Saturday, July 31, 2021

How I lost 100 pounds with high potassium diet: electrolytes affect metabolism and weight loss

Since my long and somewhat still ongoing bout of Covid 19, I've been researching minerals and electrolytes. You probably know the importance of electrolytes (particularly potassium and magnesium) for recovery after workout, during illness and to prevent summer heat exhaustion (which is essentially dehydration). You may know that electrolytes like potassium and magnesium boost metabolism, aid weight loss and prevent depression. 

What you might not know is how much potassium you actually need. Or how little potassium and magnesium most "sports recovery beverages" and even potassium supplements actually contain. Some can even increase dehydration.  Even drinking plain water while calorie restricting can cause dehydration. And dehydration causes water retention and obesity.  

I've discussed before how gastric bypass patients on "My 600-lb Life" always say, when they fail weight loss, that it's probably "just" water weight (as if that's somehow safer or not really overweight). Water weight is still overweight AND what's worse, long term dehydration and water retention mean your cells are failing. Your immune system fails, too. "My 600-lb Life" type obesity is a direct result of calorie-dense, non-nutritious food and beverages. 

But even calorie restricting can cause problems. During Covid 19, I didn't eat for a week and drank only plain water. I lost 10 pounds that week but also got seriously dehydrated. My body couldn't process the water because it had no electrolytes. My metabolism all but shut down and I'm still recuperating from exhaustion 3 months later.   

So I started looking into electrolytes and the role they play in weight loss. And I found that following low carb diets like keto or Dr. Now's "My 600-lb Life" calorie restricting diet, if you aren't that overweight,  can actually make it harder to lose weight. Keto disallows a lot of foods that are high potassium and magnesium. Calorie restricting often means you miss vital electrolytes and so metabolism drops. 

I lost 100 pounds seven years ago (without gastric bypass) and I included these foods on my diet. My depression was more manageable. My blood sugar leveled and pre-diabetes healed. Then I started a keto diet. I  got c.jejuni (or campylobacter) food poisoning with dysentery and dehydration, and that's when I think the electrolyte imbalance began. Although I didn't eat, my stomach bulged, I think from water retention.  My immunity dropped and depression started up again. 

So now I'm adding high potassium/magnesium foods back into my diet. Getting the RDA of electrolytes calcium and magnesium I can manage with a powdered supplement. Sodium is too easy, LOL. But the RDA of potassium is harder to hit at 3,510 - 4,700 mg. So I eat a combination of these foods daily to hit the total. 

one 800 mg potassium supplement (20%)
small sweet potato
butternut squash
regular potato
vegetable juice
purple cabbage
watermelon, cantaloupe or honeydew 
dates or dried apricots
16 oz BodyArmor Lyte 15% (coconut water is by far better than Gatorade or Propel for electrolytes)
spaghetti sauce
tomato paste

In my next post, I'll share specific high potassium diet recipes for weight loss and Covid 19 recovery. 

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