Ketogenic thirst

So this is kind of out of the blue, and I have no idea if anyone among the small number of people who read my blog knows anything about a ketogenic diet, but I have been in ketosis for about a month.

The reason I opted to do this is because a while ago I tore the meniscus in my knee and a piece of it is folded over and stuck in my knee joint. I have to have surgery on it next month, and it has been very painful. My orthopedic surgeon has had me taking prescription anti-inflammatories twice a day, but I really hate popping pills and wanted to stop taking them, and I remembered that Sarah’s Daughter, who doesn’t seem to blog anymore, talked about following a ketogenic diet for pain relief.

So I thought, what the heck, I will try it.   Women love a new diet, as Cane Caldo once quipped. But do you know what? To my surprise, it actually worked! After about two weeks in ketosis, I was able to stop taking the anti-inflammatories.  Of course, my meniscus is still torn and therefore if I overdo it, the pain is there again. But it’s not nearly as bad.

Oh, and did I mention that I lost 10 pounds in the past month? Without ever feeling hungry? Yeah, so what’s not to love?

The problem is that I feel like I am dying of thirst all the time. So I drink and I drink and I drink, and then my electrolytes get all out of whack and I get terrible muscle cramps. I have  mostly gotten the electrolyte thing under control by using pink Himalayan salt on everything I eat and supplementing with magnesium, potassium, and vitamin D.

But the thirstiness is not getting any better. I wake up at night and I can’t sleep because no matter how much I drink, my mouth feels like the Sahara desert. I have tried researching this, but no one ever seems to answer the simple question of, “Does the thirstiness ever go away?”

So on the outside chance that anybody reading this knows anything about it, can you tell me if thirstiness ever goes away, or am I stuck with it for so long as I keep my carbohydrate intake under 20 g per day?  I love the pain relief but I just can’t stand my mouth being parched all the time. It’s kind of a work issue too because I am a speech pathologist.

Any advice would be appreciated.

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17 thoughts on “Ketogenic thirst

  1. I wish that I could help, but the only diet that bears are familiar with is hibernation. We bulk up before winter, sleep without eating for a long time, and come out in the spring skinny and very grumpy. I don’t recommend it for humans. There is one thing that I have noticed, in winter, when you don’t perspire, a lot of your water intake goes to digestion. Perhaps that may help lead you to an answer.

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  2. Google trim healthy mama good girl moonshine. The key ingredient is apple cider vinegar. This has a ton of what you need and it is easily absorbed. Also, it slows down after awhile. You are eliminating toxins and need tons of water.

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    • OK, so it sounds like you’re saying it gets somewhat better eventually but not completely better?

      I’ll read up on the Apple cider vinegar piece. I do have some that has the “mother”. I usually use it as a tonic for my chickens.

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      • Yes, at least for me, the first two months I felt the same. Remember, fat holds toxins and when you lose it the toxins have to clear out. Also you are processing less carbs and more protein. You need way more water. Eating fats like coconut oil or really good butter in a bullet proof coffee or a bullet proof chai tea latte help. Coconut water works great. ACV is a miracle. I add a bit to every drink I can. Makes excellent cold teas. You will feel a difference in the intensity of your thirst within 3 days. Start with a tiny bit and work up. My moonshine tastes like soda because of the stevia. Quick tip….add stevia to ACV and mix then add other ingredients.

        As for pain, adding tumeric, ginger and
        cinnamon (make sure it is the correct cinnamon..there are 2 types…google it) to anything you can really eliminates pain and inflamation as well. Tumeric is a miracle. I just add a bit to coffee, smoothies or marinades. 2 weeks and you wont believe it if you just add a bit to your daily coffee.
        Braggs is a great brand with the mother. Land o lakes has amazing kosher beef collagen you can add to anything and it is amazing for joints too.Nails and hair become amazingly strong as a bonus.

        Heres to your health.

