Salt and the Keto Diet

The keto diet is one of the most popular new diets around. There is significant evidence about its benefits in terms of weight loss, helping grow its popularity. However, like any diet, it brings with it a number of concerns – one of which is the amount of salt consumed as part of this diet. 


What is the Keto Diet?

In the simplest terms, the keto diet (short for ketogenic diet) is a low-carb, high-fat diet[1]Thus, it involves significantly reducing your body’s carbohydrate intake and, at the same time, replacing it with a higher fat intake. This change in diet puts your body in a state known as ketosis (hence the diet’s name). Ketosis is a metabolic state that makes your body more efficient at burning fat for energy rather than carbohydrates. Additionally, the liver turns some of the fat you consume into ketones. These ketones are very efficient at supplying your brain with energy. 

At the same time, some of the beneficial “side-effects” of the keto diet include significantly lower levels of blood sugar and insulin. 

In a keto diet, people eat about 20 to 50 g of carbohydrates a day. While the rest are replaced with fats, these are generally healthy fats, such as meat, nuts, fish, eggs, and healthy oils, as opposed to things like fast food. They also moderate their protein consumption and may also engage in intermittent fasting to help them get into ketosis faster.


Benefits of the diet include:

  • Help in losing weight
  • Health benefits for people with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes
  • Reduces the risk of chronic illnesses like heart disease and cancer
  • May reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease


Salt and the Keto Diet

You’re burning fat and ketones instead of carbohydrates on a keto diet. However, you’re also losing stored electrolytes, such as salt. 

This is because, as mentioned above, a keto diet also results in lower glucose levels. There is significant, long-term evidence that shows that the lower the insulin levels in your body, the faster your kidneys excrete sodium and water[2].

 Additionally, sodium and potassium work together[3]This means that when your sodium levels drop, so do your potassium levels. 

Other electrolytes that are imbalanced when you’re on a keto diet include[4]:

  • Calcium
  • Chloride
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphate

Another challenge with salt intake on the keto diet is what you eat. Most people on the keto diet eat healthy, clean foods – that is, foods that are as unprocessed as possible. 

One unintended side-effect of this decision is that it eliminates a major source of salt in your diet[5]Sodium is abundant in a standard American diet – but that diet includes fast food and “junk” food, which is curtailed on the keto diet. 

Alongside lower insulation levels and greater sodium excretion, keto diets also tend to result in lower sodium intake, further lowering blood sodium levels. 


The Impact of Low Sodium Levels on the Keto 

 Aside from the regular symptoms of low blood sodium, low levels of sodium on a keto diet can lead to three major issues[6]:

  • The Keto Flu: The “keto flu” tends to occur in the immediate days following the start of the keto diet, generally days 3 to 5, and is one of the reasons why so many people give up on the diet relatively quickly. It’s also known as carb withdrawal[7]and is the period your body takes to adjust to the lowered carbohydrate intake. Symptoms include brain fog, fatigue, irritability, sleep impairment, mild depression, and more. One of the biggest causes of the keto flu is an imbalance in the body’s electrolyte levels – such as salt.

  • Stomach Troubles: sodium is essential for the proper functioning of the body’s digestive tract. Without adequate amounts of sodium in the body, people doing the keto diet experience symptoms like nausea, constipation, and other digestive issues.

  • Muscle Cramps: Low electrolyte levels and mild dehydration tend to result in muscle cramps, especially at night. As low levels of sodium can lead to dehydration, both symptoms tend to be present in people on the keto diet. This is a particularly common issue when people are just starting out on the keto diet.  

All of these concerns increase the chances that people will give up on the diet. After all, if a change in diet was making you feel lethargic and causing stomach problems and muscle cramps, you’d want to go back to your regular diet as well, wouldn’t you?


Increasing Your Salt Intake on the Keto Diet

 Given the constraints of the keto diet, a number of traditionally salty snacks like potato chips are no longer an option. Additionally, not only do people on this diet need to increase their salt intake, but they also need to increase their intake of potassium and the other electrolytes mentioned above. 

Most of these electrolytes can be replenished with supplements and electrolyte drinks. Additionally, there are ways to increase your intake of dietary salt and potassium without breaking your keto diet. This includes eating salted nuts and increasing your intake of leafy greens and avocados for potassium (bananas are to be avoided on the keto diet). 

However, in general, you need to increase your salt intake to about 4000 mg of sodium a day, from the daily recommended levels of 2300 mg[8]Given this increase, altering your diet enough to make up for the salt you’re lacking can sometimes be a challenge, especially as you’re already working on a limited keto diet. 

Additionally, people on the keto diet may not want to alter their diet to increase dietary salt intake. Of course, they are already changing their food habits to adhere to the keto diet, so it’s understandable that further change is met with a level of reluctance. 

Luckily, it is possible to add salt to your diet without altering your food choices. Salt capsules such as Klaralyte tablets are a great way to increase your salt intake in an easy-to-consume manner. 

Each Klaralyte tablet contains 250 mg of salt and 50 mg of potassium, ensuring you’ll be able to increase your salt and potassium intake without seriously altering your diet. They’re easy to consume and can be taken with a glass of water. You can take 1-2 tablets at a time up to 5 times a day, so you’ll be able to take them as needed for a salt boost.

That said, it’s essential to consult your doctor before you increase your dietary salt intake. They’ll be able to advise you about any precautions you should take and will also be able to tell you if the keto diet is right for you. It’s always best to consult a medical professional before making any significant changes to your diet, and that includes both choosing to go keto and increasing your dietary salt intake from the recommended DV of 2300 mg to the above-mentioned keto-recommended DV of 4000 mg. 

Cited Sources:


You will not be disappointed!

Additional Information

*Not Evaluated by FDA: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. Klaralyte LLC manufactures dietary supplements and medical food products that should be used under the direct supervision of a licensed healthcare practitioner.

Designated Medical Food: Klaralyte Salt Capsules are classified as a medical food under 21 U.S.C. 360ee(b)(3), and are intended for specific dietary management based on recognized scientific principles, as evaluated by a physician.

Comparative Advertising: Klaralyte is a registered trademark of Klaralyte LLC. Registered trademarks, brand names, images, or any information that could refer to another brand are used solely for lawful comparative advertising. This follows FTC-defined criteria for objectively comparing brands based on attributes or price, while clearly identifying the alternative brand.