Kimmi Katte



Potassium is another vital electrolyte that requires attention on a ketogenic diet. Potassium is involved in many important biochemical processes in the body including, but not limited to:

  • Blood pressure regulation
  • Facilitation of hormone production
  • Smooth muscle function
  • Muscle contraction, nerve and heart function
  • Protein synthesis
  • Hydration homeostasis
  • Bone mass protection

There are several conditions or factors that may change (increase OR decrease) your individual need for potassium. If you’re low in magnesium, have adrenal stress, perform intense physical activity, undergo cortisone therapy, experience diarrhea and vomiting, getting older, have liver disease or any kind of renal disease, have Cushing’s syndrome, heart failure, Bartter’s syndrome, Paget’s disease, Addison’s disease, or if you over-indulge in coffee, tea, alcohol, sugar, or laxatives, then you should have your potassium levels monitored by your doctor.

Medications are a common cause of potassium imbalances. Many medications and classes of medications affect potassium retention, absorption, and/or utilisation. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • ACE inhibitors
  • Beta-blockers
  • Diuretics
  • Pain relievers
  • NSAID’s
  • Steroids
  • Antimicrobials
  • Beta2 –receptor agonists
  • Insulin
  • Mineralocorticoids and glucocorticoids
  • Phosphodiesterase inhibiters

If you’re taking any of these medications (or any medication that might alter the way your body handles potassium), you should have your potassium levels monitored by your doctor.

What does low potassium look like?

  • Weakness, or cramping of the muscles
  • Myalgia (muscle pain)
  • “Heaviness” or difficult in moving limbs
  • Fatigue
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Abdominal cramping, bloating
  • Constipation
  • Arrhythmias or palpitations
  • Passing large amounts of urine or feeling thirsty most of the time, and this is probably the more common sign of being low on both sodium and potassium. It’s also a huge flag for diabetes, so if you are concerned, please get medical advice
  • Hypotension
  • Unexplained bruising or bruising easily
  • Unusual psychological behavior, like a worsening of depression, confusion, or hallucinations

Many of these signs and symptoms can be an indication to get a medical evaluation – if you’re concerned please do that, but no matter which dietary protocol you follow, don’t neglect the importance of potassium!

Which foods contain potassium?

Best sources of potassium in fatty foods

  • Pumpkin seeds – ¼ cup = 236mg
  • Sunflower seeds – ¼ cup = 225mg
  • Hemp seeds – ¼ cup = 480mg

Best sources of potassium in protein

  • Bacon – 3.5oz (100g) = 565mg
  • Powdered egg whites – 1oz (28g) = 322mg
  • Pork – 3.5oz (100g) = 360mg
  • Beef – 3.5oz (100g) = 269mg
  • Salmon – 3.5oz (100g) = 628mg
  • Trout – 3.5oz (100g) = 450mg

Best sources of potassium in keto friendly carbohydrates

  • Beet greens (cooked) – 1 cup = 1309mg
  • Swiss chard / silverbeet (cooked) – 1 cup = 960mg
  • Spinach (cooked) – 1 cup = 839mg
  • Kale (cooked) – 1 cup = 296mg
  • Avocado (mashed) – 1 cup = 807mg
  • Mushrooms (sliced, cooked) – 1 cup = 555mg
  • Fresh raw parsley – 1 cup = 332mg

Other sources of potassium

  • Lite Salt / Lo-Salt (contain sodium chloride and potassium chloride) – ¼ teaspoon = 325mg
  • Morton Salt Substitute (contains primarily potassium chloride) – ¼ teaspoon = 604mg
  • Potassium citrate – ¼ teaspoon = 483mg