When you begin a diet that restricts certain types of foods, there is always a risk of not getting the right levels of nutrients that you need to maintain optimal health. With the ketogenic diet, there are certain nutrients that you may need to supplement to ensure you're getting the right amount of micronutrients, minerals and vitamins in your diet. Nutrient deficiencies can have a devastating impact on your diet, so it's important that you ensure you're getting the nutrients you need to enjoy a healthy and beneficial ketogenic experience. There is plenty of research to suggest that a keto diet can help reduce weight and maintain weight loss, but it's also important to ensure you're getting the right nutrients to keep your body healthy.
Vitamins and Minerals
Since there are a wide variety of vitamins and minerals that are needed to fully support a ketogenic diet, the best solution for ensuring you're getting the right nutrients is to take a high-quality multivitamin. Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin D and Vitamin E are not lacking in a ketogenic diet, so it's unlikely that you'll need additional supplementation for these vitamins.
The vitamins that may need careful monitoring include Vitamin K and Vitamin C. These vitamins are normally found in high-quantities in foods that are not typically included on a ketogenic diet, including fruits and some green, leafy vegetables. These nutrients may be harder to get when you severely reduce your overall carbohydrate intake, but it is possible provided you plan well to ensure that you get your daily recommended intake.
As for minerals, the body is able to get most of the minerals it needs from meat sources and other foods that are common on the ketogenic diet. Calcium isn't lacking, but it doesn't hurt to increase the amount of calcium in your diet, especially in the beginning stages. Since the body has a tendency to flush out electrolytes in the beginning stages, this supplement can help prevent a deficiency. Chloride, copper, fluoride, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum and phosphorus are also generally not lacking. Additionally, selenium, sulfur and zinc can also be acquired solely from the diet.
The minerals you should be concerned with are magnesium, sodium and potassium. These elements are crucial to maintaining your health and special sections have been devoted to these electrolytes to ensure a complete discussion is provided. Fiber is another special case that needs a careful explanation. It's also important to ensure that a proper Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio is maintained. Eating a large number of Omega-6 fatty acids without taking in the right amount of Omega-3 fatty acids can lead to an imbalance that could affect your health.
Fiber supplements may seem like the answer on a ketogenic diet, but it's been shown that supplementation with fiber is not as effective as getting it from your food. The goal is to bring in between 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day. Fiber comes from plant foods and it can help ensure your gut bacteria thrive. When you ingest fiber, it is fermented by your gut bacteria into fat. The health benefits are mostly owed to the short-chain amino acids that are produced. Since fiber converts to fat, it's beneficial for a ketogenic diet.
Since most of the foods on a ketogenic diet are low in carbohydrates and a lot of high-fiber foods also come alongside calories, it's necessary to take special care to make certain you're getting the right amount of fiber. Avocados are a good source of fiber and work well on a ketogenic diet. It's also possible to get fiber from nuts and seeds. It's pretty easy to get 20 grams of fiber from these foods. A little bit of kale can also greatly increase your fiber content so make sure to add in plenty of leafy greens as you can afford them.
Cacao, chia, hemp and flax are all suitable options to maintain your levels of fiber. You can also add in some low-carb flours, including almond, flax and coconut flour to help you reach your fiber requirements. While fiber is something you'll have to consciously think about on a ketogenic diet, if you eat the right foods it is possible. Fiber acts like a brook for your system and getting the right amount of fiber can help you leave a long and healthy life.
Sodium serves as a major component of salt. It's pretty hard to be lacking in salt, but this can happen on a ketogenic diet in the early stages. Since the ketogenic diet tends to have a diuretic effect and people on the diet tend to drink more water, it's possible to become deficient in this vital nutrient. One of the best ways to include salt in your diet is to just sprinkle it over your food. You'll mostly avoid eating too much since adding too much salt to your food will ruin your meal.
