broth drink, and keep potassium and magnesium levels up via nuts and seeds, dark leafy greens, fish and shellfish.

If you follow this approach, you can significantly reduce – and even prevent – many of the adverse symptoms associated with starting up a ketogenic diet. Try these simple tips to help you thrive with your keto diet this year.

Dr. Marc Bubbs ND, CISSN, CSCS

Craving Salt

Carbs hold some water in your gut, and hypothetically your body might recognize it has some extra water if need be. Remove the carbs, and you might develop a craving for salt (or potassium or other stuff) to help hold on to a bit more water. Or, if you came from a standard American diet which has almost as much hidden salt as hidden sugar, you’d be getting a LOT less salt now.

Either way a teaspoon should be totally fine, I often have more and I’m pretty comfortable with it. Dave just talked (again) about salt water in the morning in the latest Q&A podcast, so you could check that out if you want to hear about his amounts.

But even if you want to go with the US government’s allocation, you’re fine:

The value of RDA/RDIs is disputed among nutritionists. Indeed, even the “definition of RDAs and their relevance to health” is disputed.

e.g., the daily maximum for some nutrients, like sodium are higher in the U.S. than in other parts of the developed world, and are far above established safe minimums. For instance, the National Research Council (in the USA) has found that 500 mg of sodium per day (approximately the amount in a quarter-teaspoon of table salt) is a safe minimum level. In the United Kingdom, the daily allowance for salt is 6g (approximately 2.5 teaspoons, about the upper limit in the U.S.), but this is still considered “too high”.

– Wikipedia article on RDAs

Can you have too much? Sure. But your body needs salt to function. Why are deer always getting hit by cars, despite being scared of noises and things that move? They’re drawn there to lick salt deposits left after winter plowing. There are DEEP caves that have been bored by animals licking salt over millennia in Africa.

And, most of the studies that show problems with sodium are looking at pure sodium-chloride, or table salt with weird anti-caking agents. Sea salt comes with a bunch of minerals, I stick with that and don’t worry about it.

I haven’t had the cravings, but when I started adding a pinch of sea salt to all my waters (Kelly Starrett’s hydration advice) I noticed I naturally increased my daily intake by nearly 25oz and peed less.

Dr Berg’s Healthy Keto and Intermittent Fasting Podcast

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Your report will then be sent via email analyzing 104 potential symptoms giving you a much deeper insight into your body issues. It’s free and very enlightening.

Dr. Berg talks about why people crave salt after eating a salad or vegetables. Vegetables are high in potassium and low in sodium. The ratio of potassium to sodium is 4.7 to 1. 4.7 potassium to 1 sodium. This means you need 4700 mg of potassium to 1000 mg of sodium. Always add sea salt and this usually comes out to 1 tsp IF you are doing a ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting. On the other hand, if you are doing higher amounts of carbs, you do not need so much sodium since glucose retains salt. Consume sea salt with your diet, add it to your salad, eat olives, cheese and salted nuts to get your correct balance. If you are on a ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting, the need for sea salt goes up since running your body on fat requires less water. Higher carb diets require much more water and less salt, since with water comes the retention of sodium.

Dr. Eric Berg DC Bio:

Dr. Berg, 51 years of age is a chiropractor who specializes in weight loss through nutritional & natural methods. His private practice is located in Alexandria, Virginia. His clients include senior officials in the U.S. government & the Justice Department, ambassadors, medical doctors, high-level executives of prominent corporations, scientists, engineers, professors, and other clients from all walks of life. He is the author of The 7 Principles of Fat Burning.






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Why is there so much confusion surrounding sodium when it comes to your health?

Is it because we’ve been taught that foods containing too much salt are unhealthy?

Or that you should avoid extra salt at all costs?

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If salt isn’t so healthy, do you really need sodium in your diet at all?

Chances are, if you’re reading this guide, you’re hoping to sort through the sodium confusion as well.

So that’s exactly why we did the research for you.

Today’s guide will answer questions regarding:

Before you swear off the salty stuff, there’s more to sodium’s side of the story than you may know.

The Truth About Sodium: Is It Really Essential?

When you hear the word sodium as it relates to food, it may conjure up negative associations with salty, high-fat foods and high blood pressure.

While salty foods and high blood pressure certainly have a connection, this should not be the take home message.

Sodium is an essential mineral our bodies need to function properly.

Without it, your body wouldn’t be able to regulate your nerves, muscles and blood pressure. That’s because:

  1. Sodium acts like an electrical current in your nerves and muscles and tells them to contract and communicate when needed.
  2. Sodium also binds to water to keep the liquid portion of your blood intact. This helps your blood easily pass through your blood vessels without them having to increase in size.

Not only that, your body would have a much harder time finding the right balance of fluids for your system to run optimally if it didn’t have enough sodium.

Speaking of that, when you don’t consume enough salt, you’ll put your body into a state of hyponatremia, which can lead to:

  • Muscle cramps
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Moodiness
  • Restlessness

And in severe cases, low sodium levels can lead to seizures or even coma, which can be fatal.

That’s why it’s so crucial, no matter what diet you’re on, to consume the right amount of salt for your body each and every day.

Pause: That doesn’t mean you have a free pass to gorge on all things salty.

The fact is, eating a diet rich in salty, processed foods, *cough cough* The Standard American Diet (SAD), is just as bad for you as not having enough, as you’ll see next.

Here’s Why Salt Gets a Bad Rep

Most of us know eating foods with too much sodium isn’t a good move for our health but it’s important to understand why that is.

With the rise in processed foods and convenient Frankenfoods came higher than average intakes of salt.

Here’s the bad news: Studies have shown it only takes an extra 5g of salt per day (or the equivalent of about 1 teaspoon) to increase your cardiovascular disease risk by 17% and your risk of stroke by 23%.

And that’s just the beginning.

