There’s a super simple fix that people can often use to feel 100x better, and that’s by incorporating a bit of lite salt into their keto diet. People often make the mistake, usually unknowingly, of taking in too few electrolytes when transitioning to a ketogenic diet. Taking in too few electrolytes may lead to negative side effects such as the keto flu, something I wouldn’t wish upon my worst of enemies, but this is where lite salt comes in and why you should use it on a keto diet.
Many transitioning to a keto diet may suffer from an electrolyte imbalance due to its diuretic nature. Incorporating condiments, such as lite salt, a mix of sodium and potassium, or adding more salt combined with potassium-rich foods will help balance water and electrolytes and improve well-being.
In this article, I’ll go over why the need for electrolytes are increased when following a ketogenic diet, how to get enough sodium, and also how to get in enough potassium while on keto.
What Is Lite Salt And Why You Should Consider It On Keto
If you’re not familiar with lite salt, you may wonder what it is and what it has to do with a ketogenic diet.
Lite salt is a “lighter” version of salt, but what makes it great for those on a ketogenic diet is that it’s a blend of both regular salt and potassium chloride, two important minerals you need to be mindful of, especially on keto.
When following a ketogenic diet, you may have noticed a sudden drop in weight in the first couple of weeks, and a big part of that was because of body water loss.
A ketogenic diet, by nature, is very low in carbohydrates. And by nature, carbohydrates help your body store water, hence carbo ‘hydrate.’ In fact, for every gram of carbohydrate stored in your body, an additional three grams of water is stored with it.
You can see now why reducing carbohydrates may lead to a sudden loss of water.Fewer carbohydrates equals less water stored in the body. As you burn your stored carbohydrates, the water has to be released somewhere, and usually that means frequent trips to the bathroom.
While dropping a bit of water is not a problem your body is also flushing out vital electrolytes, and this is usually where the problems occur.
Unless you’re mindful of your sodium and potassium, and drinking adequate amounts of water, you may find yourself in a world of hurt.
How Do You Replenish Electrolytes On Keto
Sodium and potassium are arguably the most important electrolytes for maintaining fluid balance, after all… that’s their job.
Water must be kept in the proper amounts in and out of your cells, 1 and this usually occurs through a process known as osmosis.
If you remember from high school biology, both sodium and potassium are responsible to help maintain osmotic equilibrium and membrane potential in cells (aka the sodium-potassium pump). 2 Have a deficiency and things may not work as efficiently as they should be, hence why it’s important we ensure enough electrolytes are consumed either through foods and/or supplements.
How to get enough sodium on keto
Getting enough sodium is much easier than getting in enough potassium.
Many people make the mistake of not getting in enough sodium because of the switch in food choices when following a ketogenic diet.
Most store-bought packaged and processed foods make up a large portion of many peoples sodium needs, 3 but those food sources are often exchanged for whole foods like meat and vegetables when on keto.
Assuming you’re not doing lazy keto that is.
You could still very well be eating keto friendly processed meats like spam or vienna sausages, which contain a lot of sodium.
In one study, as much as 71% of total sodium intake came from food outside the home and only 10% came from salt added during cooking and salt added at the dinner table. 4
Since you’re now getting in less sodium because of removing these processed foods I highly suggest adding sodium back in manually. So how do we solve this need for sodium? Easily.
To ensure you’re getting in enough sodium salt your foods liberally and to taste. Yes, I am saying to SALT your foods.Unless you’re someone who responds poorly to salt, there is no need to limit your intake. Your body is fully capable of regulating the sodium you give it.
For a better understanding of salt and the negative implications of having too little salt, I’d recommend a great book called The Salt Fix.
How to get enough potassium on keto
Potassium is a little trickier to get enough of, that’s why I say getting in enough sodium is much easier.
All you have to do to get enough sodium is salt your foods, but what about potassium?
That’s where lite salt comes in.
Adding lite salt to your keto diet is a simple way for you to get in additional potassium if you’re unable (or not wanting) to increase your intake of keto-friendly potassium-rich sources.
Keto-friendly sources of potassium include:
- Unsweetened yogurt (Greek yogurt)
- Leafy greens like spinach
- Nuts like almonds or macadamia
- Tomatoes or a keto-friendly marinara sauce like Rao’s
Lite salt has 350mg of potassium in a 1/4 tsp (1.4g) serving, which makes it easy to add to your diet adding no calories.
For comparison, an entire avocado has about 975mg of potassium. 5 and an entire 10 oz package (which is a lot) of spinach contains 1585mg of potassium. 6
The recommended daily intake (RDI) for potassium is between 3,500mg and 4,700mg per day with nearly 98% of US adults not meeting this daily recommendation. 7 8
That means you would need to eat at least two avocados and a generous bag of spinach each day just to meet these recommendations, which sets you back close to 600 calories already.
While you can choose less calorically dense sources like spinach or mushrooms, the sheer quantity you would have to eat wouldn’t be workable for most individuals.
Is Lite Salt Dangerous
Lite salt is not inherently dangerous, but too much of anything is never a good thing.
If you do incorporate lite salt into your diet, just remember low and slow. Meaning, use a bit (~1/4 tsp) and slowly incorporate more to assess tolerance, and preferably spaced out over the course of the day.
You don’t want to throw back a teaspoon of lite salt in your glass of water or on your food immediately.
What I do is salt my foods with a high quality salt like Redmond Real Salt, then I will usually sprinkle a little lite salt on afterward, and this usually does the trick to prevent things like sluggishness, lethargy, and cramping.
Create Your Own Keto Electrolyte Drink
An easy way to get in enough electrolytes is to make your own electrolyte drink. Many people in the keto community like to call this “ketorade,” which is as you guessed, a higher electrolyte and keto-friendly version of gatorade.
Flavor and change the ratios as you see fit, but here’s what I use:
- 32 oz of water
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp lite salt
- 1/2 tsp pink Himalayan Salt
- A bit of stevia or favorite sugar-free sweetener
- 1 lemon squeezed
- A bit of ginger juice
I’ll usually make this and either use it as my workout drink or casually sip some throughout the day with my meals.
If you don’t want to make your own, there are plenty of great electrolyte mixes on the market, one of which is Keto Vitals electrolyte powder. Also, if you’re blessed to have a Costco membership, you can usually find zip fizz, which has 950mg of potassium per serving.
Lite salt is a great way to get additional potassium while following a ketogenic diet.
Many individuals end up with an electrolyte imbalance because of the diuretic nature of keto combined with a complete overhaul of food choices.
While it’s always recommended to get in your minerals from foods, using a lite salt or electrolyte supplement can make getting in the required amount more convenient.