Beat Keto-Flu with Homemade Electrolyte Drink

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Beat Keto-Flu with Homemade Electrolyte DrinkPin recipeFollow us 82.0k

This recipe was inspired by a great electrolyte drink created by Wellness Mama. Apart from using electrolyte drinks for rehydrating during sports, it's an effective natural keto-flu remedy. Electrolytes, especially magnesium, are often deficient when you eat less than 20-30 g net carbs.

Making an electrolyte drink that tastes good was a real challenge. At first, the drink was too salty and I had to make a few batches before I was happy with the result. I used slightly different ingredients than the original recipe to increase the potassium and magnesium content and to make it suitable for a keto diet. If you've ever been through keto-flu, you know how bad the symptoms can be: headaches, muscle weakness, cramps or fatigue are just some of the side effects you don't want to experience during the transitional period of the ketogenic diet.

Great for pinning: Quick Guide to Keto-flu Remedies

Hands-on Overall

Nutritional values (per cup)

1.7 grams 0 grams 0.1 grams 0.1 grams 0 grams 6 calories
Total Carbs1.7grams
Fiber0grams
Net Carbs1.7grams
Protein0.1grams
Fat0.1grams
of which Saturated0grams
Calories6kcal
Sodium103mg (5% RDA)
Magnesium178mg (45% RDA)
Potassium216mg (11% EMR)

Macronutrient ratio: Calories from carbs (90%), protein (4%), fat (6%). If you need to add more sodium to your diet, try Homemade Bone Broth!. For more potassium try avocados!

Ingredients (makes ~ 6 cups)

Tips:
  • Drink with meals (not on an empty stomach). Start with a cup per day and increase to no more than 2 cups per day to avoid stomach discomfort.
  • Instead of potassium chloride, you can use lite salt or cream of tartar. To read more about potassium supplements, read this post: The Importance of Potassium in Low-Carb Diets.
  • You can use coconut water instead of water for extra electrolyte boost, especially potassium and sodium. The downside is that coconut water may be too high in carbs for some people. There are about 6 grams of net carbs, 600 mg potassium, 252 g sodium and 60 mg magnesium per cup of coconut water.
  • Instead of Erythritol, can use other healthy low-carb sweetener from this list*
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Instructions

  1. Juice the lemons or limes (or a combination of both). Beat Keto-Flu with Homemade Electrolyte Drink
  2. Place everything in a jug and stir until well combined and no crystals appear on the bottom. Beat Keto-Flu with Homemade Electrolyte Drink
  3. Add some ice cubes if needed and enjoy! If you suffer from keto-flu symptoms, have 2-3 cups per day with meals (3 cups only if you are physically active and have no stomach discomfort) and also add more sodium to your diet (try Homemade Bone Broth). Store in the fridge for 3-4 days. Beat Keto-Flu with Homemade Electrolyte Drink
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Martina Slajerova
Creator of KetoDietApp.com

Martina Slajerova

I changed the way I ate in 2011, when I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid. I had no energy, and I found it more and more difficult to maintain a healthy weight.

That’s when I decided to quit sugar, grains, and processed foods, and to start following a whole-foods-based ketogenic approach to food.

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Comments (120)

Good recipe.  I didn't read all the instructions, so I made a quart and drank the whole thing.   DO NOT do that.  Trust me 😲

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I totally agree - do not exceed the recommended serving size (GI distress).

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Every time I try to go Keto, I get the awful Keto flu so I am hoping this will help. My question is do I drink this instead of Pickle juice or should I still use Pickle juice along with this electrolyte drink?  Thanks for suggestions and recommendations on this.  

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I have never used pickle juice in that way but I assume that's for additional sodium? I'd swap it with bone broth. My worry is that pickle juice may have added sugar or sweeteners.

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Hi Martina.  Thanks for the recipe.  I was looking at reviews for this potassium you recommend and some say that potassium citrate is a better potassium to take.  Not sure why but what do you think and why you chose the chloride over the citrate?  Thanks.  

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Hi Judy, I don't have a preference because I use it sparingly and only in my electrolyte drinks. Both options are suitable!

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Just made up a batch as a preventative measure. We aren't more than a week on Keto, but we are trying to avoid the worst of the symptoms if possible. Thanks for this.

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Ah, the keto flu. It's a helluva ride, but worth it if you can get to the other side. I've been using moringa powder as a natural substitute for potassium chloride and natural calm. This drink along with a nice essential oil inhaler (I just like grapefruit essential oil) for the crazy angry monkey mind and I can usually get through the keto-flu in a couple days 😊

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Hi ,
Can you have this drink if you are not doing leto and you are on a low carb diet.
Regards Rohini

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Yes you can! This is a great option for hydration and replenishing electrolytes, especially for those who exercise.

