14 Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration You Should Know




Dehydration is extremely common, it’s probably one of the most common conditions I see in practice. Identifying that you are indeed dehydrated can be tricky because the most common symptoms are often very subtle. Understanding the symptoms of dehydration is extremely important to be able to treat the underlying cause of your symptom and make you feel better quickly and easily.

Below are common signs and symptoms of dehydration:




1. You are not sweating during exercise 

A clue that you might be dehydrated is if you notice that you are not sweating in a workout that typically causes you to be drenched in sweat. This is because when you are dehydrated your body will try to hold onto every last bit of fluid in your body and will not want to give any of it up.



2. Your rings are tight 

If you wear a ring(s) this is an easy way for you to notice that you might be dehydrated. If you feel like your rings are getting tighter, this may be a sign of dehydration due to your body holding onto fluid tightly which means this fluid may spill over into extracellular spaces causing puffiness – very noticeable if you can’t get your ring on or off.



3. You have muscle cramps

Dehydration is one of the most common causes for muscle cramps, most notably in the large muscles such as the calves. This is also a common sign of electrolyte imbalances, notably potassium and sodium, so be sure to be also getting electrolytes from vegetables and fruits.



4. You have dry mouth

Having a dry mouth is very uncomfortable, and a common cause for this is dehydration. Drink a couple glasses of water if this is happening and it should relieve some if not all of the dry feeling.



5. You are thirsty

Having the sensation of thirst is one of the most common signs of dehydration. This is especially true during workouts where you are sweating a ton, so make sure to always keep a water bottle on hand!



6. You have no urge to urinate

If you typically have to urinate every two hours or less, and you are now finding you have no urge to urinate and it’s been three hours, this is definitely a sign of dehydration.



7. You feel bloated and puffy

Dehydration can cause you to feel bloated and puffy and can even make your clothes feel tight. Again, this is due to your body holding onto every last drop of water and retaining all the fluid.



8. You feel constipated

To have a bowel movement, this requires your body to pull in water to the colon both mix with the bowel and to help push out the bowel. Without adequate water, this leaves a harder stool that is also harder to pass through the digestive system.



9. You have dark yellow urine

One of the classic signs of dehydration is dark yellow urine. This is because when you are dehydrated your body wants to hold onto every drop of water, and so when you urinate you will release the least amount of fluid possible, leading to concentration of salts and compounds which gives the urine the characteristic yellow color. This is why normal urine is light yellow because the salts and compounds have been diluted by water to make the urine less concentrated.



10. You feel sick to your stomach

When you are dehydrated, you are likely also lacking in essential electrolytes that are required for basic processes in the body. Nausea is a sign that something is not working correctly in your body and is a very common finding with dehydration.



11. You feel dizzy

Dehydration is a common cause for dizziness which may be due to decreased blood flow to the brain due to the lack of fluid in your body being sent to the brain. This may also be due to electrolyte imbalances that are very common with dehydration, notable sodium and potassium.



12. You have a headache

Dehydration is the most common cause of headache that I see in practice. Any stress on the body that causes an imbalance in the body’s normal function, such as with dehydration, can cause a headache.



13. Your lips are chapped

Having chapped, dry lips may be a sign that you need to drink water. Dry lips indicate a lack of moisture in the lips and mucus membranes, which happens when your body is low on water.



14. You gained weight

If you notice you gained 5 pounds in a day or even a week, this is definitely most likely due to fluid retention and/or constipation. Both are due to dehydration and is a sign you need to drink more water. It may seem counterintuitive to drink more water to decrease fluid retention, but when you are dehydrated your body will cling to every last drop of fluid unlike when you are hydrated and your body is shedding fluids as it should be.



Main takeaway…

If you have one or more of the above signs and symptoms consider the cause being dehydration and start drinking water now! The above symptoms are very common causes for dehydration but may also be signs of other serious conditions and so it is always a good idea to consult with your primary care provider. 



