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How Much Water Should I Drink on Keto?
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How Much Water Should I Drink on Keto?

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Published on 2022 July 11
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4 min

Water is the golden drink of the ketogenic diet or any popular diet for that matter. Do you have to drink even more water while on keto?

How much water should I drink on keto

It’s the essential nutrient paramount to all living things to ensure life as we know it. It regulates body temperature, carries oxygen and nutrients to cells, flushes toxins, and aids digestion, among several other functions.

On top of that, it’s calorie-free and perfectly keto-friendly, which makes it the ultimate hydrating assistant for any dieter or individual focusing on weight loss. 

While it’s essential to stay hydrated, most people are unsure of exactly how much water to drink.  

We know we need to drink it, but how much is too much? Is too much water a thing? 

In this article, we answer the frequently asked questions that surround water intake and keto diets. Keep reading to learn how much water to drink, the link between ketosis and dehydration, and the detrimental effects of too much water consumption. 

How Much Water to Drink on Keto?

Exactly how much water you should drink on the keto diet varies between participants. Everybody’s metabolism, activity level, and lifestyle are different.

There is no set rule for how much water the average adult should consume daily. Still, the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommend a daily fluid intake of 3.7 liters for men and 2.7 liters for women. 

The numbers include water intake from all sources, including the foods you eat and drink other than plain water.

With keto, you need more than this as water is lost quicker, but the right amount depends on you individually. Factors like athletic performance, lifestyle, and age impact your daily water needs.

Some suggest that drinking the percentage of half your body weight in water is a good place to start.

Drink water daily, but stay focused on your water intake throughout the day, and look out for the symptoms of dehydration so you can quickly replenish your fluids.

Water is especially important on the keto diet, as ketosis can drastically increase the risk of dehydration. It also supports weight loss, as it helps break down the body’s fat stores and fatty acids, suppress appetite, and curb hunger.

Keep a water bottle close so you can drink water regularly throughout your day. Sparkling water is just as good to stay hydrated.

Does Keto Dehydrate You?  

Yes, the ketogenic diet does dehydrate you. 

In fact, a widely reported symptom of the keto diet is feeling extra thirsty. 

The human body contains roughly 60% water. Maintaining this fluid balance is critical to staying healthy. It fluctuates throughout the day as your body loses water through sweat and urine. 

Keto is a high-fat, low-carb diet with a moderate protein intake. With very few carbs, your body no longer has the glucose (from carbohydrates) to burn for fuel, so it switches to a different fuel source.

During ketosis, the body transitions into the metabolic state known as ketosis, where it burns through fat stores instead of carbohydrates. 

Ketones are produced in the liver that the body utilizes for fuel. 

This is the main objective of the ketogenic diet, as burning fat is excellent for weight loss. 

As with every low-carb diet, it has its risks. 

The higher levels of ketones must be passed by frequent urination, resulting in a risk of dehydration and an electrolyte imbalance. So, drinking water is a greater priority when partaking in the keto diet. 

When your fluid levels are out of sync, negative symptoms appear, such as headaches, dizziness and lightheadedness, muscle cramps, rapid heartbeat, and tiredness. 

Many of these signs are referred to as keto flu symptoms. It’s the unofficially named reaction to the body transitioning into ketosis. It’s an unpleasant experience that leads many people new to the keto diet to quit. 

However, keto flu symptoms can stem from dehydration. So, drinking plenty of water is a must to relieve discomfort. 

Ketosis Dehydration Symptoms  

As briefly mentioned before, ketosis puts you at greater risk of dehydration. 

Symptoms vary from mild to severe, depending on whether you are just becoming dehydrated or if you’re fully there. 

The mildest and most noticeable effect, to begin with, is feeling thirstier than usual. It is your body’s way of alerting you to drink more water. 

You can tell a lot by your urination, from appearance to frequency. When you’re perfectly hydrated, your urine is lighter and clearer in color, and you will urinate regularly. 

When you’re dehydrated, you will experience decreased bathroom trips, and your urine will be darker in color. It may also have a more pungent odor, as the ammonia concentration is stronger. 

Checking your urine is a practical method to detect hydration levels easily.

Further milder symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Dry mouth, lips, and eyes
  • Dry skin 
  • Lack of mental clarity/brain fog 
  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness

You can quickly alleviate many of these symptoms by drinking water or other hydrating beverages. 

As dehydration progresses, it can trigger the following symptoms:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Severe headache 
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion 
  • Fainting 
  • Sunken eyes

Can You Drink Too Much Water on Keto?

While staying hydrated is essential, too much water can cause problems. 

Overhydration messes up our electrolytes, causing an electrolyte imbalance.

If you focus on rapidly consuming water on the keto diet, you risk drinking too much.

When you consume too much water, you’re at risk of diluting blood sodium levels. The occurrence is known as hyponatremia, defined as an abnormally low sodium level in the blood. 

When the blood sodium levels dilute, the water level in your body rises, and low sodium leaves the kidneys unable to emit enough water. Essentially, you’re watering down your blood. 

The symptoms of hyponatremia are:

  • Headache
  • Confusion 
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Low energy
  • Lethargy 
  • Muscle cramps
  • Weakness 

In cases of chronic hyponatremia, it can lead to seizures, comas, and death. 

There is a big fuss over staying hydrated on keto diets, but as well as preventing dehydration, it’s just as essential to avoid overhydration. 

Not drinking enough water is dangerous, and at the same time, drinking water excessively is just as risky. Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to how much water you should drink. Try to find the balance that suits your keto-adapted lifestyle changes.

While salt is generally advised against for its link to cardiovascular diseases, sodium consumption is encouraged on the keto diet. It’s a vital electrolyte that maintains water balance, controls blood volume, and supports the nerves and muscles. 

However, it’s always best to avoid processed foods with high salt content. You can get more salt in your keto diet when you drink water by adding a little sea salt. 

A Word From Dietitian

The keto diet is a popular low-carb, high-fat diet. It requires the participant to wildly reduce carbohydrate intake and increase fat intake with healthy fats.

Promising various health benefits, a favorite among dieters is reducing body weight as ketosis triggers your body to burn stored fat.

As the ketogenic diet has relatively severe dehydrating effects, keeping on top of your fluid levels is non-negotiable.

Water is entirely keto-friendly, so you can drink glass after glass. However, you mustn’t consume too much water, as the level of sodium in the blood will fall off balance. 

How much you drink depends on various lifestyle factors. You can try the general rule-of-thumb method by consuming half of your body weight in ounces of water each day.

You can always adjust your water intake when you become more accustomed to the keto diet and how much you need.

Water is the ultimate keto-friendly beverage, but there are other ways to restore your water needs. Many foods have a high water content, such as melon, oranges, celery, and various other fruits and vegetables.

Depending on your keto diet modifications, you can also sip on sparkling water, green tea, and nutrient-packed bone broth. 

Conclusion

We’ve discussed the effects of drinking too much water and not drinking enough water. The best approach is to sip water regularly to evade the discomfort of dehydration or to alleviate keto flu when it hits. 

It’s easy to keep a close eye on your hydration levels by investigating your urine color during bathroom visits. It’s a pretty good indicator of whether to grab another drink. 

With the right balance of water and electrolytes, you can make the most out of the ketogenic diet without going off course. 

Written by
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
Medically reviewed byRosmy Barrios, MD
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