My Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet: Day 39 + Potassium Review

Nuts are a rich source of potassium

Nuts are a rich source of potassium

Weight: 157 lb

Transgressions: extra 0.5 oz sunflower seeds (above the 1 oz nut allowance)

Exercise: none


My nutrient analysis at NutritionData suggests that the un-supplemented Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet may be deficient in potassium.  Here’s a summary of potassium physiology from UpToDate:

Potassium’s Role

Fluid and blood mineral balance.  Cell integrity.  Muscle contraction.  Nerve transmission.

Dietary Sources

Very high in molasses, seaweed, dried figs.  Nuts, dried fruits, avocado, wheat germ, spinach, bran cereals, tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, winter squash, oranges, bananas, kiwis, cantaloupe, and meats (ground beef, steak, pork, veal, lamb).  Also salt substitutes (potassium chloride). 

Centrum multivitamin/multimineral supplement has very little potassium.

Signs of Deficiency

Weakness, easy fatigue, paralysis, belly distension, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps, numbness or tingling, sore muscles, heart rhythm disturbances.


You have a several options if you have minor signs or symptoms suggesting potassium deficiency: 1) consult your physician for an accurate diagnosis, 2) have your physician draw a blood level of potassium , 3) increase your intake of potassium-rich foods (e.g., meats, avocados, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli) for a few days and note your response, 4) try a salt substitute (potentially dangerous if you have kidney disease or your blood potassium is already high and you don’t know it).

If you have physcal signs or symptoms to a moderate or severe degree, consult your personal physician.


Disclaimer:  All matters regarding your health require supervision by a personal physician or other appropriate health professional familiar with your current health status.  Always consult your personal physician before making any dietary or exercise changes.


Filed under My KMD Experience

4 responses to “My Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet: Day 39 + Potassium Review

  1. Have you played around with the DASH approach? It’d be nigh impossible to get the recommended 4+ grams in a ketogenic diet without a supplement as most of the high K content also corresponds to high carbs.

  2. Isaac-
    The DASH diet is a healthy diet for the general public. As you know, its a “way of eating” rather than a weight loss program, designed to reduce blood pressure. It’s healthier than the standard American Diet.


  3. Eeek, that’s not good. Sounds scary to me.

  4. Hi, Darya.

    Low potassium (hypokalemia) is potentially very serious. Normal serum potassium is 3.5 to 5.0 mEq/L. If a patient in the Emergency Department is below 2.9 or so, they are placed on a heart monitor so we can pick up heart rhthym disturbances while treating the hypokalemia with an intravenous infusion.

    I always try to give a full and balanced picture of the topics I cover. So here’s some perspective. At least nine in 10 cases of hypokalemia doctors see are related to gastrointestinal losses (diarrhea, vomiting), drugs (diuretics [“fluid pills”], steroids, albuterol), and hyperventilation.

    Even at the height of the latest low-carb eating craze (around 2002), we didn’t see an appreciable uptick in hypokalemia cases.

    Multiple published studies over the last 10 years have established the safety (at least short-term) of very low-carb eating for people who are healthy at baseline. The high drop-out rates aren’t due to medical complications such as deficiency states. It’s the lure of carbohydrates, for most people.