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Do I need extra potassium on a low-carb diet?

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Updated October 14, 2013

Do I need extra potassium on a low-carb diet?
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Question: Do I need extra potassium on a low-carb diet?
Answer: Although a low-carb diet followed as is usually recommended generally supplies ample amounts of potassium, the first week or so can cause potassium stores be lower. This is because glycogen (which is how the body stores carbohydrate), is depleted at first. Since glycogen is bound with potassium, there can be rapid loss of potassium in the body during the first week or two. Additionally, going on and off of a low-carb way of eating can be a problem, as this can repeatedly deplete and replenish glycogen, possibly causing even more diminishing of potassium. Mostly likely, people who have been eating a potassium-rich diet won't be bothered by this, but there are exceptions.

The scientists at the National Academy of Sciences have increased their potassium recommendation from 3500 to 4700 mg per day. This is because getting more potassium seems to help some people with high blood pressure and possibly insulin resistance. Many people do not get this much potassium in their regular diets, mainly because they eat a lot of processed foods. A low-carb diet should not be low in potassium since fresh whole foods, which are the mainstay of our diets, supply the most potassium. Good sources are meats, vegetables, some fruits, and dairy products.

Symptoms of Low Potassium (with links to causes and treatment) from eMedicine Health.

Quick Potassium Quiz: Which of the following foods is highest in potassium?


a) 1 cup yogurt
b) ½ cup cooked spinach
c) 1 medium banana
d) ½ avocado
e) 1 cup cooked chopped broccoli
f) 1 4 oz pork chop (boneless)

Find the Answer Here

Source: Glycogen storage: illusions of easy weight loss, excessive weight regain, and distortions in estimates of body composition, SN Kreitzman, AY Coxon and KF Szaz American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol 56, 292S-293S

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