Why Am I So Exhausted On Keto?

When it comes to doing the Keto diet, a lot of people have complained of issues involving exhaustion. They complain of headaches and a whole host of other problems.

For those that don’t know what the Keto diet is, check out my article on How I Lost 40 Lbs In 2 Months.

You can also check out my video here as well.

Every time I’ve done the Keto diet I’ve had success as long as I paid attention to a couple of important factors.

The main ones that cause exhaustion are as follows:

  • Eating Too Much Protein
  • Consume More Fats
  • You Need More Electrolytes

These 4 factors contribute to exhaustion greatly while doing a Ketogenic diet.

So let’s find out what we can do to fix these mistakes now!

Here we go!

Eating Too Much Protein

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In the absence of carbohydrates, your body has to go through a process called glucogenesis. This process turns non-sugar compounds into sugar that your body uses as fuel. To counteract this, you need to consume less protein than a normal diet.

If you consume too much protein on Keto it’s going to prevent you from going into ketosis which is one of the main benefits. The other reason why eating too much protein causes exhaustion will be explained in the next section.

The exact amount of protein doesn’t matter too much as long as it doesn’t exceed 1 gram per lb of bodyweight. Anywhere between 0.6-1 gram per lb of bodyweight is going to be your best bet.

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For a 200 lb man, this can mean anywhere between 120 and 200 grams of protein.

This might sound low but it really does depend on how much fat you’re trying to consume each day.

Another way to calculate it is by taking a percentage of your total calories to find your protein intake.

For protein specifically, we want 25% of our calories to come from protein. For a 200 lb male eating 2,000 calories for fat loss, this is easy to figure out.

2,000×0.25=500 Calories from protein

500/4=125 grams from protein

As you can see, it still hits the low average of our recommended protein intake. No matter how you choose to calculate it, consuming lower levels of protein is incredibly important for doing well on the keto diet.

You need more calories available for fats as energy than any other diet!

Consume More Fats

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If you aren’t consuming enough fats on your Ketogenic diet, you’re going to run into issues with energy levels pretty quickly. Your body needs these fat sources to be used as fuel instead of carbohydrates.

To ensure you’re consuming more fats than protein, you need to consume proper Keto foods that have high fat, moderate protein, and low carbs.

Some of these main ones that fit the bill nicely are:

  • Meats, Dairy, etc.
    • Fatty fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel)
    • Low-carb shellfish (shrimp, crab, lobster)
    • Poultry (dark meat)
    • Beef
    • Lamb
    • Pork
    • Bison
    • Organ meat (liver, tongue, tripe)
    • Full-fat dairy (milk, butter, yogurt)
    • Poultry (white meat)
    • Bacon
    • Whey protein powder
    • Low-fat dairy (milk, butter, yogurt)
    • Tofu
    • Pasture-raised eggs
    • Greek yogurt
  • Vegetables.
    • Leafy greens (spinach, kale, arugula, romaine, swiss chard, mustard greens, collard greens)
    • Bok choy
    • Asparagus
    • Cauliflower
    • Broccoli rabe
    • Celery
    • Mushrooms
    • Sprouts (alfalfa, bean)
    • Cucumbers
    • Summer squash (zucchini, yellow)
  • Fat Sources
    • Avocado oil
    • Coconut oil
    • Fish oil
    • MCT oil
    • Olive oil
    • Cocoa butter
    • Avocado
    • Walnuts
    • Chia seeds
    • Flax seeds
    • Pecans
    • Pine nuts
    • Macadamia nuts
    • Hazelnuts
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As you can see there are a ton of options to choose from! As long as you follow this list and hit the recommended levels of fat intake, you’re going to have tons of energy!

The correct level of fat is easy to figure out and you’ll see why we want our protein intake to be lower!

Again, using our 200 lb male for reference at 2,000 calories, we want to eat around 70% of our calories from fats. Because fats have 9 calories per gram, this is a lot less than you might think luckily.

2,000×0.7=1,400 Calories from Fat

1,400/9=155 Grams of Fat per day

This is much more than people are used to consuming every day I’m sure! But for those doing Keto, it’s absolutely essential!

You Need More Electrolytes

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These awesome graph made by KETOGAINS shows you everything you need to make sure you’re consuming enough electolytes on the keto diet.

This is a major one that many people experience almost immediately start experiencing some of the negative side-effects of doing Keto. A few of these including headaches, diarrhea, and dehydration are the main ones I think most people get at the start.

An electrolyte imbalance is often linked to symptoms dubbed “the Keto flu”. Carbohydrates are stored in the body with water, by consuming fewer carbs our bodies excrete more water and retain less of it.