Too much sodium can also contribute to:

  1. A significant decrease in calcium. With high blood pressure comes more excretion of essential minerals such as calcium and sodium.

When this happens, you’ll end up increasing your risk for urinary and kidney stones.

As your body tries to find calcium to meet its needs, it will do so by robbing your bones of this important mineral, leading to higher rates of osteoporosis.

  1. Increased risk of stomach cancers. A high salt intake can also upset the natural bacteria balance in your gut, causing inflammation and damage to important membranes protecting your stomach.

Studies also demonstrate high salt diets lead to increased risks of gastric cancer as a result.

Since these negative side effects happen when you eat too much salt, many people, especially newbie dieters, have a fear of sodium.

There’s no argument here: if you eat a high salt diet, you will increase your risks for these horrible conditions.

But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate salt from your diet altogether.

Doing so has just as many negative consequences (see the hyponatremia point in the first section if you need a refresher).

And if you’re following a keto diet, you may unknowingly put yourself into this state.

The Truth About Sodium and The Ketogenic Diet

As you saw in this guide on the keto flu, electrolyte imbalance is a common issue many new keto dieters face as they make the transition from a carb heavy, glucose-reliant diet to a fat heavy, ketone fueled one.

This happens for a few reasons.

First, you’re cutting out all the processed junk foods you used to eat.

Many of these contain far too much salt for the average person, which means when you cut them out, your body experiences a drastic drop in its sodium levels.

Your body also purges this important mineral thanks to decreasing levels of insulin, which naturally happens anytime you reduce your carb intake.

With less insulin circulating your body, your kidneys start to release excess water, instead of retaining it. When they perform this maneuver, sodium and other important minerals and electrolytes get flushed out with it.

This imbalance can throw off your entire system, leading to issues such as:

  • The keto flu
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Mood swings
  • Dizziness
  • Low blood pressure

Because of this, keto dieters must pay attention to their sodium intake — and especially when making the initial keto transition.

Let’s talk about how to do this the right way.

Sodium Intake on a Keto Diet

If you start noticing any of the signs or symptoms of lacking sodium levels, you’re more than encouraged to bump up your salt intake.

Now, I’m not suggesting you load up on salty foods, rather, start noticing how much sodium you’re currently getting (by tracking your food intake) and supplement as needed.

Try weaving in an extra 1-2 tsp of salt throughout your day. We’ll talk about the best salt options on a keto diet next.

Many beginners try adding salt to their water at first. This can lead to devastating consequences if you consume too much and drink it on an empty stomach, however.

While you’ll give your a colon a cleansing salt water flush, everything will pass through you, decreasing your electrolytes even further and increasing your dehydration levels.

So this brings us to an important question: How much salt should you get each day, especially on keto?

Around 3,000-5,000mg is usually a good amount to aim for, depending on how active you are.

If you’re sweating pretty intensely during your workouts, 3,000mg might be too low for you while a sedentary office worker may be just right at that mark.

Start experimenting and tracking your intake and physical feelings to discover the perfect amount to fuel your body’s needs.

You may also want to try supplementing for sodium with a tasty homemade bone broth.

Other options include:

  • Sea vegetables like kelp, nori and dulse
  • Vegetables like cucumber and celery
  • Salted nuts and seeds
  • An exogenous ketone base (more on this later)

It also matters which types of salt you’re letting in your body.

Choose the Right Salt for Added Health Benefits

On the surface, all salt probably looks the same — it’s usually white and crystallized like sugar.

Yet when you go to the supermarket to pick up this underrated mineral, prepare to face a wall of options.

Which one should you choose?

Are there any salts specifically better for keto?

While plain ol’ table salt can get the job done, there are three healthier options which deliver more important minerals than simply sodium.

Here are our top three:

#1: Sea Salt

Sea salt is just that — evaporated sea water. As the ocean water leaves, the salt becomes the only thing that’s left.

As for its texture, you may find sea salt crystals to be slightly larger than iodized table salt and it usually packs a bigger flavor burst too.

While you can grind sea salt down and even find sea salt flakes, you still won’t have to use as much to get your desired taste because it has so much saltiness.

And, depending on where your sea salt is harvested, you may also score the following minerals too:

  • Potassium (especially in Celtic sea salt)
  • Magnesium
  • Sulfur
  • Phosphorus
  • Boron
  • Zinc
  • Manganese
  • Iron
  • Copper

The only downside to this briny option is the fact that our oceans are becoming more polluted each day, which unfortunately can be absorbed in the salt.

If this is a concern for you, consider using this next option instead.

#2: Himalayan Pink Salt

This one is my personal fave and for good reason.

Not only is it bursting with a tastier, saltier flavor, it also comes loaded with minerals like:

  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium

It’s these minerals that actually give Himalayan salt its characteristic light pink hue.

Plus, since this salt is mined in the Himalayas usually near Pakistan, you’re not dealing with the environmental pollutants found in our oceans like sea salt.

You’ll also notice this type of salt is usually sold in grinders or in bulk at the supermarket. This minimal processing keeps the salt close to its original crystallized form.

Grind down or use these big chunks and they’ll deliver salty flavor perfect for seasoning meats, roasted veggies, eggs and more.

In addition to sea salt and Himalayan pink salt, you’ll want to incorporate — but not solely rely on — our final salt when your goal is ketosis.

#3: Lite Salt

Lite salt is a mixture of 50% sodium (or table salt) and 50% potassium (from potassium chloride).

While lite salt is typically recommended for people who need to watch their sodium levels (i.e., those with high blood pressure) it’s a secret weapon for those on keto to add both sodium and potassium — two vital electrolytes and minerals you need — in one shot.

Aside from noshing on potassium-rich foods, it’s the next best option when you’re in a pinch.

Just watch out for no-salt substitutes and salt-free replacers; though they’re sold next to the lite salt, these contain zero sodium and are usually all potassium.

We’ve already established you can’t go without sodium so don’t make this mistake.