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      • Sorry, last thing. Make fresh lemonade or limeade using stevia to sweeten (disolve in juice first) . I think I drank a gallon a day but you actually feel like you drank something. Took it to bed with me.
        You will pee a ton…no getting around it lol.

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      • Got turmeric on my shopping list – thanks so much for all this info! I’m just a couple weeks from my surgery and hoping for an easy recovery.

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      • Yes! If you have access to fresh coconuts, absolutely…but probably not feasible where you’re at….fresh coconuts are expensive in Hawaii…and they grow here abundantly! But maybe you can find it at Costco or Sam’s Club or any Asian/Chinatown stores. I believe most Costco’s carry Zico brand coconut water from Brazil. My personal fav is young coconut water from Thailand. Thai coco juice is just naturally sweeter (no added sugar!) – although some Filipino brands are also pretty comparable.

        Thai coconut farms sell their coconuts to a co-op so there are many different brands of Thai coconut water (TAS, Jus’ Cool, C2o), but they are all basically the same quality juice. Don’t know if you can find it in upper Midwest USA. Here in Hawaii, we get ’em in 16 oz. cans. I buy it by the case. i’ve seen many of the same brands in California (from SF to SD) and Las Vegas as well. Maybe you can find it at your local grocery stores. Just be careful when you find it and make sure it’s unsweetened. Some brands are half coconut water and half sugar water. While that would probably be better then nothing…if you have a choice, get natural/organic/unsweetened if you can.

        But anyhow, tastes by region may vary, but the nutritional and physiological benefits of coconut water are all good, regardless of region. They are rich in many trace minerals like magnesium, potassium, manganese…as well as far superior to man-made concoctions like gatorade. With naturally grown electrolytes (not synthesized and/or concentrated in a laboratory) natural nutrients and minerals in coco water are much more easily absorbed (“bio-available”) by drinking coconut water then in vitamin pill form. Also, coconut water (yes, you may also find it sold as “coconut juice”) is so good for the human body, you can actually use it intravenously. In WW2, injured soldiers in emergency situations in the Phillipines where given coconut water IV’s straight from the coconuts.

        Ever since I began drinking coconut water and working extended hard days of manual labor for the past 5 years or so, I rarely experience muscle cramps or extreme fatigue. I also have no problems doing things like working a 10 hour day (then going to a 2 hour martial arts class afterwards) with no food at all since the previous day’s dinner….but 2 X 16 oz. cans of coconut water and 2 cups of black coffee in the morn are all I need to get it going all day until dinner time. Granted I don’t do this all the time ( I don’t work a steady 9-5/40 hr week of manual labor), but in terms of physical endurance and basic well being, I think it’s coconut water bar none. I could drink coconut water every day…but it’s just too precious as a fuel and/or medicinal. If I don’t have hard work or hard play scheduled and I’m not sick, I don’t drink my stash. I save it for when I need it. It’s become that vital to me.

        Finally, while there is no such thing as a surefire hangover “cure,” coconut water is about as close to it as you’re gonna get. There is no better option for re-hydration, heat exhaustion, low-blood sugar/hypoglycemia, fevers or even dehydration from illness (vomiting/diarrhea). Know how Docs recommend pedialyte for kids with fever/dehydration? Pedialyte is just a pale imitation of the real thing.

        When you are tired, hungry, hot, sweaty, fatigued, queasy, or feeling run down or hung over, coconut water will literally make you feel better in seconds. NECTAR OF THE GODS

        BTW, can you tell…I LOVE coconut water? This is probably the longest comment I’ve dropped anywhere on teh Interwebz in a year or so….but that’s because this is actually a blog post I never got around to completing. I think I still have a draft sitting in my blog folder with pub med reference links and quotes from 2012 0r 2013 that I never got around to finishing.

        Hope you can find some in your area.

        You’ll see!

