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Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu

Potassium for Keto: The Cream of Tartar Solution in Thailand

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Cream of Tartar - potassium for keto.jpg

I've talked about it elsewhere, but one of the challenges on Keto is to get enough potassium, especially because many potassium rich foods are off limits (spinach, avocado, yogurt are allowed in proportion). In any case, getting your 4,700 mg (4.7 grams) of potassium which is at the upper end of recommended dailies, given that the keto diet can flush electrolytes and that if you are sweating in Thailand you are probably losing them, can be a struggle. Getting low on potassium can give you all sorts of syndromic symptoms that you could attribute to other things, such as training too hard, etc. (I even wonder if some of the very problematic weight cutting deaths or illnesses in Thailand could be due to dangerously low potassium.) In any case, one of the easiest and most readily available sources of potassium is cream of tartar which you will find in the baking aisles of almost any super market. It looks like the container above. It's a little pricey at about $2.50 USD for a 42 gram container, like the one seen above. You can buy this in bulk (16 oz, 453 grams) online, which cuts your cost by 1/3.

What Does It Get You?

Below are the Google-able nutrition facts for 100 grams of Cream of Tartar (also called Potassium bitartrate). As these are for 100 grams, and the container is 42 grams, we do the math to get at what is involved:

100 grams Cream of Tartar.PNG100 grams potassium.PNG

Two big notes here. 100 grams of Cream of Tartar contain 16.5 grams of potassium. This is around the range of reported life-threatening levels. Potassium is essential for the healthy functioning of muscle contraction (and the heart is a muscle). This is the reason why low potassium is problematic and even can be dangerous. Extremely high potassium is also dangerous. In short, you don't want to be consuming 100 gm of Cream of Tartar.

What I shoot for is half of a small Cream of Tartar 42 gm container (like the one pictured), which is obviously, 21 gm. With 21 grams of Cream of Tartar you get:

3.46 grams of potassium which is a very significant amount, within the range of recommended allowances. Then I hope to top that off with dietary potassium like spinach or yogurt. I'm not an athlete, so this seems sensible.

On the down side of things, 21 gms of Cream of Tartar also has 13 grams of carbs. For some this is just too high. For me, being pretty fat adapted (1+1 Keto fasting maybe) it doesn't seem to be a problem. Pee test to see what knocks you out, this doesn't for me. I have heard one source say that Cream of Tartar will not stimulate an insulin response, so it is allowable even on fasts (who knows?! The internet "says".

 

All the same, it's just good to know that if you are on keto and in Thailand you can go and get yourself 3,400 mg of potassium (don't over do it!) for a slightly high carb cost, at any supermarket. If you are feeling rundown, haven't counted your potassium for a while, you might want to just get some potassium going and see if has an impact. You should feel the results pretty quickly.

One of the benefits of Cream of Tartar is the taste. It kind of tastes like nothing. Maybe a slightly tin-ny chalk. And at least for me it goes pretty well with the tin-niness of club soda. It's pretty easy to put 21 grams (half of the pictured) into the bottom of a glass, pour in a couple of ounces of club soda (it won't dissolve, it will suspend) and you're good. Alternate sources of potassium like potassium chloride have almost industrial level harsh, salt bitterness. Ugh.

 

I've started taking my 21 grams with a teaspoon and a half of pink sea salt, a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice, and lots of monk fruit extract (maybe 15 drops) to counter act the salt, in a club soda suspension shot. It wasn't too bad.

That gives me

3,460 mg of potassium

2,550 mg of sodium

14 carbs

 

I'm ordering lemon extract to add to my recipe, to intensify the salt-covering flavors (I'm not a fan of drinking salt) and bring added (reported) health benefits. I'm also considering adding a table spoon of apple cider vinegar which is supposed to increase the absorption of minerals and such (but also not a fan).

 

Just to share what I've Googled about and experienced with. Please, please do your own research, consult a physician if you have concerns, and don't overdo the potassium. This is just my rough sketch. I'm fully capable of mistakes, and I'm no paragon of health. Cream of Tartar is really just an electrolyte tool in the tool box.

 

 

 

 

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@Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu I see no mentioning of coconut water in your potassium posts? Is it because it's too sweet to be keto friendly or not enough potassium to bother? I drink it sometimes during training combined with my own sport drink (have a shot of espresso and then drink water mixed with lemon and pink salt) and it "feels" good. But I haven't done any research on it other than gut instinct which might be the result of marketing influence...

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13 minutes ago, LengLeng said:

I see no mentioning of coconut water in your potassium posts? Is it because it's too sweet to be keto friendly or not enough potassium to bother?

For me it has too many carbs (sugars are 35% fructose which is a form of sugar that knocks one out of ketosis the fastest), for the amount of potassium it has, which is still substantial.

1 Cup of coconut water:

coconut water.PNG

 

I can get 3 and a half times the potassium for the same carb cost, without the fructose. But, you are totally right to mention it. It is possible that it might not knock me out of ketosis, and it probably belongs in the tool box.

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14 minutes ago, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

For me it has too many carbs (sugars are 35% fructose which is a form of sugar that knocks one out of ketosis the fastest), for the amount of potassium it has, which is still substantial.

1 Cup of coconut water:

coconut water.PNG

 

I can get 3 and a half times the potassium for the same carb cost, without the fructose. But, you are totally right to mention it. It is possible that it might not knock me out of ketosis, and it probably belongs in the tool box.