References

  1. https://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-06-2012/dehydration-signs-and-symptoms.html
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dehydration/symptoms-causes/syc-20354086
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908954/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4207053/
  5. https://academic.oup.com/nutritionreviews/article/73/suppl_2/97/1930742




Burn Your Own Fat For Fuel Using Ketones


Have you ever heard of a ketogenic diet? A ketogenic diet means your body is using ketones for energy production rather than sugar. Ketones are an alternative fuel source for the body, and are produced when eating a high fat and low carbohydrate diet. This type of diet is called “ketogenic” because your body is in a state of “ketosis” meaning fueled by ketones rather than sugar (aka glucose).

Here are 9 reasons why you want your body to be fueled by ketones instead of sugar:

 

1. You literally burn your own fat for energy


Your body can run on either glucose or ketones. Which would you choose? Well, when you look at what this actually means: Glucose is produced from the breakdown of glycogen (strings of glucose), this means you are burning glycogen to produce fuel for your body. Ketones on the other hand are produced from the breakdown of fat (fatty acids), this means you are literally burning your own fat stores to produce energy. You can make ketones from eating very low carb (sub 50 net carbs), fasting, or consuming a product that can induce or supply the production of ketones (such as MCT oil).



 

2. No more “Hangry”


You know that feeling when are so starving that every little thing is irritating, and you need to eat right. NOW? Terrible feeling right? Blame the carbs! After a blood sugar spike from eating carbs, this will trigger insulin whose job is to get that sugar out of your blood as fast as it can (because sugar in your blood is toxic and inflammatory), resulting in an even lower blood sugar than you started with. Low blood sugar (aka hypoglycemia) is that terrible anxiousness you are feeling. No bueno! And how do you make that feeling go away the fastest? Eating sugar. And the vicious cycle continues.

Fat is the only macronutrient that won’t raise blood sugar, and therefore won’t spike insulin. Yes, that means protein can also raise blood sugar when eaten in excess. That is why a ketogenic diet favors a higher fat and moderate protein intake.



 

3. Ketones favor less mental stress


The presence of ketones increases the production of the primary calm inducing neurotransmitter, GABA, while at the same time decreasing the primary stress inducing neurotransmitter, Glutamate. Ketones do this by assisting in the conversion of glutamate to GABA in the brain, thereby favoring a more calming state. Increasing the activity of GABA is essentially what most anti-anxiety medications aim to do as well – pretty cool you can get the same effects by just changing your diet!



 

4. Ketones favor a more focused state


For the same reason ketones favor calmed brain activity, they also favor a more alert and focused state. As stated above, more GABA compared to glutamate in the brain favors a less stressed state, meaning there is less “noise” in the brain, allowing for greater focus and mental clarity.  This is why medium chain triglycerides (MCT) are marketed as a product that can increase focus and cognition – because they give the body ketones that can be used for fuel without having to be in actual ketosis from eating low carb.



 

5. Ketones are a more efficient source of energy

Ketones and glucose are both used as fuel by mitochondria to produce energy (aka ATP) – mitochondria are the part of a cell that takes fuel (either glucose or ketones) and manufactures energy from it. When comparing the output of energy produced from the use of ketones vs. glucose, more energy is produced when using ketones, thereby making it a more efficient fuel source. The presence of ketones also up-regulates the amount of mitochondria in cells, so more mitochondria means more energy produced. This is another reason for the improved focus and mental clarity seen with a ketogenic diet. 



 

6. Ketones act as antioxidants


Research has found that ketones act as antioxidants because they protect against oxidative damage from free radicals. When ketones are used to produce energy (by mitochondria) this process does not cause the release of free radicals, as does glucose when it is used to produce energy. Free radicals aka oxidative damage cause damage to cells and aid in the development of chronic disease, cancer, cognitive decline and other brain diseases, and aging. 



 

7. Ketones may prevent cancer growth


Compared to normal cells, cancer cells metabolize a much greater amount of glucose meaning they need more glucose to thrive. Cancer cells may preferentially use sugar to fuel their growth and proliferation, and research has shown that they may not be able to use ketones as fuel. Research has also shown greater response to chemotherapy when in a fasting state inducing ketosis. There is more research needed in this area, but ketones as a preventative measure for cancer is looking very promising! 