Bonus: There’s also one more healthy way to sneak extra sodium in your keto diet.

Supplement with an Exogenous Ketone Base

Before you start oversalting all your foods, there’s another, more efficient way to add 31% more sodium to your diet: by supplementing with an exogenous ketone base.

Exogenous ketones are a powdered form of beta hydroxybutyrate, or BHB, a key molecule that helps your body produce energy once your glucose stores are depleted, like when you reach ketosis.

Not only will a base like this one help your body raise its ketone levels, it also delivers:

  • 684mg of sodium (or 31% of your total recommended intake)
  • 593mg of calcium
  • 323mg of magnesium

And that’s just 1 scoop — which is far more than you’d be able to shake out of your Himalayan salt grinder and consume in one sitting.

For a guilt-free snack to help you hit your sodium needs for the day and uses the ketone base I just mentioned, try these decadent Chocolate Sea Salt Peanut Butter Bites and thank me later:

Ketone bases are a lifesaver for anyone transitioning to a keto diet.

While it may take a few days for your body to start producing enough of its own endogenous ketones, you can kickstart the process and increase your ketone levels simply by supplementing with an exogenous source (or those from outside the body).

And for anyone who may have jumped out of ketosis due to a holiday or carb-filled cheat day, you can supplement with an exogenous ketone base to help your body get back on track ASAP.

The Truth About Sodium: Don’t Fear It On a Keto Diet

With a better understanding of sodium, you should be able to pinpoint the right amount you need to keep your body happy.

Striking the perfect balance helps your body run optimally without increasing your risks for conditions like cardiovascular disease and hypertension.

To figure out how much sodium you’re currently getting, start logging your food for at least 4-6 weeks before making any adjustments.

An exogenous ketone base like this one can help you avoid the nightmare that is the keto flu and make it a piece of low-carb birthday cake to reach your sodium levels for the day.

Calcium is another important mineral you’ll need to get enough of on a keto diet. To learn more about why it’s so essential, check out this guide.

What’s the deal with salt?

Most of us will have been told not to eat too much salt, but does this apply on a Low-Carb diet and to people who are active? As your body adapts to a low carb diet, the kidneys fundamentally change how they handle sodium. Reducing carbs causes your kidneys to secrete sodium aggressively along with water. In order to maintain your circulation in good order to handle heat stress form hot weather, endurance activity or any activity that increases your body temp you need to increase your salt intake.

When dropping your carbs to less than 60 grams per day you will need to increase your sodium intake to 2-3 grams per day, (unless you are on diuretic medication for blood pressure then seek medical advice first) when active 1 gram of sodium should be taken within the an hour before training. Failing to increase salt intake can have negative effects on how you feel, often referred to as low-carb flu, headaches, lack of energy or muscle cramps. In most cases this is due to the sodium reduction in the diet and is quickly addressed with increased intake. How much Sodium is in salt? Around 40% of salt is sodium, so you need to use roughly twice as much salt in grams to achieve your sodium intake goal. 1 tsp salt (6g) will give you around 2.5g sodium.

“Salt is what makes things taste bad when it isn’t in them.” – Unknown

So add salt to your meals and even into your water each day to keep your electrolyte balance in check, and your performance top class.

Excerpt from Authority Nutrition:

–Too Little Sodium Can Cause Downright Harm

The health authorities do have an excellent track record of getting things wrong. They’ve given us a lot of bad advice in the past, such as telling us to cut back on saturated fat and eat 50-60% of calories as carbohydrates. It looks like the advice on sodium is bad advice too. Not only is it probably useless for the majority of people, these guidelines may even cause downright harm.

Multiple studies show that salt restriction causes adverse effects on health:

Increased LDL and Triglycerides: In a massive review, low sodium diets were found to cause an increase in LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) by 4.6% and an increase in triglycerides by 5.9% .

Insulin resistance: In one study, just 7 days on a low sodium diet increased insulin resistance, a leading cause of obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome..

Type II Diabetes: A study found that in patients with type II diabetes, less sodium was associated with an increased risk of death..

Hyponatremia: In athletes, a low sodium intake can cause hyponatremia, a sodium deficiency which can be very dangerous.

8 Common Keto Mistakes That Beginners Make, and How to Avoid Them

Because of the lack of research on keto, it can be tough to know what results — weight loss or otherwise — you might see from following the high-fat, very-low-carb diet.

But one thing’s for sure: The keto diet is super-restrictive, so it can be tough to get it “right.”

For instance, on this diet you’ll have to nix starchy veggies, limit fruits, and avoid grains, sauces, juice, and sweets. And, per the standard keto food list, you’ll need to load up on fats (lots of it). Doing so will kick you into ketosis, which is the metabolic state that triggers your body to burn fat instead of carbs, potentially accelerating your weight loss.

Nonetheless, because carbs are in just about everything and fats come in various forms (not all healthy), it can be easy to make mistakes here, especially if you’re a beginner to the keto lifestyle.

Avoid the following common pitfalls of keto to help ensure you’re following this approach as safely as possible:

RELATED: 8 Steps Beginners Need to Take Before Trying the Keto Diet

1. Cutting Your Carbs and Increasing Your Fat Too Much Too Quickly

One day you’re eating cereal, sandwiches, and pasta, and the next you decide to hop on keto and eat only 20 grams (g) of carbohydrates a day, which is often the recommended amount to start with. (A medium apple has 25 g of carbs, for reference.) That may be a drastic change for your body. Consider easing in. “Prior to starting a keto diet, individuals may benefit from tapering down their carbohydrate intake, instead of reducing carbs cold turkey,” says Lara Clevenger, a ketogenic dietitian-nutritionist with a private practice in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.

