The Importance of Drinking Water on Keto
Everyone knows that staying hydrated is important no matter what diet you follow.
But during your low-carb journey, water intake is more important than ever.
In this Keto Beginners Series, we’ll dive into the importance of ample water intake on keto and why you need more water on a low carb diet.
You Need to Drink More Water on Keto
Dehydration is one of the most common side effects of the ketogenic diet. Many people overlook how much more water you should be drinking when your on a low carb diet.
Here’s why: Carbohydrates are responsible for holding water and sodium in your body. When you restrict carbs, they are excreted, which means you retain less water. This means people eating keto need to drink more water compared to other diets.
Side Effects of Dehydration
If you aren’t carefully monitoring your water intake, mild dehydration can lead to headaches, fatigue, dry mouth, and flu-like symptoms.
Chronic dehydration can deter you from getting the results you’re after on the ketogenic diet and lead to long-term health problems.
Electrolytes are Crucial
Sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium are essential electrolytes that are key for proper hydration.
On keto, you’re eliminating various salty processed carbohydrates, so it’s crucial that you increase your sodium intake more than if you were following a diet that consisted of carbs.
Since keto helps maintain low levels of insulin, your body flushes out more sodium than any other diet. Make sure to replenish these essential electrolytes, especially sodium, to get the most out of the low carb, high fat lifestyle.
Keto-Adaptation Will Cause Water Weight Fluctuations
During the first week of keto, you’ll experience a drastic water weight fluctuation. This is completely normal and should not be a cause for concern.
When your body stores carbs, it holds onto water. For every 1 gram of carbs you store, you’ll store an average of 4 grams of water. Once these carbs are removed from your diet, water will come along with it, so it’s important to maintain proper fluid levels during this period.
Why You Should Drink More Water on Keto
Your body goes through major metabolic transitions as you become a fat burner. Here’s why adequate fluid levels are crucial on the ketogenic diet.
1. Replaces lost water
As mentioned previously, your body stores water when carbohydrates are present. When carbs are eliminated, water is also flushed out.
2. Curbs cravings and regulates appetite
Often, when you experience hunger pangs or sugar cravings on keto, it’s most likely because you’re dehydrated. Make it a habit to reach for a glass of water instead of a sugary treat when these cravings arise.
3. Less stress on your kidneys
Ketones are acidic and some of these ketone bodies are flushed out instead of used for fuel to ensure they don’t accumulate in the body. Drinking more water supports the kidneys’ role of filtering out any unnecessary toxins that may be lingering.
4. Water helps fat metabolize faster
The process of beta oxidation (where fats are broken down) requires water molecules. Burning fat costs more water during the process compared to carbs which means more water consumption will help your body break fats down more effectively.
How Much Water Should You Drink on Keto?
The Institute of Medicine recommends consuming between 91 and 125 fluid ounces of water per day as an adult.
This amount will vary depending on the individual and lifestyle factors such as age, diet, weight, and activity level. For example, if you exercise frequently and work in hot weather, you’ll need to drink more water than someone who works a desk job and lives a sedentary lifestyle.
As a ketogenic dieter, you’ll need to drink even more water because of the fluid excretion that occurs as a result of low carb eating.
A good rule of thumb is to drink when you’re thirsty but don’t overdo it. If your urine is a very light yellow or clear, then you are drinking the correct amount. If your urine is a darker yellow, consider drinking more water throughout the day.
Tips to Drink More Water
If staying hydrated is a struggle for you during your ketogenic journey, here are a few of our favorite tips to ensure you maintain proper fluid levels.
- Drink a water bottle immediately upon waking up. Your body is most dehydrated after a full night’s rest. Drinking a couple glasses of water right as you wake up is a great way to start your day hydrated.
- Flavor your water. If you can’t stand flavorless water, consider getting a zero-calorie flavoring to add to your water. Avoid anything that contains sugar or calories.
- Keep a water bottle next to you. It’s much easier to drink water if it’s always within reach.
Stay Hydrated to Get the Most Out of Keto
Since carbohydrates are responsible for retaining water in the body, it’s crucial that you drink more water after following the ketogenic diet.
If you are showing signs of fatigue, dizziness, flu-like symptoms, and your urine is a darker yellow, there’s a good chance you’re dehydrated.
Make sure to prioritize adequate water intake to get the most out of the low carb, high fat ketogenic lifestyle!
How Much Water Should I Drink While on a Keto Diet?
We all know that water is an important part of any diet. But while hydration is key to health for all of us, it’s even more important when you’re consuming less carbs. An increasing number of people are discovering the ketogenic diet — in brief, it’s a high fat, low carb diet with strong scientific credentials.
