About Keto Diet Leg Cramps
Keto Diet

What to Do About Keto Diet Leg Cramps?

If you know something about the keto diet, you’re certainly no stranger to the keto flu. While this high-fat, low-carb diet can help with weight loss and even help treat certain diseases, it can still have many side effects. It is also often referred to as the keto flu because most of the symptoms are similar to the regular flu. These adverse effects include headaches, fatigue, constipation, hair loss, bad breath, insomnia, keto leg cramps, and more.

Today’s article focuses on what causes keto leg cramps, and how to prevent and relieve the symptoms.

Why Does Eating the Keto Diet Cause Leg Cramps?

Calf cramps are not pleasant, and I’m sure most people have experienced them. It’s not uncommon to experience leg cramps after starting a keto diet; in fact, it’s one of the classic symptoms of keto flu, and it can happen day or night. Leg cramps due to ketosis are usually caused by mineral imbalances in the body (such as magnesium, sodium, and potassium) and dehydration.

1. Dehydration

After eating a keto diet for some time, your body will change its metabolism from using glucose as an energy source to using ketones for energy, which will first consume all the glucose.

Glucose is usually tied up with water, so as glucose becomes less available, water is lost along with it. This is why many people lose weight quickly after starting a keto diet because all they lose is water. However, this can also lead to dehydration. Studies have shown that dehydration is a potential cause of leg cramps.

2. Electrolyte (mineral) Imbalance

Electrolytes are essential for many key functions of the body (such as cellular conduction). They include sodium, magnesium, chloride, potassium, calcium, phosphate, and bicarbonate.

After starting a keto diet, blood sugar and insulin levels are lowered, which causes the kidneys to excrete more sodium ions through the urine. The body eliminates a lot of water and many other minerals (magnesium, potassium, etc.) are lost with it, and the result is electrolyte loss.

Electrolyte imbalance can cause nerve cells to become more sensitive, which in turn, can lead to stress on nerve endings, which may cause muscle spasms.

3. Other Causes

Other factors can cause muscle spasms.

  • Drinking Too Much Coffee: Caffeine stimulates muscle contraction, and it is also a diuretic, which can take away water from the body, thus leading to dehydration and cramps.
  • Exercise Without Timely Hydration: Fitness and exercise sweat more, and water and electrolytes will be lost in large quantities, if not timely hydration, it quickly leads to muscle cramps.
How to Relieve and Prevent Keto Leg Cramps

How to Relieve and Prevent Keto Leg Cramps?

The best way to prevent and treat ketosis leg cramps is to make sure you eat nutrient-dense foods, take nutritional supplements if necessary, and stay adequately hydrated.

1, Get Enough Potassium

Potassium is an essential “muscle mineral” that allows muscles to relax completely to avoid cramps. Eat foods rich in potassium, these foods include bananas, avocados, Swiss beets, spinach, onions, tomatoes, broccoli, asparagus, kale, mushrooms, etc.

2, The Intake of Sufficient Magnesium

Magnesium is involved in more than 300 different biochemical reactions in the body, one of its roles is to maintain normal muscle and nerve function, magnesium deficiency will lead to muscle cramps. Eating more magnesium-rich low-carbon food can help you replenish electrolytes. For example pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, cashews, kale, arugula, broccoli, and oysters

3, The Intake of Sufficient Sodium

Sodium helps keep other electrolytes in balance, and when you go into ketosis your body loses sodium ions due to losing a lot of water. This is why most people experience “keto flu” symptoms, such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, and palpitations, which are all related to sodium deficiency.

You can add some Himalayan sea salt to your water or drink more bone broth, especially in the early stages of ketosis when a slightly saltier diet will help you balance your fluids and electrolytes and ease the keto flu.

4, Drink More Water

Keeping your body hydrated will help reduce leg cramps and other ketosis discomforts. If you’re in the habit of working out and exercising, make sure you’re hydrated enough before, during, and after your workout. Especially if you like to drink coffee, drink more water.


The main causes of leg cramps from a keto diet are dehydration and electrolyte imbalance in the body. Eating more mineral-rich foods can help prevent and alleviate keto flu symptoms, including leg cramps.