2. Not Drinking Enough Water on Keto

For all the focus on what you’re eating, don’t forget about what you’re sipping. Dehydration is an increased possibility on keto. “The drastic decrease in carbohydrate intake on the ketogenic diet can cause shifts in your fluid and electrolyte balance. Carbs are stored along with water in the body, so as these stores are depleted, that water is lost along with them,” says Alyssa Tucci, RDN, nutrition manager at Virtual Health Partners in New York City. She also says that the body flushes out the buildup of ketones in urine, which also depletes water and sodium from the body. All that to say: Drink up. Tucci recommends waking up to a large glass of water and sipping regularly throughout the day to reach a goal of consuming half of your body weight in ounces of water daily.

RELATED: 8 of the Best Drinks for People on the Keto Diet

3. Not Preparing Yourself for the Keto Flu

As your body transitions from a carbohydrate burner to a fat burner, you may experience what’s known as the “keto flu,” or flu-like symptoms (including muscle cramps, nausea, aches, and fatigue) during the first two weeks of the keto diet. (It doesn’t happen to everyone, FYI.) If you’re not prepared for this feeling, you may think something is drastically wrong and give up the diet completely. More than that, you can help yourself through the transition period of low energy by planning out your meals or meal prepping, says Clevenger. She also recommends eating foods rich in potassium, magnesium, and sodium, as well as hydrating to help ease keto flu symptoms.

4. Forgetting to Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

While fat reigns supreme on the diet, don’t just turn to bacon, cheese, and cream. When choosing your fats, aim to include more anti-inflammatory omega-3s, particularly EPA and DHA, the type that are found in salmon, sardines, oysters, herring, and mussels, says Clevenger. (If seafood isn’t your thing, you can also take cod liver oil or krill oil.) Other healthy fats are a good choice, too; if you haven’t stocked up on avocado, olive oil, and seeds such as chia seeds and flaxseed, definitely do. They’re not only keto friendly — they also offer healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat that your body needs to perform at its best.

RELATED: The 10 Best and Worst Fats to Eat on the Keto Diet

5. Not Salting Your Food Enough

With people consuming more sodium than ever in a diet rich in processed food, you’re probably not used to hearing the call to eat more salt. But on keto, it’s necessary. Not only does the clearance of ketones cause the body to lose sodium, but you may be getting much less table salt (which is comprised of 40 percent sodium and 60 percent chloride) now that you’ve kicked out the top source of salt in the standard American diet: packaged, processed foods, including bread, chips, crackers, and cookies. “Chances are if you’re following a ketogenic diet you will need to prepare most, if not all, of your own meals and snacks from scratch, so simply season with salt,” says Tucci.

6. Going It Alone and Not Clearing the Diet With Your Doc

Many followers of the keto diet try it because they’re hoping to use it therapeutically for a medical condition. If that’s you, talk to your doctor first and make sure they’re on board with your plan — especially if you’re also taking medication, says Clevenger. “Some medications may need to be adjusted by your healthcare practitioner as your signs and symptoms improve,” she says. Just one example is insulin, as a lower dose may be needed now that you’re severely limiting carbohydrates.

RELATED: 11 Health Conditions Keto May Be Able to Help — and 6 It Definitely Won’t

7. Not Paying Attention to Your Veggie Intake

Vegetables have carbohydrates. And that means that you have to watch how much you eat — even lettuce. If you’re not careful or are eating them as a free-for-all, you could overconsume carbs, and thus get kicked out of ketosis. On the other hand, you may be skipping veggies altogether if counting every baby carrot is getting too complicated. But it’s important to get in vegetables (these contain fiber that prevent constipation, a potential side effect of keto) while minding portions and properly counting carbs. Go for nonstarchy options in a rainbow of colors for a variety of nutrients, says Tucci, like leafy greens, cucumber, tomato, broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, and asparagus.

8. Getting Caught Up in Carb-Counting and Forgetting That Food Quality Matters

When it seems as if the sole goal of keto is to drastically cut carbs, the rest can feel like an afterthought. “Reducing your carbohydrate intake is great, but focusing on higher-quality products when budget allows will help improve your health, too,” says Clevenger. That means choosing omega 3–rich foods, like wild salmon, grass-fed, local, or organic meats, and snacking on whole foods rather than processed keto-approved treats. It also means trying to follow a balanced diet as best you can by incorporating as many nutrient-rich fruits and veggies as you can. Many registered dietitians aren’t a fan of keto because it may lead to nutrient deficiencies. You can help avoid these by working with an RD yourself as you follow keto. Find one at

RELATED: What Are the Health Risks and Benefits of the Keto Diet?

Sodium on Keto: Benefits, Importance, and How Much Do You Need?

Like most people, you’ve probably heard the news:

Too much sodium is bad.

Excess sodium in the diet can be a factor in the development of heart disease, tax the kidneys, and also lead to fluid retention, among other things.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends the consumption of no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium daily .

If that is the case, then why do you need more sodium on a keto diet?

Is reducing salt always the best advice?

In today’s guide, we’re going to paint an accurate picture of sodium in terms of the ketogenic diet. Before you try going keto, read this so you can understand:

  • The functions of sodium in your body
  • Health conditions that benefit from a low-sodium intake
  • The relationship between keto and sodium
  • Ways to replenish sodium on keto

Let’s dive right in.

What’s the Definition of Sodium?

Sodium is an electrolyte. We consume sodium in its dietary form, primarily from sodium chloride. People refer to sodium chloride as “table salt.”

It’s no secret that salt acts as a flavor enhancer for most of our foods, which is why its prevalent in prepared foods, soups, and dressings, to name a few.

Take note that the average blood sodium level is between 135 and 145 mEq/L .

What Is the Role of Sodium in the Human Body?

As an essential electrolyte, sodium supports many essential body functions. Without it, your body would be out of balance, causing major health consequences, even death.

Here are the different roles of sodium:

1. Regulates your blood pressure

Sodium and other minerals like potassium, calcium, and magnesium help to regulate blood pressure. Sodium attracts water, so remember, “Where sodium goes, water follows.”