If you know for a fact that you're specifically lacking in sodium, you can supplement with Sodium Beta-Hydroxybutyrate (NaBHB). However, when it comes to supplementing with electrolytes, it's important to consult with your doctor. Signs and symptoms of a sodium-deficiency can look like other conditions, so you need to make certain you're supplementing with the right amount of sodium to avoid ingesting too much.
People often think that salt needs to be avoided at all costs, but sodium is a vital mineral that you must have in your system. The problem of sodium deficiency is less severe for the average person. However, if you're an athlete, you can easily get down to dangerously low levels of sodium if you're not careful. Pink Himalayan or Celtic Sea salt are great options for restoring your sodium levels. Athletes may consider ingesting one gram before a workout to reduce fatigue.
For the same reason that you may need to supplement with sodium on a ketogenic diet, you also may need to supplement with magnesium. This is a nutrient that can be easily flushed out of the body, especially if you're drinking lots of distilled or filtered water. Getting the right levels of magnesium is important to ensure your heart functions properly and you maintain proper health. Magnesium deficiencies can cause all sorts of problems, so it's important to make sure you get the right amount of magnesium from your foods.
Magnesium is a nutrient that is found in small quantities in most foods. This means that it can be hard to get the right amount from food alone. However, it's possible to increase your intake if you eat more almonds, cashews and peanuts. Spinach and almonds have the highest concentration of magnesium followed closely by cashews. If you have a nut allergy, then the majority of your magnesium is going to have to come from green, leafy vegetables like spinach. It also may be necessary to supplement with magnesium to ensure the right levels of nutrients in your body.
Muscle cramps may be due to low levels of magnesium. It's the mineral in your body that allows the muscles to relax. When they begin to spasm, it could indicate that you are low on magnesium. Magnesium is also useful for helping you to control your glucose levels, protein synthesis and energy metabolism. In fact, it has an impact on more than 300 reactions in your body. The keto diet can result in decreased magnesium levels, but intense exercise and a lack of sleep may also be culprits.
Potassium is another of those electrolytes found in high concentrations in meat and dairy products. It's also prevalent in vegetables, avocado, beans and seafood. While the nutrient isn't generally considered to be lacking, much of it can get flushed out in the early stages of a diet. You can overcome this issue by ensuring that you get the right levels of potassium with a supplement.
On a keto diet, the loss of sodium also results in a depletion of potassium. These minerals are normally maintained in proportion to the body. If you have a mineral deficiency from not getting enough potassium, it's known as hypokalemia. This may result in several symptoms, including lethargy, cramps, skin problems, irritability and constipation. Low levels of potassium can also result in a lower level of lean muscle mass.
On the more serious side of things, a potassium deficiency can result in heart palpitations and heartbeat irregularities. Respiratory distress is also possible and a severe potassium deficiency may result in heart failure. The juices from your cooked meats are actually a good source of potassium, but you can also get potassium from spinach, avocado, kale, and mushrooms.
If you do find that you need to supplement potassium, calcium, magnesium and sodium, it's important to do it in the right combination. The ratio that you need to follow is 12:5:57:18. This works out to 1 mg of potassium, 0.21 mg of calcium, 0.09 mg of magnesium and 0.32 mg of sodium. Because it's so important to get the right levels, it's better to try and get these nutrients directly from food sources. It's safer to do it this way, and you'll avoid some of the more serious side effects of getting too much of any one nutrient.
Maintaining adequate levels of nutrition should be possible when you take a multi-vitamin and carefully monitor key minerals like potassium, magnesium, calcium and sodium. The biggest issue for most keto dieters is not getting enough fiber in their diet. With a little careful planning, you'll be able to maintain optimal nutrient levels and enjoy all of the benefits of a keto diet. It's important to consult with a doctor to get testing done so that you can know whether you're really deficient in key minerals. Using more supplements than you need can cause health problems as well. The goal with supplementation is to keep everything in balance. This is something that is very difficult to do if you don't have test results to monitor your progress.