Researchers have found in numerous different studies that the keto diet can aid weight loss and overall health improvement, and this diet is also used to combat some diseases and chronic health conditions — including diabetes, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease and some forms of cancer.
But it is a relatively extreme diet, primarily because it requires you to consume very few carbohydrates. One of the side effects of a low carb diet is dehydration.
Why Does the Keto Diet Increase the Chance of Dehydration?
Carbohydrates play a number of important roles in the body’s functioning. Crucially, carbs hold water and sodium within the body. On the keto diet you excrete more salt through your salt, rather than holding onto it within the glycogen stored in your muscles by carbohydrate intake.
So when you eat fewer carbs, you retain less salt and less water.
As well as being careful to drink enough water, it’s important to be aware of the fact that a keto diet involves both less salt consumption (you’re cutting out salty carbs and most processed foods) and more salt excretion. So you also need to include plenty of salt in your diet through sources.
This can be a challenge, especially as many of us have an ingrained understanding that salt is bad. But getting enough sodium (salt) in your system is incredibly important. We need salt to stay alive, and low sodium can cause muscle weakness, cramping, and extreme fatigue.
Add salt to your cooking, and if you think you’re running really low, you can buy salt or electrolyte tablets from your local pharmacy. Making a simple Bouillon stock broth is a great way to up your sodium too, and it hydrates you at the same time!
What Happens if You Get Dehydrated?
Dehydration can range from very mild to very severe. There are several symptoms that are typical of early or mild dehydration, and it’s useful to be aware of these so that you can catch it early:
- Dry mouth
- Dark colored urine
- Feeling tired or groggy
- Faster heartbeat
- Feeling dizzy
- Dry skin
- Slower mental performance
Symptoms of more severe dehydration are more urgent, and include:
- Not feeling the need to urinate at all
- Severe headache
- Rapid breathing and rapid heartbeat
- Sunken eyes
The Benefits of Being Hydrated on the Ketogenic Diet
In contrast, the benefits of drinking enough water while you’re following the keto diet generally involve feeling great!
Being well hydrated improves your concentration and mood, and gives you a feeling of overall energy and vitality. Your body feels stronger and more capable, and your muscles work optimally.
Water plays a central role in weight loss, boosting your metabolism and preventing you from mistaking feelings of thirst for being hungry. So if you’re using the keto diet to lose weight, staying hydrating will give you the best possible chance of achieving your goals.
Due to a reduction in fibre from carbohydrates, many people experience constipation when they start the ketogenic diet. Fluid intake is vital to prevent or combat constipation, as it helps to move waste through your digestive tract more easily.
So overall, staying hydrated will support you on your keto journey. It will help you to feel well and adjust to the changes in the food you’re consuming, and it will help you to get the most out of your diet. In addition, it’ll help you stick with it for longer — because you’ll avoid the feelings of tiredness, hunger, and discomfort that are sometimes associated with dehydration on the keto diet.
How Much Water Should You Drink?
There’s actually no hard and fast rule about how much water you should drink on the ketogenic diet — or in general, for that matter. Health experts often recommend drinking eight 8-ounce glasses every day, but as of yet, there is no reliable scientific reasoning for this recommendation.
The United States National Library of Medicine suggests that the average adult should drink between 91-125 fluid ounces (that’s 2.7 to 3.7 liters) of water each day. But others argue that we all need more than this — and we may need even more on low carb diets.
In reality, each one of us is different. Our bodies consume energy at different rates depending on both internal and external factors — from our unique constitution and metabolic makeup, to how much exercise we’re doing, to the temperature of the air around us and the pollutants we’re breathing in.
So (unfortunately for those of us who like numbers and volumes to work from!), it’s important to pay attention to the signals your body is giving you in order to determine whether you’re drinking enough water.
Your body provides signs that you need to have a sip — or chug — or water. If you’re regularly experiencing any of the dehydration signs listed above, then you probably need to drink more. When you feel thirsty, respond.
A simple rule of thumb is to aim for very light colored urine all the time. For most of us, that means having water on hand to take regular sips so that we can avoid going for hours without any water. Drinking little and often, rather than large amounts only a couple of times a day, also helps to prevent drinking too much water.
We recommend carrying your DLYN Bottle with you wherever you go for constant access to delicious alkaline water. Water high in minerals and anti-oxidants, which are added instantly to your water when you fill up your DLYN Bottle, is particularly helpful for those on a ketogenic diet. It’s common to be low in magnesium and calcium when you’re consuming a high fat, low carb meal plan — so you can support your health with more nutrient-rich water.