Because water follows sodium, too much salt can raise the volume of water in the blood. The increased volume in your circulation puts pressure on the walls of arteries. As a result, blood pressure rises .

Meanwhile, lowering sodium can decrease blood pressure.

You might also be wondering:

Why is it that some people can overeat salt without seeing an increase in their blood pressure?

A 2015 study suggests that some people are more sensitive to salt than others . Salt-sensitive individuals who eat more salt experience an increase in blood pressure.

In another study, it was found out that people with a variation in their GNAI2 gene are likely to be salt-sensitive. However, this topic needs more research .

2. Maintains muscle and nerve function

Your body needs sodium to help your nerve cells maintain communication. The electrical signals sent by your nerve cells enable your muscles to contract . Muscular contraction maintains posture and joint stability, and also allows your body to produce heat .

This explains why low sodium serum levels lead to consequences such as :

  • Muscle weakness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Convulsions
  • Coma

3. Helps with fetal development

Some pregnant women experience hyperemesis gravidarum, which is an extreme form of morning sickness resulting in nausea and vomiting .

Severe vomiting puts a person at risk for electrolyte imbalances through the loss of bodily fluids, including sodium, due to dehydration .

A study suggested that the loss of salt from vomiting could cause low birth weight. Not just that, mothers who take less salt may affect their babies’ blood sodium concentrations, and these babies are more likely to be underweight at birth .

4. Prevents insulin resistance

This might surprise you:

Salt restriction intake increases your risk of insulin resistance. But how so?

Sodium restriction activates your renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system or RAAS .

In case you don’t know, the RAAS is a crucial physiologic system that regulates your blood pressure. It also regulates your body’s fluid and electrolyte balance .

Studies suggest that activating the RAAS could predispose a person to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes .

Bottom line?

Sodium is important for our body’s functioning.

When Can Sodium Be an Issue?

You already know how sodium helps with normal body functions, but that doesn’t mean that everyone can eat as much salt as they want.

There are specific medical conditions that require a lower sodium intake. If you have the following health issues below, your doctor may recommend a low-sodium diet.

1. Kidney disease

People with kidney problems cannot remove excess sodium and fluids from their bodies, causing excess sodium and fluid to accumulate within the tissues.

As a result, some areas of the body swell, such as hands, feet, ankles, and abdomen. This swelling is also called “edema” .

2. Heart failure

When your heart is weak, it cannot efficiently pump enough blood throughout your body, and blood circulation becomes sluggish .

The kidneys sense this reduced flow and compensate for the lack of blood volume by retaining sodium and fluid instead. This is why people with heart disease often have edema .

Limiting one’s sodium intake helps manage heart failure by reducing fluid buildup around the heart, which helps the heart to not work so hard.

3. Hypertension (high blood pressure)

Hypertensive patients can benefit by reducing salt in their diet, which reduces blood volume and therefore helps keep blood pressure under control.

Why Is Sodium Important on a Keto Diet?

Do you need more sodium when going keto?

Hint: At the start of your keto diet, your body loses more water. It also flushes out more sodium along with water.

Unless you have a health issue that needs medical supervision, you’re encouraged to increase your salt intake.

Fact: Sodium intake on keto is crucial.

When you reduce your dietary carbs on a keto diet, your body starts losing electrolytes too.

Here’s why it happens:

Cutting back on carbohydrate-rich foods lowers your blood glucose levels, as well as decreases the amount of the hormone insulin. Your body senses the low blood sugar and responds by releasing glycogen, a form of stored sugar from your liver .

Next, glycogen gets converted back into glucose and enters your bloodstream.

The interesting part:

In your liver and muscle cells, glycogen binds to water molecules; each gram of glycogen is associated with at least 3 grams of water .

So, as your glycogen stores diminish through a low-carb diet, your body excretes more water, which can cause more urination and fluid loss.

In addition, insulin is associated with sodium retention; therefore, lower insulin levels equals less sodium retention .

In fact, many people starting on keto will lose a lot of water weight initially.

Sounds exciting, right?

But here’s the thing: You’ll also be losing electrolytes through your urine, one of which is sodium.

Another way that your sodium levels decrease is this:

A well-formulated keto diet cuts out a lot of processed foods . Processed or commercially-prepared foods have high sodium content .

What happens when your sodium levels are disrupted?

You experience a variety of unpleasant symptoms. Some people refer to these symptoms as the keto flu, and they are so nasty that they become a reason why people quit keto.

Benefits of sodium on a keto diet

Many people who follow a keto diet often neglect their sodium intake. The reason? They’ve focused on the stigma that more sodium is bad – which isn’t always the case, as you now likely have realized.

Here are the ways sodium helps you in your keto journey:

1. Helps prevent muscle cramps.

One of the common effects of low sodium is muscle cramps, which are when muscles tighten and contract. Muscle cramps are painful and can last up to several minutes.

Muscle cramps often occur during exercise, as the body is also losing fluid during a workout.

2. Keeps potassium in balance.

On a low-sodium diet, the kidneys tend to eliminate potassium as well .

Like sodium, potassium performs many essential functions, such as helping to control your blood pressure, aiding in muscle contractions and helping to regulate fluid balance.

3. Fights low energy or fatigue.

People who are new to keto will agree with this: they often feel tired and fatigued during the first week of keto.

Being fatigued on keto decreases your physical performance, and also negatively impacts your ability to focus.

While fatigue can be caused by insomnia, another common keto flu symptom, it can also be caused by sodium deficiency.

4. Relieves headaches.

Throbbing headaches make it hard for you to adjust to a keto diet. Headaches can be caused by dehydration and low sodium levels .

You need to start worrying about your headaches if they get worse despite electrolyte supplementation, which prompts urgent medical attention .

Electrolytes and Sodium Imbalance on the Ketogenic Diet?