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    • Coconut water is awesome. The stuff they sell in stores is not even close but it is all I can get by men. You get the thick coconut milk from small brown coconuts. Green ones you literally give a chop and stick a straw in and drink. You feel 20 years younger in 30 min. Only Spirulina comes close. Sigh, miss real coconuts.

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      • I am going to check at Costco this weekend and see what I can find. I live in a small town called Chelsea, but Ann Arbor isn’t far from here and there are a lot of ethnic food stores where I may be able to find coconut water as well.

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  3. Here’s the Mayo Clinic on this one:

    http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/low-carb-diet/art-20045831?pg=2

    ….and a source on nutrition I trust (my late mother was a member) is eatright.org, which is the site for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics–which certifies dieticians (like my mom) and such.

    My quick search didn’t find any ways to get around the thirst–when you have a lot of ketones in your blood, your kidneys will work hard to eliminate them, hence you pee a lot and get thirsty. Ketosis appears to be mainly a problem if you’re diabetic, as it can mask the signs of a much more serious ketoacidosis.

    http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetic-ketoacidosis/basics/symptoms/con-20026470

    Good luck!

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  4. Oh yeah, and one more thing, based on everything I’ve read up on and experienced for myself and other people I know in real life who have tried it…ketogenic aka zero carb diets or simple “low-carb” diets are what I consider temporary therapeutic interventions.

    Remember, it goes back to basic human biology. We have omnivorous dentition and omnivorous digestive systems. We were designed to eat carbs (just not the highly refined, processed and prepped with crap like hydrogenated oils and refined sugars that are so common in our modern world).

    But if you’re sick/overweight/obese or got other issues, these diets can help recovery and weight loss in the short term. But you will hit a plateau point. A lot of folks experience the positive initial results from these sorts of diets and think they found the holy grail of human nutrition. Only problem is 1-3 years later they find they’ve stalled, and no longer feel so good as they once did. Then they double down on the extreme diet protocol thinking that will fix the problem and they just make it worse. It works the same whether you do a paleo-eskimo-inuit all ketogenic whale blubber diet or a pure vegan one. As your body begins to burn off it’s stored fat for energy and chronic inflammation subsides, you’ll feel dramatic improvements. But once that initial surplus of nutrients are burned off, continuing to eat at one dietary extreme or the other will eventually result in other problems related to a new set of nutritional deficiencies you experience if you stick to a rigid and dogmatic approach to diet like “all carbs are bad” or “all animal products are bad” etc.

    It’s not that ALL carbs are the problem. Just the refined wheat flours, or deep fried in vegetable oils, or made with hydrogenated GMO soybean or canola oil based carbs with additives like high fructose corn syrup or even plain sugar, that are so detrimental to health….aka cookies, crackers, cakes, pastries, most breads, chips, tortillas, hamburger and hot dog buns etc.

    But to swear off carbs for good and never eat broccoli, green beans, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, peppers, yukon gold potatoes, jasmine rice, thai sticky rice, apples, oranges, squash, pears, grapes, dates, nectarines, mangoes, bananas, plums, peaches, asparagus, kale, beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, peas, parsnips, sweet & bell peppers, or even organic pasta or corn on the cob or the occasional loaf of organic sour dough or rye bread ever again?

    Not all carbs are equal…it’s just that some are more equal than others.

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    • +1 on Keoni’s comments here. A lot of diets work for a very simple reason; the dieter leaves the “Standard American Diet”, where most calories come from refined carbohydrates, sugars, and added fats. It often doesn’t matter how you cut off white flour and added sugars; as long as you do, you will tend to lose weight.

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    • Great comment and in line with my own thinking. I am new to ketogenic dieting, but I really am using it mostly to deal with both chronic inflammation and pain issues. I think that I will eventually transition to a more moderately low carb diet, something more in line with the 50 to 100 g of carbs from fruit and vegetable sources. I grow a wide variety of organic fruit but won’t be able to eat any of it until I transition off keto at some point. But for now it’s keto or pain pills – so pass the bacon and avocados! 😊

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