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I made this electrolyte drink per recipe on 3 occasions and was surprised at how good it tastes. Plus, it actually helped me feel better when I was experiencing Keto Flu symptoms.  Thanks!

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Thank you Ron, I'm glad you like it! Try adding a few frozen berries. I've been making this tweaked version recently, it will make it even better 😊

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I have been following a keto diet for 2 months now and the  biggest problem is leg & foot cramps, especially at night.  I was getting up 2 or 3 times every night to walk them out.  This drink has changed my night life.  By the second day of drinking it with meals resulted in a total night of undisturbed sleep.  Both me and my husband are really thankful.

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I'm so happy for you! You made my day!

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Hi, can you tell me what the reason for not having this drink on an empty stomach it is? I typically drink a large glass of lemon water with salt in the mornings and wanted to add the potassium and magnesium to that. Could it cause an upset stomach? If so would it be better to consume right after my bulletproof coffee?  I have read it is beneficial to have your magnesium and potassium with it or soon after your morning salt water, but  I don’t want to cause any unwanted stomach upset! Thank you!

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Hi Michelle, the only reason to keep in mind is that some people may experience stomach discomfort. It's better to be safe then sorry but you may be fine drinking it on an empty stomach. I would rather not drink it straight after the BPC, especially if you use coconut oil and/or MCTs. Magnesium citrate and MCTs together may cause unwanted effects - this combination may just be too much.

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Hello - I have a question.  Do I need to put the sweetener in? I assume it isn't for nutrition, just to sweeten the drink a bit... ?  😊
Thank you - Shawnie

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Not at all! Sweetener can be skipped - or used to taste 😊

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Hi Martina. I'm new to keto and just read about this drink. I see where you can use herbal tea. Which herbal tea do you suggest. Thanks

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Hi Mimi, I like camomile, mint, ginger or linden tea but it's up to you! I think most types of tea go well with lemon or lime.

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Hi Martina! Suffering from keto flu at this very monent. I dont have potassium chloride (but I do have cream of tartar) but I really dont have magnesium. Is there any alternative for it?

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I'm afraid not in this recipe but you can increase your electrolytes by including foods listed here:
The Importance of Potassium in Low-Carb Diets
The Importance of Magnesium in Low-Carb Diets
I hope this helps!

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I just want to say how grateful I am for your Blog! I've started on this new Keto journey and am having some issues with sleep, lethargy and lack of weight loss. I knew something was up, so I've been researching symptoms, causes and solutions. By far your articles have been some of the most helpful and most knowledgeable. So, thank you again😊

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Thank you for your kind words, Jennifer!

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Can you tell me, how much ( I have McCormick non gmo, all natural) Cream of Tarter I would use instead of the potassium cloride? Thanks😊

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Hi Susan, you can do that but keep this in mind: 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar contains 165 mg potassium and 0.6 g net carbs. Compared to that 1/4 teaspoon of potassium chloride contains 560 mg potassium and 0 g net carbs.

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We are pretty hard on cash right now and can't afford a lot of fancy items.  Can I juse use a sugar free sports drink?

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Hi Amy, that's hard to tell unless I know what's inside. Many sports drinks contain sugar, and the sugar-free ones contain artificial sweeteners and colours. If you need to keep it budget friendly, use lemon juice + pinch o salt and sweetener. This won't provide magnesium and potassium but it will provide sodium and will help you stay hydrated.
For magnesium sources: The Importance of Magnesium in Low-Carb Diets
For potassium sources: The Importance of Potassium in Low-Carb Diets

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Has anyone added fat to this drink when you drink it? i.e. melted butter or MCT oil? Or would the fat block the body from intaking the Na/K/Mg? I’m not real fond of the lemon/lime flavored drink. Just don’t think I’ll care for it. There is an herbal tea I DO enjoy that I was thinking of adding the electrolytes to along with the Tbsp of butter that I currently drink in it.

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You can do that - a tablespoon or two of MCT oil sounds like a good addition but you'll have to blend it. The lemon is mostly used for flavour so you can use herbal tea instead.