A diet that is low in carbohydrates, such as a keto diet, leads to electrolyte loss.

Burning through your glycogen stores leads to increased water loss. Again, glycogen is bound to water molecules. Your kidneys excrete excess water. Sodium goes with water. You lose sodium together with other electrolytes.

How Much Sodium Do You Need on a Keto Diet?

How do you avoid annoying keto flu symptoms and the consequences of low sodium? Easy – bump up your salt consumption.

Now, we ask the most awaited question:

How much sodium per day on keto do you need?

A well-formulated keto diet requires a daily sodium intake of 3,000 to 5,000 mg , or about 1-2 teaspoons of table salt.

Of course, the exact amount you should take depends on various factors.

For instance, your physical activity level affects your sodium intake.

Are you an athlete, training and competing for hours a day? Do you sweat profusely? Is your exercise intense? If you answer yes, 3,000 mg of sodium could be too low for your activity.

Studies also show that higher rates of sweating increases an athlete’s likelihood to experience cramps .

Wondering how you can increase your keto salt intake? Check out these helpful tips:

1. Salt to your taste.

We recommend adding salt in your meal preparation. A total of 1-2 teaspoons of salt per day will meet your increased sodium needs, which are around 3,000-5,000 mg. Note that many foods already contain some sodium, so you may not need 1-2 teaspoons of salt on top of your normal sodium intake.

Instead of regular table salt, feel free to use Himalayan pink salt and sea salt, which tend to contain more minerals and electrolytes such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, manganese and zinc .

2. Drink bone broth.

Have you considered bone broth?

Bone broth is a soup that you make by boiling the bones, tendons, and ligaments of an animal. This healthy soup provides various micronutrients that can help prevent electrolyte imbalances on keto.

Bone broth is also a source of sodium; 100 grams (100 ml) of bone broth made from beef bones, chicken liver, and spices contain 116 mg of sodium.

What about other minerals? 100 ml of bone broth also provides :

  • 1 mg calcium
  • 3 mg iron
  • 1 mg magnesium
  • 156 mg potassium
  • 3 mg zinc

3. Snack on something salty.

There are tons of snack foods to enjoy that help you avoid or minimize keto flu symptoms. Try one or more of these salty keto snacks:

4. Go for a sugar-free electrolyte drink.

A significant concern when it comes to sports drinks is that they tend to contain a lot of sugar.

Instead, consider making your own low-sugar electrolyte drink at home. You could mix the following:

  • Lemon or lime juice
  • Your tea of choice
  • Powdered stevia
  • Pink Himalayan salt (¼ teaspoon = 575 mg sodium)

5. Take ketone salts.

Taking an exogenous ketone supplement can help boost your ketone levels, which encourages your body entering into ketosis.

If you take a ketone salt, a ketone body bound to minerals such as salt, you’ll be able to increase your sodium intake as well.

6. Take ½ teaspoon of salt before a workout.

We can overlook sodium replacement when it comes to working in hot environments. Studies show that a person can sweat as much as 10-12 liters per day, and sweat contains sodium .

Here’s a useful tip to mitigate sodium loss:

Take ½ teaspoon of salt 30 minutes before you exercise. If you’re going to do an intense workout in a hot environment, take an additional ½ teaspoon of salt each hour .


A ketogenic diet affects electrolyte levels. This happens as you reduce carbs and your body utilizes its stored glycogen which is a large part water. This explains why you lose water when you deplete glycogen stores on a low-carb diet.

Sodium is an essential electrolyte. It controls your blood pressure, preserves muscle and nerve function, maintains body fluid volume, and more.

Low sodium levels cause those unpleasant symptoms at the start of your keto diet. Cramps, headaches, fatigue – you name it. To prevent or mitigate them, be sure to bump up your sodium intake.

If you have a medical condition, consult a physician before you start keto. Certain conditions require a low sodium intake.

We hope you learned from today’s guide!


  • On keto, you need to consume around 3,000 to 5,000 mg of sodium, which is equal to about 1-2 teaspoons of salt.
  • The more active you are, the higher your salt intake should be. This is especially true if you work or exercise intensely in a warm environment.
  • There are many ways to take more sodium. Options include but are not limited to taking bone broth, salty snacks, ketone salts, and
  • sugar-free electrolyte drinks.

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The ketogenic diet is known for balancing your blood sugar and busting cravings and midday energy slumps.

Still, it’s nice to have the option of a few healthy snacks that fall into the low-carb, keto category for busy days when you have to skip lunch or after a tough workout.

Take the quiz below to find your keto snack match!

The answer to your sweet tooth. 17g of fat, 3g of net carbs, incredibly delicious.

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The Ready-to-Eat Healthy Keto Snack List

Meal prepping is one of the best ways to set yourself up for success — but we all know life gets busy.

Here’s a comprehensive list of the best keto snacks you can purchase already made.

Remember — these aren’t meals, and over-snacking can lead to stalls in weight loss.

#1 Beef Jerky

Make sure the brand you choose is no- or very low-carb with very few added ingredients. Be wary of anything with added sugars, as that will kick up the carb content. Bonus points for grass-fed and pastured meat, which has a higher nutrient density and is better for the environment. These Chomp sticks are delicious and nutritious.

#2 String Cheese

Make sure it’s the full-fat version without added carbs or other fillers.

#3 Nuts or Nut Butters and Seeds

Remember some nuts are fairly high in carbs (like peanuts, cashews, and pistachios). Stay away from any nut butters that have added polyunsaturated oils or “vegetable oils.”

Choose nuts higher in fat, such as almonds, pecans, or macadamia nuts, and seeds high in omega-3s like flaxseed and chia.

Perfect Keto Nut Butter is a great keto snack. Its high-fat, zero-sugar added blend is perfect for a spoonful on its own or added to a low-carb smoothie.

If you’re interested in how nuts can affect you on a ketogenic diet, check out our Full Guide to Nuts on the Ketogenic Diet.