 

8. Greater absorption of nutrients


Major vitamin, antioxidants, and other nutrients need to be taken with fat to be able to be absorbed. This includes Vitamin D, Vitamin E, lycopene and beta-carotene such as in tomatoes, and the B vitamins.  Making sure you are taking in plenty of fats will ensure you are getting the most out of your food and supplements.  

 




9. Ketones are neuro-protective


Fueling the brain with ketones has shown to help with brain disorders such as seizures, brain cancer, Parkinson’s Disease,  traumatic brain injury (TBI), and Alzheimer’s Disease. There is a widely cited case of a physician who put her husband on a ketogenic diet as treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and he improved within a couple of months. More research is needed on the direct effect of ketones for the prevention of diseases that affect the brain, but so far its looking very optimistic!

Side note: Ketones can supply up to 70% of the energy needed by the brain. It is true that your brain requires some glucose to function, but glucose can come from protein, it does not have to come from carbohydrates. It is a misconception that carbohydrates are necessary in your diet – they are not. Protein and fat are the two macronutrients your body definitely needs to manufacture all of the necessary components of the body.

All works cited can be found in the hyperlinks 

 



5 Common Reasons You’re Craving Salty Foods




Have you ever found yourself craving salt seemingly out of nowhere? Read below to learn 5 common reasons you are craving salty foods.



1. You’ve been consuming too much salt

If your diet is high in salt, then you will have a higher tolerance for salt and need more and more. Take a look at the sodium content of the foods you eat. For most individuals it is recommended to not go above 2,300mg of sodium per day.

2. You’re dehydrated

An indirect way that your body tells you that you need more fluids is to have you crave salty foods. Salt follows water meaning eating salty foods will then prompt you to drink more water to dilute the salts in your body.

3. You’ve been exercising intensely

When you exercise, you don’t just lose water but you also lose electrolytes – aka salts. Intense exercise or heated exercise causes you to sweat more, which means you will lose exponentially more salt and can cause you to crave salty foods to bring your body back to equilibrium.



4. You’ve been eating very low carb

Eating very low carb (aka keto) causes your body to shed extra water and salts. That is why it is generally recommended to add in extra salt when eating a very low carb diet.

5. Your diet is high in processed food

Processed food is generally high in sodium (aka salt) so if you regularly consume high sodium foods, you will continue to crave that higher salt content.




Sneaky Reasons You’re Packing on the Pounds During the Holidays




The dreaded holiday weight gain, many of us have fallen victim to this – but you don’t have to! Read below to learn the sneaky reasons why you are putting on the pounds during the holidays.



You’re drinking your calories

During the holidays there are many indulgent beverages that are high in carbs and calories. Some of the top offenders include egg nog (FYI: Egg Nog typically has about 20 grams of sugar per HALF a cup), seasonal coffee drinks (ex: pumpkin spice latte), and high sugar cocktails.

Fix it: It’s totally fine to have an indulgent beverage every once and a while, but once you start making it an everyday habit, that’s when the pounds can start creeping on. Be mindful of what you are drinking because those liquid calories will add up.

Desserts at the office

A cookie here, a donut there, after a few weeks of indulging on treats at the office you can start to see the pounds creeping on.

Fix it: If you are going to indulge, it should be the best of the best. Also, remember that just because a treat is offered to you, it does not mean you have to eat it.

Stress

It is very common to feel stressed during the holidays, whether it be due to family dynamics, buying gifts, traveling, cooking, etc. there are many situations during the holidays that can make you stressed. Not only is stress a terrible feeling, it can also be a factor that causes you to gain weight. Stress often causes individuals to overeat and/or reach for high carb, high calorie foods because eating carbs releases the feel good hormones in your body. Stress also causes the hormone cortisol to increase, and cortisol is a hormone that promotes fat storage.

Fix it: First identify what triggers stress for you and then make a plan of how you can alleviate that stress. Some examples of how you can decrease the stress response may include asking your spouse for help in the kitchen, saying “no” to social engagements that you don’t really want to do, exercising regularly, and getting adequate sleep.