This is one of the main reasons why people have headaches, diarrhea, and dehydration. All major contributors for exhaustion on the Keto diet.

Also, because we have fewer carbs in the body, we release less insulin, this causes the kidneys to excrete more sodium. Loss of sodium affects the balance of other key electrolytes in the body.

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Makes sense huh?

This is why supplementation with electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium is so important.

Each of these electrolytes is essential in the body, even more so on Keto!

Let’s go over why each of these electrolytes is so essential!

Sodium

Sodium is something I’ve been trying to increase in mine and my clients’ daily lives and the results have been fantastic! My blood pressure has improved and my energy levels are at an all-time high.

My clients have reported higher levels of energy, lower levels of fatigue, and faster recovery times as well.

On top of my personal experience, sodium has major physiological processes in the body, including:

  • Nerve Function
  • Regulation of blood pressure & volume
  • Control of water retention
  • Control of nerve impulses

If you have a sodium deficiency, which is hard to achieve for most Americans which consume more than enough sodium per day, a couple of issues occur.

Signs of sodium deficiency are:

  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Brain fog
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach cramps
  • Weakness
  • Headaches

As you can see, sodium is something incredibly important for anybody doing Keto but especially for those that train and work strenuous jobs as well.

Supplementing sodium on the Keto diet is incredibly important! Ketogains recommends 5,000-7,000 mg per day. I know this sounds like a lot more than what is normally recommended. But bear in mind those sodium recommendations are for SEDENTARY individuals on regular diets.

For Keto, you need to ensure you’re staying properly hydrated, which means adequate levels of sodium.

Here’s a video from Stan Efferding going over the subject of why salt is actually a performance-enhancing food similar to carbohydrates.

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Potassium

Potassium is another major electrolyte in the body that most people seem to have deficiencies in, unfortunately.

Potassium tends to be the mineral we typically use to prevent cramping in the body. But it has many other benefits that protect certain processes in the body, including:

  • Decreased risk of hypertension
  • Maintenance of body fluid
  • Blood pressure control
  • Cellular function

It’s incredibly important to consume enough Potassium every day. Keeping your organs functioning at optimal levels is important for fat loss as well as overall health.

A few of the other side effects of potassium deficiency include:

  • Hypertension
  • Heart palpitations
  • Adverse cardiovascular effects
  • Kidney damage or failure

These are horrible side effects you should consider when doing any diet! These effects are life-altering and some of them I’ve experienced myself, unfortunately.

Some Keto-friendly foods high in Potassium are as follows:

  • Almonds
  • Avocado
  • Artichokes
  • Spinach
  • Salmon
  • Mushrooms
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts

Try to consume at least 1,000-3,500 mg per day to ensure optimal levels in the body.

Magnesium

Magnesium is the 4th most abundant mineral in the body. Because of this, it’s incredibly important for health.

Some of these important life processes are:

  • Brain biochemistry
  • DNA & RNA synthesis
  • Aiding in chronic diseases such as the prevention of cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, ADHD, and Type-2 diabetes
  • Protein synthesis
  • Nerve transmission
  • Muscular contractions
  • Controlling blood pressure

As you can see, magnesium might be the most important electrolytes by far! It can even have an effect on personality changes which I have experienced firsthand. These include delirium, depression, agitation, confusion, and anxiety.

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To ensure you aren’t deficient in Magnesium, make sure to consume between 300-500 mg per day. Some of the best Keto foods that will supplement your diet include:

  • Pine nuts
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Artichokes
  • Dark chocolate
  • Swiss chard
  • Almonds
  • Spinach
  • Avocado

As you can see, there are a ton of options to ensure you’re consuming the correct amount of magnesium every day. Just like macronutrients and calories, you can and should be tracking your electrolyte balance as well!

Conclusion

As you can see, there are multiple reasons why you may be lagging in energy on a Keto diet.

The final point, electrolytes, is definitely the most important one I would recommend you pay attention to.

By consuming the correct amounts of sodium, magnesium, and potassium; you’ll be healthier, have more energy, and lose more body fat than those that aren’t maintaining a proper electrolyte balance.

What did you guys learn from this article that you didn’t know before? Let me know in the comments below!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Until next time,

-Dante Redgrave

danteredgrave

danteredgrave

I'm a Strength Coach and Content Creator with freedom on my mind! Without strength training, I hate to think of where I would be without it. What kind of person I would be, what kind of shape I would be in. It scares me, and that's why every day is a new chance to better myself. Anybody that's interested I am taking online clients now! Just shoot me an email and know you won't find a better deal online or offline. Guaranteed:)

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