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Hey Martina!
I've been using your keto-flu cure drink recipe for a while now and I love it! As I've been exploring keto I've also been learning and I recently learned a lot about sugar alcohols.
I've opted to use Erythritol as my sweeter of choice. I recently noticed that the nutrition facts state 4g carbs, and 0 calories. This baffled me, since your recipes calls for 10 servings of the stuff - have I been consuming 40g of unaccounted for carbs?!
Well my research revealed that each gram of Erythritol has less than half a calorie. So, legally they can put 0 calories since a serving is less than 5 calories. But, this no longer holds true when measuring with cups.
In reality, if Erythritol is used, your recipe has an additional 8 carbs and 4 calories per serving. I believe there is a similar increase with stevia and basically any sweetener but I only have the numbers for Erythritol.
I should note that, as a sugar alcohol, our bodies don't absorb nearly as much as regular sugar. I'm not a nutritionist, so I am unsure the exact effect on keto, but my understanding is to treat each carb-calorie as the true carb count. (In the case of Erythritol, it's half the carbs listed on the label.) The Atkins diet says to subtract all sugar alcohols from net carbs, like with fiber.
Hope this interesting and informative, would love to see your recipe updated with these stats and encourage readers to an even better understanding of what we are putting into our bodies.
-Heather

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Hi Heather, the labelling on sweeteners is a bit confusing because they are often listed "per serving" so when they are listed per tablespoon and the calories are less than 1, they are listed as "zero". Also, the label lists "carbs" but most of them are sugar alcohols with zero effect on blood sugar, thus zero effective/net carbs. Here's more about sugar alcohols and how I count them (some of them do affect blood sugar): Complete Guide To Sweeteners on a Low-Carb Ketogenic Diet
In short, I count all calories in sweeteners as carbs, even in erythritol - just to be on the safe side. Most people deduct them fully but I think that's a bad idea as it can lead to overconsumption of LC sweeteners. This means that I count 4 g net carbs and 20 kcal per 100 g of erythritol.
This may also help: Total Carbs or Net Carbs: What Really Counts?

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I made this yesterday. It is soo good! Prior to that, I was lightheaded and had a bad headache for 4 days straight (have been on keto since 1.1.18). Since yesterday - nothing! No headaches, fully concentrated and full of energy.
I underestimated the importance of electrolytes. This is a lifesaver!

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Michelle, thank you for your lovely feedback!

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I am making this and when I put it into my Fitness pal it tells me that the total carb for one serving (1/6) of the recipe is over 7 carps per serving.  I'm using the Swerve confectioners sweeter and for every 1 tsp its 3 g of carbs.  For a 1/4 cup that would be 12 tsp which is 36 carbs?  I don't get how your recipe is saying the teach serving is only 1.7 Carbs?  If you follow the recipe per your instructions, each cup is 7.1 carbs?  I even went to your other sweetener option and it was 6 carbs per 2 tsp so the same.  Please advice.

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Hi Robert, mfp and other apps use crowdsourcing to collect their data - they are unreliable. Also, Swerve is mostly made of sugar alcohols with no effect on blood sugar and little to no calories. Here's more about our database and what we do to prevent that: Barcode Scanning and Food Database in the KetoDiet App

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I already take 400 mg magnesium daily. Should coconut water do it for me if it fits into my macros?

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If it fits into your macros, you can have coconut water. However, due to it's relatively high-carb content., I would not rely on it as the main source of potassium. There are better keto alternatives: The Importance of Potassium in Low-Carb Diets

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Electrolytes are a very important part in a Ketogenic way of eating. I had to learn it the hard way! I had no energy to do the basic home and work stuff and I was going like that until I got severe muscle cramps. Once I upped my electrolytes, everything started to be normal again!! Great recipe!

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I used 5 packets of true lemon powder and it tasted great! Awesome recipe 😊

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Is the Natural Calm measurement on this a typo? I'm looking at the bottle right now and it says one TSP = 205mg. 2 TB would = 1230mg and the RDA is 400mg. 2TB is almost 3X the RDA.

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Hi Lesia, that would be the case if you were to drink 6 cups in one day. I only have 1-2 cups per day. Recipe makes 6 cups and 2 cups will provide 100% RDA magnesium.

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This recipe is awesome. Instead of herbal tea I used Crystal Light (Raspberry flavor; has 0 carbs but tastes really refreshing and tasty, IMHO). The result was pretty much like a Gatorade-like flavor. Seriously, I liked it. A tad salty, of course, but just like Gatorade.
I can't speak to how well it works. What I thought was Keto flu ended up being something else. Regardless, the end result was tasty and refreshing.

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Thank you, I'm glad you like it!

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What's crystal light sweetened with?

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Crystal Light is sweetened with aspartame. Most low-carbohydrate diets recommend avoiding aspartame.

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This stuff is a life saver!!!  I drink 2 cups every day before and during fasted workouts.  No more lightheadedness.  I no longer use sweetener.  I mix 1 cup with water to make up a liter and drink 2 of those.  I recommend it to everyone starting Keto or IF.  THANK YOU!

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Thank you for your kind words! I'm glad you like it, and I agree with you on the sweetener - I rarely use any 😊

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