How much salt?


(Barbara Greenwood) #1

We all know you need to take plenty of salt on keto… it helps the transition to fat adaptation, and eases fasting. At least, that’s the general wisdom.

Something came up on my twitter feed recently about a low salt diet actually increasing the risk of heart disease, and I think it said the optimal amount of sodium is 5-6g per day, which is two and a bit teaspoons of salt.

Since I’m fasting today I weighed out 5g of Himalayan Pink salt… and I am just staggered by how much salt it is. A heaped teaspoon… and that’s only about half of what they want me to get through? Anyhow - I rather like salt, so I am happy to be nibbling on it during my fast today.

But I am having a bit of a struggle accepting this is actually the amount that’s healthy. I’m sure that, since I stopped using processed foods, I’m not having anywhere near that amount… never mind the twice it.

Oops! Just horrified colleagues
(Duncan Kerridge) #2

Reading your post made me realise I’m probably not getting enough sodium - I’ve been having a bouillon drink every morning and evening which works out as 4-5g salt, but only just realised that’s only about 2-2.5g sodium. I’ve been getting occasional leg cramps at night recently which was weird as I’ve been on keto for six months with no problems. I’m going to up the salt.

(Barbara Greenwood) #3

Do you use salt in cooking as well, Duncan? Remember that some foods naturally contain sodium. You know, like cheese, and BACON.

(Duncan Kerridge) #4

I do use salt when I’m cooking, but not that much on reflection. It’s probably the rare days I don’t have bacon when I get cramps…


I think it is also partly due to our modern society getting used to refrigeration/freezing that it got us away from appreciating the place of salt in our food. I know my great great grand parents used a lot of salt in curing and preserving foods…like fish and meat. Today, I grab a filet of cod at the fishmonger or out of my freezer. However, my ancestral family would have reconstituted the dried salted cod with water before eating it.

(Christopher Wild) #6

Barbara maybe I’m wrong but from my findings 5g salt is one teaspoon. Broken up into 2-4+ doses it’s not nearly as intimidating


And there are so many kinds of tasty salts available to sprinkle on foods or eat straight - smoked, lava, himalayan, celtic, oh my!

Dr. Phinney talks about a large-scale study of sodium showing that low levels, ie. those recommended in 2016 around 2,500 mg, are actually associated with higher all-cause mortality - and that the lowest levels of mortality are at about double the currently recommended levels.

He also talks about how the risk at 8,000 mg is still lower than too little or less, such as 2,500 mg.

Dr. Stephen Phinney - ‘Recent Developments in LCHF and Nutritional Ketosis’ (Part 1)

Dr. Stephen Phinney - ‘Recent Developments in LCHF and Nutritional Ketosis’ (Part 2)

A chart from his presentation:


(Rob) #8

I use 2 heaped teaspoons (~10000mg) of Maldon Sea Salt dissolved in 1.5 litres of water with the juice of one lemon (freshly squeezed) added to provide some flavour and additional electrolyte content. I drink that throughout the day and it stops the nausea, muscle cramps, dehydration and constipation that I was experiencing before I started drinking it. For me it was a case of listening to my body and what it needed. Just some crystalline sea salt under my tongue is enough to pick me up if I’m feeling groggy.

It was after listening to The Salt Fix that I started and it’s made such a massive difference to how I feel on a daily basis. Who knew that such a simple thing could make such a massive difference!

I also salt my food when cooking, but for that I use a lo-salt option so that I’m getting a cheap source of Potassium.

Hope that helps.


Don’t you get diarrhea with so much salt in water? I make 1.5 litres as well and when I use 1 tsp salt (half what you use) it gives me the runs. Terrible diarrhea! Number 2 is completely liquid. Not fun! But if I use 1/2 tsp salt I eventually get dizzy, so I can’t win here. It’s always either too little or too much. I also add 1/2 tsp potassium because if I don’t take it I have chest pains

(Mike W.) #10

“5-6g of sodium” is not equal to 5-6g of salt.

(Mike W.) #11

(Carl Keller) #12

I have to be very conscious of daily salt and water intake to get 2 teaspoons and 8 cups respectively. One thing that I noticed has helped me with salt is Frank’s red hot sauce. I doused an ounce on 3 chicken wings and got nearly 1000 mg of salt which is about 20% of my daily needs.


oh that’s a good tip!
i’m beginning my workouts again because i feel strong enough after starting keto and today was like “welp better get that salt intake up bc electrolytes.” i proceed to dump 1 full teaspoon of salt into a mug of water with half a lemon and chug. LESSON LEARNED. PS if you have any other tips for getting enough sodium (and magnesium/potassium) i am all ears.

(Carl Keller) #15

Just be careful about ‘hidden’ carbs. Franks red hot has .7 carbs per ounce. Some hot sauces have even less carbs and some have more.

If I might cheat a little since @PaulL explains this really well:

Nov '18

My understanding is that sodium, magnesium, potassium, and calcium are all regulated by interlocking mechanisms, and that the key is being sure to get enough sodium. It certainly seems true for me, because I don’t get cramps and the other symptoms of magnesium and potassium deficiency as long as I work to keep my salt intake up.

I suspect that things get handled better in the absence of carbohydrate, for a lot of people. I find the Stefansson experiment quite intriguing, for example. Here are these two guys who go a year eating nothing but meat, and they never develop scurvy or any other mineral deficiency.

We know now that vitamin C is unnecessary in the presence of β-hydroxybutyrate, because it restores the body’s built-in anti-oxidant mechanisms. I suspect that ketones may play a role in determining how much of other vitamins and minerals we need, as well. After all, our hunter-gatherer ancestors seem to have done just fine without supplements.

(Bob M) #16

One should note that they did not take in much if any salt (depending on which author you believe). Meanwhile, if I don’t get enough salt, bad things happen.

(mole person) #17

I’ve been wondering about this as well.

(Shona) #18

If I put one teaspoon on a plate and dip my finger in it all day will that be enough ?

(KCKO, KCFO) #19

Salt is only half sodium, what you want is the sodium. 1 teaspoon per day is not enough.

This blog is a good reference:


I typically only eat salt in my food, 5g salt (not sodium) is a “good” day, I often eat less as far as I know (I don’t track my salt intake but it must be around that even if I eat only salty food and that’s rare. My food doesn’t need much salt).
It works for me even if I skip a meal (I eat once a day by default) but many people seem to need much more sodium and more frequently so listen to the signs your body gives you.
I wouldn’t force myself but if I feel the need (or just drink a huge amount of water in a short time, no idea why I would do that though), I take some salt, of course.

(Cris) #21

:wave: hi
That’s about how much I add to a liter .
I was trying 1 tsp but still getting brain fog and then I ad more salt and it pics me up .
So 2 heaping tsp for 1.5 liters .

Do you use any potassium .I’m wondering if the salt helps you keep potassium levels up without supplementing .
Sometimes if I ad potassium I get anxiety and then.
Pee/flush out the sodium .
Tonight I used it because I added salt without water .

I noticed less diarrhea when upping sodium so I’m starting to think the body is trying to lower fluid levels to up the sodium .
I think it’s best to take salt with water I do notice thirst if adding salt without fluid ie …soy sauce or salt without water .
But I think that sounds about right .
I think it’s about 5 and half tsp per gallon maybe 6 .
It’s tatses sorta like milk .