What Exactly Is Hydration?
The "process of delivering enough fluids to biological tissues" is defined as hydration.
The key word here is adequate. There shouldn't be too much liquid. There shouldn't be too little liquid. We'll come back to this topic later. Because water is necessary for life, we feed liquid to our biological tissues. H2O is essential for everything from blood flow to skin health to toxin removal. You may be aware that our bodies are roughly 60% water weight.
Fluid balance refers to the balance of water in your body, and the fluids you drink are simply one input into that system. Sodium, chloride, and potassium—electrolytes that regulate fluid levels inside and outside of cells—are the other major inputs.
Your body is an outstanding fluid balancing machine, even if you don't get the inputs quite right. A host of hormones, including insulin, aldosterone, renin, angiotensin, and antidiuretic hormone (ADH), work in tandem with your kidneys to keep fluid levels in check. An illustration will be provided.
Let's imagine you've had a long hike and are dehydrated. Osmoreceptors in your brain detect a reduction in blood volume below the threshold of conscious awareness and signal the hypothalamus to secrete ADH. Your kidneys are then told to halt losing liquids through urine by ADH. Your thirst mechanism is triggered by the hypothalamus at the same time. Then you become thirsty and drink something to restore fluid balance. This is how hydration works on any diet, but let's look at how it works on Keto.
How Does Keto Make You Drink More Water?
A Keto diet necessitates an extremely low carbohydrate intake. And when you keep your carb consumption low, the hormone insulin, which controls your blood sugar, stays low as well. When insulin levels are low, your liver is prompted to begin burning fat and producing ketones. That's how you get into ketosis, a special fat-burning condition.
However, low insulin has other consequences. Low insulin promotes water, salt, and potassium loss through urine, in addition to enhancing fat burning
In other words, a Keto diet increases the demand for both hydration and electrolytes.
What about the water weight you lose during the Keto diet's early stages? Doesn't that make you thirsty?
This is a common source of misunderstanding. Let's get this straightened out.
The depletion of glycogen—or stored glucose—from muscle and liver cells is the primary cause of early water loss on Keto. As the body switches to fat as a fuel source, this glucose is required for energy. Because glycogen is mainly water, depleting it results in a flood of H2O.But here's the thing: there's a catch. Because you adjust to decreased glycogen levels on Keto, you won't need to refill this water.
Glycogen release has an overhydrating effect, causing an excessive amount of water to be released into circulation. That is why your body excretes it. That's how clever it is.
Preventing Dehydration on Keto A lot of Keto advice revolves around avoiding dehydration, which is defined as a loss of water from the body. The argument is that consuming more water will reduce dehydration symptoms such as cramps, lethargy, and headaches, which are commonly referred to as Keto flu.
This type of hydration advice dates back to the 1940s. The National Academy of Sciences' Food and Nutrition Board suggested that individuals drink 84 ounces of water per day at that time. This advice has subsequently evolved into the 8x8 rule, which states that we should drink eight ounces of water eight times a day, regardless of thirst.
The 8x8 rule is generally acknowledged, but is there any scientific evidence that it improves health? According to a thorough review published in the American Journal of Physiology, there isn't. This isn't to say that we shouldn't consume fluids when on Keto. However, going beyond thirst can have unfavorable consequences.
What Are the Consequences of Drinking Too Much Water?
Overhydrating with normal water dilutes blood sodium levels, raising the risk of hyponatremia (low sodium).The literature on endurance athletes confirms this.
After the race, a significant number of them develop hyponatremia (overhydration) and have symptoms like confusion, lethargy, headaches, and cramping. Hyponatremia can cause brain damage, seizures, and death in severe cases.
To be clear, a Keto diet is unlikely to cause severe hyponatremia. Minor occurrences of low sodium that manifest as Keto flu symptoms, on the other hand, are likely to be common.
Why do Keto dieters have a deficiency in sodium and other electrolytes? The following are some of the contributing factors:
- The excessive use of plain water.
- Sodium and potassium excretion in the urine has increased.
Intake of sodium or potassium is insufficient. (A clean Keto diet eliminates potassium-rich foods like fruit and potatoes and has little sodium—it must be supplied through salt.)
So, how do you stay hydrated on the Keto diet?
How to Stay Hydrated While on a Keto Diet?
Following two essential rules when it comes to Keto hydration:
- Drink until you're thirsty.
- Make sure you're getting adequate electrolytes.
You can avoid both dehydration and overhydration by drinking until you're thirsty. You drink just the right amount of water for your body. Consider adding small amounts of Keto-friendly fruit (berries, citrus peels, etc.) for a hint of taste if you get weary of drinking plain water and find yourself challenging to eat enough to satisfy your hydration needs.
Certain factors, such as elevation or hormone imbalances, can cause the thirst mechanism to malfunction, but thirst is a good signal of water demands in general.
The third Keto hydration criterion is to get enough fluid-balancing electrolytes, like sodium and potassium, through your food and supplementation, if necessary. This includes eating potassium-rich leafy greens, salting liberally, and maybe supplementing with a well-formulated supplement.
If you don't want to take supplements but don't want to drink commercial electrolyte drinks with suspicious components, Carb Manager's recipe database has a handful of tasty alternatives. Try this Keto Bone Broth recipe if you're looking for something warming and filling. This Keto Tropical Electrolyte Drink is usually a hit when you're looking for something light and refreshing. The Carb Manager app can also track your electrolyte intake if you're a data-driven person. What is measured will be managed.