4

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Thirsty all the time on Paleo diet

Asked on November 03, 2014
Created August 29, 2010 at 3:01 PM

I've been eating Primal/Paleo for nine months. My diet has been shifting, somehow on it's own, towards pretty low carb. Recently, I get really thirsty, but I can't seem to slack my thirst, no matter how much or often I drink. I am 5'5, female, weigh about 113, and otherwise feel fine, with lots of energy. I'm fairly certain I'm not drifting towards diabetes, although weirder things have happened. Does anyone else experience what seems like excessive thirst or have any ideas what might be going on if they do?

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on January 22, 2012
at 03:05 PM

"Face it, Grok did NOT walk around with a canteen or an Evian bottle affixed to his loincloth." Dear Mark, Grok didn't walk around with a box of Primal Blueprint Damage Control either. This is exactly why people hate Grok now :)

25b45b848fefc9297bfdb31b4777bc8b

(0)

on January 13, 2012
at 09:44 PM

Someone goes on a radically different diet and only then has unquenchable thirst, and it's a "hallmark symptom of diabetes?" Doesn't make sense.

C16d506f10d910db0736bfd0d0e3809a

(10)

on January 01, 2011
at 09:49 PM

I also felt much less thirsty after switching to paleo. I've always been a thirsty person, but just didn't think about it the way I used to once I went paleo/primal. It's been about three months now, and I do get thirsty now and then, but not back to the pre-primal levels.

C0fcb48d7da4f76fac17318efd2cd6b8

(4069)

on September 02, 2010
at 12:26 AM

OK, I'll try this. Makes sense.

3f61ba25dff05b513c7769a22408169a

on August 30, 2010
at 04:00 PM

I think what he is talking about is the idea that your body will not warn you with thirst in time for you to rehydrate. Comes from the adage that says that by the time you are thirsty it is too late, you are dehydrated. In other words, he is saying to listen to your body.

07154e6d8e42065f230d06249700fe5b

(2057)

on August 30, 2010
at 03:20 AM

It's funny, I spent all day today at a renaissance faire walking around and didn't drink much water because it was so expensive (I did have pickles on sticks and two massive turkey legs though :P) - I had maybe three bottles all day. By the time I was on my way home I was so dehydrated that I couldn't seem to focus on anything properly - and just finished drinking two litres of water. I'm still a bit thirsty, but it's amazing how different I feel. I was ready to crash, but now I barely feel tired at all. I get what Mark is going for there, but I think the theory doesn't hold.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on August 29, 2010
at 05:24 PM

Agreed, caffeine only has significant effects in subjects who aren't entirely caffeine-resistant.

C0fcb48d7da4f76fac17318efd2cd6b8

(4069)

on August 29, 2010
at 04:39 PM

Don't have frequent urination and urine is mostly relatively clear.

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on August 29, 2010
at 04:13 PM

Caffeine is only a significant diuretic in subjects who do not consume it regularly, or modify their dosing.

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on August 29, 2010
at 04:13 PM

Give us more details. Do you urinate frequently, is it relatively clear? Are you exercising and sweating it off more. How much water do you drink?

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on August 29, 2010
at 04:12 PM

Are you urinating more, is it clear? Are you sweating more, change up your exercise? More details appreciated.

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13 Answers

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3
E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on August 29, 2010
at 03:28 PM

Yes! I'm glad some-one else has mentioned this. The two main theories I've heard to explain this are a) that ketosis is intrinsically diuretic, thus leading to more water loss and b) that increased protein causes increased dieuresis. Eating an appreciable amount of carbs and moderate protein seems to alleviate this. The only other time I have a marked thirst is when I've been drinking large amounts of caffeine or something tannic (both, again, diuretic).

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on August 29, 2010
at 05:24 PM

Agreed, caffeine only has significant effects in subjects who aren't entirely caffeine-resistant.

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on August 29, 2010
at 04:13 PM

Caffeine is only a significant diuretic in subjects who do not consume it regularly, or modify their dosing.

3
5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on January 01, 2011
at 08:30 PM

When I get into ketosis with high protein, I get a lot more thirsty (gallon plus through the day). Never in the "can't drink enough" state though.

As portlandallan mentioned, you should be taking electrolytes like potassium and magnesium when you're drinking a lot of water under ketosis. Otherwise you can have some inbalances there.

2
5740abb0fa033403978dd988b0609dfd

on January 01, 2011
at 05:47 PM

Another cause of a seemingly unquenchable thirst is paradoxically low electrolytes. I first read about this in kon-tiki. The sailors discovered adding a little salt water to their potable water quenched their thirst.

In my own experiences bike commuting in the summer heat, if I don't use a little gatoraide powder as a recovery drink, after a couple days it will catch up to me and I'll get an unquenchable thirst.

Compared to the amount of salt added to junk-food, someone on a Paleo diet could be getting far less than they are used to.

2
6ec71fad80c744d16220bab99f9fbc60

on August 31, 2010
at 04:13 AM

Generally, I find my liquid intake decreases when I'm primal/paleo, but every once in a while, I'll realize I am so thirsty. Often, I'll realize that I'm eating way too much bacon and/or sausage, or that I've forgotten to read the ingredients on some sauce and the sodium contents are sky-high. Jerky (even relatively unseasoned homemade stuff) makes me pretty thirsty too.

Maybe try keeping a food log for a few days and note how much liquid you are drinking as well.

2
7431586c21bca496c5a7ec7bd0ca4d6e

(974)

on August 31, 2010
at 12:27 AM

The more protein you eat, the more water you need. The body needs water to get rid of the waste products of protein. Higher fat, less protein.