#4 Stevia Sweetened Dark Chocolate

If your dark chocolate is not sweetened with stevia or monk fruit, make sure it’s at least 80% cocoa content or higher. Otherwise, the carbs can add up quickly. Here’s a low-carb friendly chocolate.

#5 Seaweed Snacks

Check for added ingredients that contribute extra carbs. Also make sure there aren’t added flavors or massive amounts of toxic oils. Seaweed snacks are perfect as a crunchy snack or added to soups and salads. Here is a recommended brand for seaweed snacks.

#6 Laughing Cow Cheese Wheels

Choose the full-fat versions. Try to get real cheese if you can, but these wheels will work in a pinch when you need convenience.

#7 Cacao Nibs

Not to be confused with chocolate chips, cacao nibs are more like eating the cacao bean right off the tree. In fact, they’re just that ⁠– crush cacao beans, which offer all of the flavor and fewer carbs than chocolate chips. With about 1 carb per 1 teaspoon, you might want to replace chocolate with these rich, satisfying snacks.Here are Terrasoul cacao nibs we like.

#8 Avocados

Avocados are a great choice because they’re a whole food and very easy to eat “as is.” Just add a little salt and pepper and you’re golden. Maybe even add a little olive oil and sea salt in that perfect hole in the middle.

#9 Sardines

Not only do sardines provide a healthy dose of fat and other nutrients, they’re also zero carb. Sardines are highly recommended by keto gurus Dom D’Agostino and Tim Ferriss. Wild Planet is the brand they recommend.

#10 Pork Rinds

Use as a crunchy no-carb alternative to crackers or chips. Keep in mind that many pork rinds are low-quality and fried with nasty oils, but not these Pork Clouds!

#11 Pepperoni Slices

Since pepperoni is highly processed, limit your intake and try to find organic and hormone-free versions when possible. That said, a few slices taste great paired with a high-fat cheese and dill pickle slices (make sure they’re sugar-free).

#12 Keto Coffee

You don’t have to give up coffee on keto, but you should drink your coffee black (with no added sugars) or only with full-fat cream or MCT oil powder. Try these unflavored, chocolate, and vanilla MCT oil powders. For true Keto Coffee, try this recipe.

#13 Kale Chips

When buying kale chips, make sure they have no added sugars. Or, you can make them yourself using coconut oil, lard, or ghee. Rhythm is a great brand.

#14 Perfect Keto Bars

You no longer have to worry about which protein bars will kick you out of ketosis. These keto bars are doctor-tested and approved to keep your blood sugar steady and keep you full for hours. Plus, they come in four delicious flavors so you’ll never get bored.

#15 Other Low-Carb Bars

If you’re out of Perfect Keto Bars, make sure to choose bars that are high in protein and healthy fats with 3 grams of net carbs or fewer, and free from added sugars, sugar alcohols, chemicals, gluten, dairy, soy, or corn.

#16 Sugar-Free Jello or Popsicles

Everyone wants to splurge every now and then. If you find yourself craving a sweet treat like Jello or Popsicles, look for brands with no added sugar and fewer additives like food coloring. This Jello isn’t too bad. Limit these for special occasions, as most of them contain sucralose and provide no added health benefit.

#17 Macadamia Nuts

One of the most keto-friendly nuts, macadamia nuts are packed with good fats and essential nutrients. But be careful as they can be super easy to overeat. Find raw macadamia nuts here in easy-to-travel mini packs.

#18 Cherry Tomatoes

Don’t overdo cherry tomatoes as the carbs can pile up. However, a handful makes a great grab-and-go snack. You can also mix them with shaved parmesan and basil for a tasty salad.

#19 Olives

Olives make a great snack right out of the olive bar (if you can find one). Just make sure they haven’t been mixed in any oils other than olive oil.

#20 MCT Oil Powder

Mix MCT oil powder in any drink — hot or cold — and you have a keto-friendly beverage (if there are no carbs to start). It works in coffee, tea, iced tea, and pre-workout drinks by adding some MCT fats to your day.

Homemade Healthy Keto Snack List

As we said, homemade keto snacks are the best choice. Opt for homemade over anything packaged as much as possible. The following keto snacks take a bit of effort, but they will take your keto game to the next level. These ideas are also great if you have a little extra time to prep or are looking for keto snacks to make for an event or party.

#1 Veggie Sticks

Slice your favorite keto-friendly veggies (zucchini and yellow squash are both excellent options) and store in the fridge so they’re easy to grab and go. You can dip these in homemade guacamole or eat with full-fat cheeses.

#2 Bacon

Cook some bacon ahead of time to have for snacks on the go. If you can, opt for organic or pasture-raised pork, and always shoot for nitrate-free, uncured bacon.

#3 Grass-Fed Beef

Meat is a satisfying and delicious snack that will help you nail your protein and fat macros. Make some patties or homemade meatballs for easy-to-grab snacks that will fill you up fast. Don’t worry about eating “too much” meat — it won’t kick you out ketosis.

#4 Fat Bombs

Fat bombs are like candy … only more satisfying and way better for you. Try Macadamia Nut Fat Bombs, Peaches & Cream Fat Bombs, Mocha Fat Bombs, or Anti-Inflammatory MCT Fat Bombs. Store in the freezer right after making, then keep them in a travel cooler until ready to eat.

#5 Cheese Dips or Fondues

It’s easy to go overboard with cheese, but there’s nothing better than a good keto cheese dip or fondue. Enjoy with keto-friendly veggies or crackers.

#6 Pizza or Taco Rolls

Use baked full-fat cheese as the “wrap” and fill with pizza or taco meat and spices, like these breakfast tacos.

#7 Keto Chips

There are plenty of ways to make keto chip substitutes, from radishes to kale to cheese. Make your own keto chips from cheddar cheese. Bake in a dish until crispy, then cut into chip-sized triangles. Or, try these.

