A Ketogenic diet is a new form of restrictionist diet that has grown in popularity over the last ten years. It is a diet that revolves around being high in fat and low in carbs.
Whilst there are a lot of benefits of this diet, there are also a few drawbacks, including difficult symptoms that some people experience.
So let’s say you’re dealing with random leg crabs on the keto diet. You won’t be the first person to have experienced this, but that’s not much help to you.
Whilst the keto diet can be great for certain people – leg cramps are a common problem that can be difficult to deal with. If you find yourself struggling with leg cramps – don’t panic! There is a solution! In this article we’re going to be taking you through everything there is to know about leg cramps and keto.
We’ll explain why they might happen, how you can treat them, as well as some things you can do to prevent them from happening in the future. Let’s get right into it!
Frequently Asked Questions
Before we can discuss why leg cramps happen on a keto diet, let’s first take a moment to make sure we understand the science behind it.
There are many different terms for different diets, but one you’ve no doubt heard a lot about at the moment is the “ketogenic” diet.
This is a form of low-carb diet that cuts out a lot of the foods we eat in modern-day life.
The central idea is to make up most of your calories from protein and fat, and remove most carbohydrates from your diet – especially refined carbs.
The way a ketogenic diet works is that when you eat less than 50 grams (though this can vary depending on the person) of carbohydrates per day, your body will run out of blood sugar that it can use quickly.
What then happens is your body will instead look for protein and fat to break down for energy – making it a perfect way to quickly lose fat.
The process of a body burning protein and fat is what’s called ‘ketosis’ and most people on the diet attempt to remain in this state at all times.
While it’s often recommended by doctors for people who need to lose weight fast, some others believe it can be beneficial for those with a more healthy body weight.
A leg cramp can be defined as a random, involuntary muscle contraction. These are usually painful and most often affect the calf muscle.
You’re most likely to get leg cramps at night, and for most people, they last a few minutes. Despite the short amount of time, they can be very painful and cause you distress.
The truth is there is no one main reason why you might be getting leg cramps on keto, but there are a few we can discuss below. It’s clear that the ketogenic diet makes you at least in part more likely to get them.
This is a common side effect of the ketogenic diet and one that you should be aware of. It’s also fairly easy to fix! If you’ve recently switched to a ketogenic diet one thing you’ll notice is how much more you’re likely to urinate. This is because of lowered insulin levels as well as increased sodium output.
Because you’re urinating a lot more, you run the risk of becoming dehydrated – and one of the side effects of dehydration is leg cramps!
We’re not 100% sure that this is the reason why people on ketogenic diets get leg cramps, but it’s an easy one to fix – just make sure you’re drinking a lot more water!
Levels Of Electrolytes
Electrolytes are an important part of your body – they can be described as little minerals that are very important for your body. They regulate certain functions like how cells communicate with each other.
As with the previous case we outlined above – the ketogenic diet means a lot more urination, which in turn means you’re likely to lose a lot more electrolytes.
To combat this, we’d recommend adding more electrolytes to your body – you can do this by consuming dairy products, unsweetened coconut water, bananas, and water infused with electrolytes. Just make sure the food or beverage you choose doesn’t break your keto carb limit.
You can also take electrolyte supplements. These can be bought for a relatively cheap price and can be a quick fix if you’re worried about messing with your carbohydrate intake.
One thing to keep in mind is that there are many other things that could be causing your leg cramps, some of which are completely unrelated to ketosis.
You need to make sure you’re staying active and using your muscles. It could also be that some forms of medication you’re taking are not causing this issue.
We’d like to end with a small note on treating leg cramps. Leg cramps are a common thing and you shouldn’t be too worried most of the time – however, if you start to get constant leg cramps, or if the pain levels become extreme, you should make sure to contact a local healthcare professional.
That said, generally, you’re going to want to make sure you get enough water and sodium and that you’re exercising regularly.
We hope that this article has given you some insight on how to treat leg cramps and that you’re not a lot more confident about what to do should you experience them on your ketogenic diet. We wish you the best of luck in sticking to your diet and hope that it is beneficial to you.