Fluid Retention

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/31/2023

I frequently run into this situation: A person tries to lose weight after dieting, with very little results. Upon testing the individual, I often find out that most of the weight is water weight. We have a machine to detect fluids inside the cells versus outside the cells. I recently had a guy come into the office who was 170 pounds overweight; we found it was mainly water, not fat. You can see it around the eyelids, fingers, arms, belly, and especially the ankles. If your socks leave indentations on the ankles at night, then suspect water retention.

Ironically, these people are also dehydrated inside the cells. How could this be? Have you ever been told that you need to drink 8 to 10 glasses of water per day? Who told you that? It’s one of those “everybody knows”.

In most cases of dehydration, you CAN’T fix it by drinking more water. Why? It is because the real problem relates to minerals/salts and the hormones that transport them. Ninety percent of the potassium in a body is inside the cells while most of the sodium is outside. When these two minerals are out of balance, you can get water retention and dehydration at the exact same time. All the water in the world won’t correct it. The adrenal (stress) glands are the main glands that transport these salts. You actually lose salts when the adrenal glands get weakened. You might even crave salt. But eating typical salt products such as chips or popcorn will just cause more water retention. This is because you’re giving the body only two minerals, which are not in the correct proportion or balance.

I’m sure you’ve been told that salt is bad for you and will promote high blood pressure. Yes, table salt probably will, but sea salt will never do this.

To correct fluid retention and dehydration, you need to increase intake of high-potassium foods—vegetables. You might even have to juice certain vegetables, such as celery, beet, carrot, radish, and red potato.

There are a few reasons why someone may experience fluid retention on a ketogenic diet. One reason is because the body is adjusting to using fat for fuel, and it may take a few days or weeks for the body to become efficient at this. Another reason may be due to eating more salty foods than usual, as salt can cause the body to hold on to water. Finally, some people may be more susceptible to fluid retention than others.

If you are experiencing fluid retention, there are a few things you can do to help alleviate the symptoms. First, make sure that you are drinking plenty of water. This will help your body to flush out any excess fluids.

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