Skipping exercise

The holiday season is such a busy time that many of us don’t make time for exercise. Exercise is what helps to keep your focus on staying healthy and serves as a reminder to be mindful of your eating. Exercise helps to prevent you from packing on the pounds way beyond just burning calories and revving your metabolism – it also boosts the feel good hormones, suppresses stress hormones, helps to prevent stress eating, boosts energy, and also just serves as a reminder to stay healthy.

Fix it: Make exercise a priority during the holidays. I always recommend doing exercise first thing in the morning because it will give you energy and decrease stress before you start the day.

Skipping meals

Skipping meals to “save up” for dinner is NEVER a good idea – it ALWAYS backfires. Why? Because when you skip a meal, not only does that make you ravenously hungry (and hangry!) but also leads to overeating and a slowed metabolism.

Fix it: Aim to eat a mix of protein, fiber, and heart healthy fat at each meal every 3-5 hours. Note that if a meal is not keeping you full for at least 3 hours, you need to eat more.

Holiday parties

Holiday parties tend to have lots of desserts and high calorie beverages, which can make it hard to stick to a healthy diet.

Fix it: Make a point to eat BEFORE the party so that you don’t fill up on desserts or other high carb foods. Sip on water at the party and stick to a two drink maximum when it comes to indulgent beverages.




EAT THIS, SKIP THAT! At Breakfast




Breakfast is the most important meal of the day because what you eat (or don’t eat) will play a huge part in how you feel the rest of the day. Yes, that one meal in the morning will affect your mood, blood sugar, hunger, and food choices for the rest of the day – wow! So what do you choose when it comes to choosing your breakfast?!

Below lists what to eat and what to skip when it comes to breakfast:




1. If you are craving pancakes…

SKIP: Pancakes 

Pancakes are high carb and low fiber (yes even whole wheat) and low in nutrients – and that’s before you add any type of topping or filler (ie syrup). Pancakes should really just be called “cake” because that’s basically what they are. There are certainly ways to make healthy versions of pancakes, but traditional pancakes are a no-no.

EAT: Oatmeal

Instead go for the gluten-free oatmeal. This way you are still getting the carbs you crave minus the sugar, and some fiber and resistant starch to keep you full. 




2. If you are starving…

SKIP: Breakfast burrito

I get it, you are starving, and a breakfast burrito sounds very tempting, but All of the ingredients in your typical breakfast burrito are filling enough! You don’t need the wrapper which has little to no nutritional value.

EAT: Omelette

Get more bang for your buck with an omelette which gives you a great combination of eggs, veggies, and maybe even a cheese or another protein which will keep you full and satisfied.




3. If you are craving juice…

SKIP: All juices (unless made only from vegetables)

Juice is basically a fruit squeezed of all its sugar and put into a glass for you to drink. When you just drink the juice you are missing out on vital nutrients and fiber which comes from the fruit itself – not it’s fluid.

EAT: Fruit bowl

Always go for the whole food rather than the liquid coming from the food. The food itself has the majority of the nutrients and all of the fiber compared to its juice.



4. If you are craving coffee…

SKIP: Everything but black coffee

When a “coffee drink” has more ingredients other than coffee, it’s not really coffee anymore. Your frappuccinos, mochas, lattes, pumps of different flavored syrups, are not doing you any good because they contain zero healthy nutrients and are just adding chemicals, sugar, and empty calories.

DRINK: Black coffee (i.e. ingredients include only water and coffee beans)

 If you want coffee, stick to the real deal, and if you want to fancy it up then get a cold brew or add a splash of almond milk. 



5. If you are craving a bagel…

SKIP: Bagel

Did you know that a standard bagel is equivalent to four pieces of bread?! This super high carb meal causes your blood sugar to skyrocket and then shoot right back down making you feel lethargic and sleepy – the last thing you want to feel like in the morning! No one needs that much carb in one sitting.

EAT: Open face egg sandwich

Add slices of avocado or another egg or protein source if you are extra hungry. Adding more protein or fat will not cause any blood sugar changes, and will keep you more full and satisfied.



6. If you are craving a bowl of oatmeal…

SKIP: Quick oats

Also referred to as “instant oats” these type of oats have been highly processed meaning they have been stripped of most of their nutritional value. And definitely stay away from the pre-packaged instant oats that have been infused with maple and other sugars.