C0fcb48d7da4f76fac17318efd2cd6b8

(4069)

on September 02, 2010
at 12:26 AM

OK, I'll try this. Makes sense.

2
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on August 30, 2010
at 03:20 AM

Could be that you have cut out some of your liquid sources because they were not paleo. Cutting out fruit and sodas and stuff is cutting out liquid.

From a theoretical perspective, it might be that your body needs time to adapt to a new biological mechanism and that my through off your water retention and excretion system just a bit for a while until the system has time to adapt.

Another possibility is that your body is trying to flush out poisons and wants more water.

Another question is are you really drinking a lot or are you just drinking more than you used too? If it's really a medically large amount, then you should probably go see a doctor just in case. But if it's still within a normal amount of consumption, it may be that you are just noticing a change but it is nothing serious.

For me, it was actually the reverse. I felt much less thirsty when I switched to paleo. Carbs make me thirsty. If I cheat and eat more than a bit of carb, then I will invariably feel very thirsty for the next bunch of hours. I have noticed that most people I know drink a lot more water than me even before I went paleo, but that is enhanced now. However, I feel fine and don't worry about it. When I go out in the desert, I try to drink more water but everyone around me always drinks more. I end up carrying a bunch of water and the only one who drinks any is my dog. I just tote them around but don't remember to drink it. I keep my eye out for signs of heat stroke (heat ache, etc) if it's hot, but so far, seems like it's not an issue.

C16d506f10d910db0736bfd0d0e3809a

(10)

on January 01, 2011
at 09:49 PM

I also felt much less thirsty after switching to paleo. I've always been a thirsty person, but just didn't think about it the way I used to once I went paleo/primal. It's been about three months now, and I do get thirsty now and then, but not back to the pre-primal levels.

2
8287c6ddae0d78eae0a09fdd5999617c

(2581)

on August 30, 2010
at 01:38 AM

I'm not sure it sounds smart to recommend that people get their water mainly from food. My guess is humans would naturally live around sources of fresh water. Today we don't really have clean tap water so filtered water is better for health. The irony is that most people think drinking directly from a stream is "gross" but a lot of them are willing to put up with tap water.

Most animals need a lot of water and I don't think we're any different. Thirst, like hunger pangs telling us we need food, is a feeling that tells us we need water.

That's just my opinion and I don't mean to demean your experience or insinuate you might not be excessively thirsty, some people are trying to say that water isn't that important like Mark Sisson does.

"Face it, Grok did NOT walk around with a canteen or an Evian bottle affixed to his loincloth." - Mark Sisson

That's true Mark, but the San people use ostrich eggs as water containers. That's just one example of something occurring in nature humans can use as a water container, there is bound to be more.

07154e6d8e42065f230d06249700fe5b

(2057)

on August 30, 2010
at 03:20 AM

It's funny, I spent all day today at a renaissance faire walking around and didn't drink much water because it was so expensive (I did have pickles on sticks and two massive turkey legs though :P) - I had maybe three bottles all day. By the time I was on my way home I was so dehydrated that I couldn't seem to focus on anything properly - and just finished drinking two litres of water. I'm still a bit thirsty, but it's amazing how different I feel. I was ready to crash, but now I barely feel tired at all. I get what Mark is going for there, but I think the theory doesn't hold.

3f61ba25dff05b513c7769a22408169a

on August 30, 2010
at 04:00 PM

I think what he is talking about is the idea that your body will not warn you with thirst in time for you to rehydrate. Comes from the adage that says that by the time you are thirsty it is too late, you are dehydrated. In other words, he is saying to listen to your body.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on January 22, 2012
at 03:05 PM

"Face it, Grok did NOT walk around with a canteen or an Evian bottle affixed to his loincloth." Dear Mark, Grok didn't walk around with a box of Primal Blueprint Damage Control either. This is exactly why people hate Grok now :)

1
07c86972a3bea0b0dc17752e9d2f5642

on January 01, 2011
at 11:28 PM

Unquenchable thirst is a hallmark symptom of diabetes. Maybe you should see a doc.

25b45b848fefc9297bfdb31b4777bc8b

(0)

on January 13, 2012
at 09:44 PM

Someone goes on a radically different diet and only then has unquenchable thirst, and it's a "hallmark symptom of diabetes?" Doesn't make sense.

1
D9f1e6ba838dd6617cecb0214dad4093

on December 31, 2010
at 09:52 PM

I'm usually not thirsty except for the day after I workout, I mean no amount of water gulping seems enough! I wonder if intense physical exertion and low-carb could cause this?

1
94649ed01075cadd9e5057e69b6809ab

on December 31, 2010
at 07:14 PM

IM also like this but its mainly from the body cleaning itself out and to help digest protein. you should drink plenty of water before a meal. and drinking coffee and other things like that also dehydrate the body. it will go away on its own once the body is done cleaning and renewing itself

1
0fb8b3d6dcfb279b0f7e050d2d22510f

(4645)

on August 31, 2010
at 12:12 AM

I'm NEVER thirsty- I have to remind myself to drink water (or anything)

1
5672b2d190891342389e764cc4056ca9

(1304)

on August 30, 2010
at 12:31 AM

Veggies are an important source of water, and a large amount of our daily intake of fluids should come from them. Perhaps you don't eat enough veggies? How is your salt intake? Fish naturally contains high amounts of sodium.

1
9cc4c3c974e216e2fba16a6a4276e75c

on August 29, 2010
at 06:15 PM

I'm not sure why this happens -- but it happened to me! It was the most intense during the first few weeks of starting a moderately low-carb paleo diet.

I was incredibly thirsty with no other symptoms. Eventually it went away - not sure why it stopped, either.

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