#8 Low-Carb Finger Food Sandwiches

Sandwiches aren’t totally forbidden on a keto diet. Just use something grain-free as the “bread” — think cheese, lettuce, spinach, or hormone-free deli meat. Or, you can try one of these keto-friendly bread recipes.

#9 Cold-Cut Meats and Cheese

Simply roll healthy lunch meat around a full-fat cheese. This works well for a quick snack or party appetizer.

#10 Deviled or Hard-Boiled Eggs

Packed with protein and nutrients, eggs are nature’s ready-made snack. Cut them in half and sprinkle salt and everything bagel seasoning or whip up a batch of your favorite deviled eggs.

#11 Cauliflower Crust Pizza Bites or Calzones

If you haven’t tried a cauliflower crust yet, it’s time. Prep these ahead of time and keep them in the fridge for emergencies.

#12 Flaxseed Crackers

Make a batch of these super filling crackers to eat with cheese, cream cheese, or just grab a few for the road. Packed with nutrient-dense seeds and spices, you’ll fulfill all your cravings without the carbs of normal crackers.

#13 Keto Fries

You can make fries out of any low-carb veggies. Try whipping up these Celeriac Everything Keto Fries and reheat when you’re feeling like a quick, salty snack.

#14 Superfood Meatballs

Everyone loves a good meatball. Luckily, these are always quick to prepare and save for a healthy, meaty snack on the go.

#15 Bacon-Wrapped Anything

This is a popular idea for parties. You can wrap bacon around mozzarella sticks, jalapeno poppers, veggies, or beef. Try bacon-wrapped asparagus with this Keto Power Breakfast recipe.

#16 Lettuce Wraps

Wrap your favorite meat and low-carb spices in some lettuce leaves like in these Curry Chicken Lettuce Wraps.

#17 Keto Paté

Make a quick spreadable paste with meat and cream cheese to put on veggies or keto-friendly crackers. For a fancy-looking party dish, try this Smoked Salmon Paté with Cucumber.

#18 Buffalo Bites

Easy to make and keep in the fridge, these buffalo bites are the perfect option for a quick and delicious keto-friendly snack.

#19 Bone Broth

Sip on anti-inflammatory bone broth when you want something low-calorie and comforting. Add fresh herbs, salt, and pepper for extra nutrients and flavor.

#20 Berry “Ice Cream”

Berries are some of the only fruits on your keto “yes” list. They’re lower in sugar than most other fruits and are packed with beneficial antioxidants. For a simple “ice cream,” blend your favorite frozen berries with coconut cream or heavy cream to form a healthy keto-friendly ice cream in just minutes.

#21 Cauliflower Ice Cream

Who knew ice cream could be good for you? Grab a scoop of this Superfood Nice Cream for a quick dose of fats and nutrients to keep you going throughout the day. And with zero added sugar, you won’t have to worry about a crash.

#22 Homemade Popsicles

When you feel like something cool and refreshing, you can’t go wrong with these Mint Chip Popsicles with Micro Greens. Bonus: You’ll get micronutrients and fat to keep you going.

#23 Keto Frappuccino

A filling frappuccino with all the healthy fat and none of the sugar? Yes, please. Check out this recipe for a quick and easy drink you’ll love first thing in the morning or after a hard workout.

#24 Keto Smoothie

Yes, smoothies can be keto. You just have to replace all the high-carb fruit with healthy fats. Try these keto smoothie options for a filling snack that will truly fuel your day: Acai Almond Butter Smoothie. Micronutrient Greens Matcha Smoothie, or Chocolate Sea Salt Smoothie.

#25 Chocolate Mousse

Mix heavy cream with some cocoa powder and a little vanilla for an easy keto mousse. Add some low-carb sweetener, like monk fruit or stevia, if needed. Here’s an easy nutrient-dense version: Perfect Keto Chocolate Mousse.

#26 Keto Cookies

Yes, you can have cookies when doing keto. For a sweet treat, try these chewy chocolate chip cookies or tasty lemon cashew cookies.

Not All Keto Snacks Are Created Healthy

“Low-carb” doesn’t always mean keto-approved.

Many low-carb snacks (like Atkins products, and even some paleo products) will quickly kick you out of ketosis if you aren’t careful. This is because many of these so-called “healthy low-carb” snacks are loaded with unnecessary ingredients that could spike your blood sugar.

Remember, the ketogenic diet is a very low-carb diet. Here’s a reminder of the macronutrient distribution:

Try to stick to whole food-based snacks as much as possible — preferably homemade. That said, this guide provides a lot of quick and easy ideas for those times when cooking at home is not possible.

And remember, food is supposed to go bad.

Preservatives and fake ingredients have not been in the human diet until the last hundred years or so and we are not well equipped to handle them. The body’s response is usually to create inflammation in response to food-like ingredients that it deems as “foreign.”

The best ways to choose healthy foods?

  • Stick to foods that have less than 5 ingredients.
  • Stick to the outside circle of the grocery store.

Make Sure Your Keto Snacks Are High in Good Fats

The best way to stay full and keep your energy high on a ketogenic diet is to make sure you’re getting enough of the right fats.

When you cut carbs, you have to replace them with something, which is why fat is your friend. And snacks like fat bombs, meat, cheese, and olives are great choices to help you feel full for hours and get fill your fat quota for the day.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Snacking on Keto

There are a few do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when snacking on the keto diet.


  • Get caught off guard! Use this snack list so you don’t find yourself unprepared and accidentally order a bagel.
  • Think that eating pre-packaged pork rinds or protein bars with fake ingredients is high-quality keto — these types of foods are OK for emergency situations and splurges, but not for everyday eating.


  • Take the time to prep high-quality snacks for yourself and reap the rewards.
  • Stick to your macros.
  • #TestDontGuess. Not sure if a snack is keto-approved? Test your ketone levels and answer this for yourself.

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