This Is Why The Keto Diet Can Make You Thirsty

If you've tried the keto diet, then you are in a good amount of company. In fact, Global News reported that in 2020, this was the most popular diet plan in America.

If you have yet to enter the ketogenic world but are considering joining the millions of others, then it's best to do a bit of research beforehand to find out how it works. Women's Health states the commonly followed outline for calories under the keto diet plan is 80 percent fat, 15 percent protein, and 5 percent carbohydrates. So more fat, fewer carbs. Should be easy enough right? Sure. But perhaps what is lesser known to the masses is the diet's side effects, one of those being extreme thirst. Here's why that is.

Ginger Hultin, RD and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, tells Men's Health why your body might suddenly feel parched while on the keto diet. "As the metabolism shifts in the first couple weeks of ketosis, the body undergoes changes in electrolyte and fluid balance," she says. "Some people find themselves feeling excessively thirsty and urinating more than usual."

Our bodies excess water storage disappears along with our glycogen stores

This not-so-fun side effect has a catchy name. The constant thirst is often referred to as 'keto dry mouth.' Karissa Long, CHC, certified global integrative nutrition coach, keto expert, and author of Clean Keto Lifestyle gives Men's Health the details on why we are suddenly overcome with a dry mouth and thirst. She explains that in our pre-keto life when more carbs were consumed, our bodies converted them to glycogen which needed an extra amount of water for storage. Once we enter the ketogenic phase and have burned up our glycogen stores, it also means we have lost the water that was used to store them. This process creates the overwhelming desire for more fluids.

This may be an annoying side effect for some, but others may view it as a symptom of success. Ruled claims that a dry mouth and thirst is a sign the body has reached a ketogenic, or fat-burning state, although thirst shouldn't go ignored. Women's Health doesn't recommend a specific amount of water to drink to overcome your thirst, but as a good general rule to follow, drink enough so that your urine is clear or pale yellow.