Cool thanks for the elaboration!

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Was talking to Sylvie about this yesterday and she made a really good point. Water Loading is a pretty common weight cutting strategy for westerners - drinking lots of water for several days to prime the body to expel fluids near the cut. If you are water loading and not watching your potassium (and sodium, etc) you are basically purging your body of each. You are washing it out. If you combine that with non-ideal weight cutting towards the end this could very well be what was involved in recent high profile weight cutting deaths, or at least been a part of the complication. Extremely low potassium can be life threatening.

If you are on a ketogenic diet and not getting a lot of potassium in diet this could be exacerbated.

There might a temptation sometimes to combine Thai style weight cutting (a longer process, what you kru tells you to do) with western style method (maybe effective things you have learned back home, like water loading). We're no weight cutting experts, but reason will tell you that you want to make sure that your potassium and sodium are at good, healthy levels. Doubling up on methods and not watching your electrolytes could also produce trouble.

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20 hours ago, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

also considering adding a table spoon of apple cider vinegar which is supposed to increase the absorption of

I take probably 20mls, 4 caps full of apple cider vinegar in 1.2 ltrs of water per day. I have found this aids my various aches and pains. To the point where my knuckles and wrists no longer hurt. Everything else still hurts but to a lesser extent. I've been doing this for approximately 10 months. It takes about 3 months to notice the benefits. Just a note, my hands used to hurt that much I couldn't make a fist properly.  

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2 hours ago, Jeremy Stewart said:

I take probably 20mls, 4 caps full of apple cider vinegar in 1.2 ltrs of water per day. I have found this aids my various aches and pains. To the point where my knuckles and wrists no longer hurt. Everything else still hurts but to a lesser extent. I've been doing this for approximately 10 months. It takes about 3 months to notice the benefits. Just a note, my hands used to hurt that much I couldn't make a fist properly.  

Wow had no idea about this. Only heard about it for weight loss. Thanks both for sharing. 

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15 hours ago, LengLeng said:

Wow had no idea about this. Only heard about it for weight loss. Thanks both for sharing. 

My personal experience is that it didn't aid weight loss. But it was definitely a great benefit for aches and pains.

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Re extra potassium.  The easiest is prob to use minerale kitchen salt.  Which contains less Na and instead some K and Mg. Ie potassium and some magnesium.

 

And or drinking good minerale water,  which contain lotsa of different salts.

(If you wish you can add some glucose sugar - useful in many situations and healthier than table sugar.)

This extra useful in hot climate or doing heavy training...

 

OR having diarrhea...  🙂

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1 hour ago, StefanZ said:

The easiest is prob to use minerale kitchen salt.  Which contains less Na and instead some K and Mg. Ie potassium and some magnesium. 

These are really trace amounts compared to what is being discussed here.

1 hour ago, StefanZ said:

(If you wish you can add some glucose sugar - useful in many situations and healthier than table sugar.) 

Sugars are not allowed on a ketogenic diet.

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3 hours ago, Tyler Byers said:

Anybody tried these products before?

image.png.1549c3daf650863711be47b9cec52ad1.png

image.png.6d767d6cfbf858c994297dac088ffb3b.png

wow, you had me very excited about the Potassium Gluconate, but that 595 mg is a little misleading? There is only 99 mg of potassium per tablet, it looks like:

Potassium Glucontate.PNG

 

 

The other one looks like it's kind of interesting, if the 3,800 mg is a solid number. Pretty intense that they recommend up to 3 scoops a day, which would be pushing close to 12,000 mg of potassium, which seems a little high. Wonder what they are basing that recommendation on? I've also read that BHB exogenous ketones are pretty foul tasting.

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17 hours ago, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

These are really trace amounts compared to what is being discussed here.

Sugars are not allowed on a ketogenic diet.

Ok!  I see.  Still I think these are good advices in many situations.

Or just for giving a base.  

 

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5 hours ago, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

I've also read that BHB exogenous ketones are pretty foul tasting.

I've read this as well but don't know anyone who has actually tried them. Not real cheap either at nearly 80 per serving. If there are added benefits other than just the potassium it might be worth it though I suppose.

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Hi all picking up this thread again. 

I was at the hospital as I'm struggling with an infection, generally feeling unwell and a weird tummy. So while being loaded with antibiotics we also checked renal function which includes potassium and salt levels. When I took the test (non fasted) I was feeling pretty dehydrated. I've trained hard recently, I always sweat tonnes and my tummy has been upset so I definitely felt I was low on electrolytes. That morning I had also taken maybe half a tea spoon of sea salt which probably affected the blood test 2 hours later. 

My results were normal and slightly low on potassium. My renal function is all good and normal. I've had hypokalemia before and been seriously low on potassium and that was way worse I was feeling proper sick. This time I just felt a bit dehydrated and tired. Doc (a heart specialist) simply told me to have some fruit, any fruit, to boos potassium.

This tells me that I probably do not have to worry too much about electrolytes. Some extra salt and coconut water and avocado as part of a regular diet should be ok. This because the reference range seems to be compatible with how I feel and I can use it as an indicator. However for some, the reference range is not a good match and you can feel awful but still within normal range. 

I'm doing the test again in 3 months. It took an hour in total and cost 1000 baht. 

I definitely recommend testing before embarking on expensive supplements. 

Here my test results. Ref range to the right. 

20190724_095100.thumb.jpg.77f671f32e9fd487025bb2c371271c13.jpg

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