Some popular diets, like the ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting, can indirectly increase the risk of dehydration. Here’s what to know and how to stay hydrated if you try any of these diets.
The popular high-protein, low-carb ketogenic diet can leave you feeling dehydrated. When choosing a new diet, you should ask yourself how well it will help you achieve your health goals, whatever they may be, and you should be sure to check out the potential health risks it poses.
Here’s something to consider: Some diets, like intermittent fasting and the ketogenic diet, are more likely than others to cause dehydration. Since we need water to survive, health experts suggest considering this factor when weighing the pros and cons of dieting. Water helps all cells, tissues and organs survive, so don’t skimp on hydration. We sometimes hear that you should drink about 15 glasses a day for men and 11 glasses a day for women (however, about 20% of this recommendation should come from foods rich in water, such as fruits and vegetables.
Any restrictive diet can lead to dehydration. Most people don’t drink enough water to begin with, so you need other ways to provide them with water, such as through fruit. When diets eliminate fruits or other whole food groups, the risk of dehydration increases.
Most diets do not explicitly ban water, ideally no diet should cause dehydration. But some will require you to pay extra attention to how much water you drink throughout the day to ensure you’re sufficiently hydrated. You should also learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of dehydration to watch out for, these include:
Feeling of thirst
Urinate less than usual
Sweating less than usual
Dark colored urine
Your body needs water to function in all possible ways. Give your body what it wants!
Here are five diets that can lead to dehydration:
1. High protein diets
High protein diets, such as the Dukan diet and the paleo diet, have become increasingly popular ways to lose weight. High protein diets can lead to dehydration.
Nitrogen is found in the amino acids that make up proteins. When you consume large amounts of protein, your body flushes out excess nitrogen with fluids and water.
In this case, the potential signs of dehydration may be subtle. It’s not like you’ve eaten something salty and you’re thirsty, or you’ve eaten Chinese food and you’re thirsty. You don’t realize it. A small past study compared the hydration levels of five endurance athletes when they consumed low, moderate, and high amounts of protein. The researchers found that “as the amount of protein consumed increased, the degree of hydration decreased”. They conclude that if you’re on a high-protein diet, it’s important to drink more, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
2. Ketogenic diet
You may be interested in the high-fat, low-carb ketogenic diet because you’ve heard it provides rapid weight loss through a metabolic state called ketosis. Ketosis causes the body to burn fat in the absence of sufficient carbohydrates. When you cut out carbs, you end up releasing water. The body draws on its glycogen stores to break down carbohydrates, so such a diet results in greater water loss. Indeed, this loss of water weight is often the reason the keto diet is helpful for rapid weight loss — at least temporarily.
Whether you’re new to the keto diet or have been on it for a while, take steps to stay hydrated every day. These include drinking upon waking and before meals, and considering tracking hydration using a smartphone app making it almost impossible to forget to drink.
3. Intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting is a dietary approach that involves alternating between fasting and eating throughout the day or from day to day. There are different ways to practice it. Some opt for the 5:2, which allows you to eat normally five days of the week and restrict calories the other two days. Others prefer the 16:8 plan, which involves fasting for 16 hours of the day. Whatever your approach, you should stick to pre-determined times for all your meals and snacks. You have the right to drink water if you practice intermittent fasting, even outside of mealtimes. But the problem is that some people forget it. You eat fewer meals and mealtimes are a natural opportunity to drink a glass of water. This is why, if you are fasting, it is important to be very careful about the amount of water you drink and to make it a priority to keep a bottle of water with you or to include hydrating fruits and vegetables. in your meals during allotted meal times.
4. Dry fasting
Dry fasting is a version of intermittent fasting that asks followers to restrict both food and drink. During the fasting period, you cannot consume any type of liquid: Water, broth, tea, coffee and all other beverages are prohibited. Some people practice dry fasting for religious reasons, for example, Muslims fast from dawn to dusk during Ramadan each year. Other proponents of dry fasting believe it promotes weight loss or slows the aging process. Dry fasting has become a fad diet, in part due to research on Muslims abstaining from food and drink from dawn to dusk during Ramadan. A study published in the journal Nutrients showed that after Ramadan, participants’ weight and body mass index decreased. However, experts warn that this diet can be dangerous if practiced long term. It can lead to electrolyte imbalances and low blood pressure, which can be fatal, and cause urinary and kidney problems. These problems can include kidney stones and urinary tract infections. At the very least, you are at high risk of becoming dehydrated by following this type of diet.
5. The Atkins diet
The Atkins diet, a popular low-carb diet (although not as low-carb as the keto diet), could put its followers at risk of dehydration. One reason is that it eliminates many food groups, such as starchy vegetables and most fruits. During the first phase, which lasts two weeks or more, fruit is not allowed at all (although low-carb fruits such as cherries and melon can be reintroduced into the diet in later phases). Fruit juices are also discouraged (due to their high content of added sugars), which may interfere with the way some people drink. If you eliminate fruits and vegetables, which are hydrating foods, you put yourself at increased risk of dehydration. To compensate, be very careful about how much you drink throughout the day and don’t skimp on water intake (since hydration is encouraged as part of the Atkins diet).