EAT: Irish oats

Irish oats are also called steel-cut oats and are the least processed of the oats. This means they will give you the greatest nutritional value.



7. If you are cravings a bowl of cereal…

SKIP: Raisin Bran

I can’t even count how many times a patient has told me they are trying to eat healthy and so they started eating Raisin Bran. This cereal has approximately 17 grams of sugar in one serving! To put this into perspective, guidelines recommend no more than 25 grams of sugar per DAY!  And unless you are precisely measuring this serving you are likely taking in even more.

EAT: Fiber One Original

Fiber One is hands-down the best choice in terms of cereal. It is high in fiber, low in calories, and contains zero sugar. However, It’s not gluten-free, but it is the absolute best choice when it comes to choosing cereal.



8. If you are craving yogurt…

SKIP: Flavored yogurt

In general, all flavored yogurts have too much sugar. Anything over 5 grams of sugar is too much, and most have over 10 grams – no bueno. Be especially weary of “fat-free” marketing because this almost always means additional sugar has been added to give it flavor (since the fat has been taken out).

EAT: Plain Greek yogurt

Plain is the main thing you want to look for, Greek is best because this type of yogurt contains the greatest amount of protein. Still check the nutrition label because sometimes plain yogurt still has a ton of sugar in it. To add some sweetness consider adding some berries and nuts.



6 Healthy Desserts To Curb Your Sweet Tooth




Who doesn’t love a treat? Especially when the treat is actually not bad for you – woo hoo! Unfortunately, treats and desserts are either super high calorie and high sugar, or taste like cardboard and make you crave treats even more. What to do? Well, here at The Mindful Tech Lab we have a small dessert almost every single evening and below is a list of our favorite healthy treats. All are low sugar and low calorie, so you don’t have to worry about derailing your diet when consuming them. Hooray!

Below lists our favorite healthy treats:



1. Dark Chocolate

This is our number one favorite healthy treat. Always go for dark chocolate because it has the greatest amount of nutrients and health benefits, as well as being the lowest in sugar of the chocolates. Look for dark chocolate that has over 80% cocoa, because the higher the percentage of cocoa, the lower the sugar – check our the nutritional labels and compare. Note that the higher the percentage of cocoa the  more bitter the taste due to the lower sugar content, so consider starting on the lower end of percent cocoa and work your way up.



2. Berries

We love blackberries and raspberries because they are low in sugar, high in fiber, and taste great! Both fresh or frozen are good choices, just make sure if you buy frozen that it is not sweetened. A good trick is warming up frozen berries in the microwave because when it melts it tastes like pie filling! Stick to one serving of berries which is 1/2 cup, it can be very easy to triple this serving size, so pay attention to the serving size.



3. ARCTIC ZERO

We love ARCTIC ZERO frozen desserts because their products are gluten free and lactose free, and they use only natural ingredients, no artificial sweeteners and no artificial coloring. We also love that they sweeten their products with monk fruit, which is a natural sweetener and has a great taste. The main ingredient they use is whey protein, which gives it some protein and flavor. Our favorite lowest sugar flavors are Salted Caramel and Vanilla Maple.



4. Halo Top

If you are really wanting that ice cream taste and texture without all of the sugar and empty calories, this is your brand! Halo Top makes both dairy based and vegan products, but so far we have only tried the dairy based. The dairy based desserts are high in protein (around 12 grams) because they are made with eggs, milk, and cream, and low in sugar (around 5 grams) because they are sweetened with the natural sweetener stevia (a sweetener we approve of). The vegan desserts are coconut milk based and are also sweetened by stevia. The vegan products are lower in protein compared to the dairy based (about 3 grams) but are also very low in sugar (about 4 grams) which makes this product a great choice as well.



5. Plain greek yogurt with stevia or berries

This means low sugar greek yogurt, around 5 grams of sugar – very important to read nutritional labels here!! Even “plain” greek yogurt can have up to 20 grams of sugar without even tasting sweet – crazy right! Give it some flavor by sweetening with the natural sweetener stevia or monk fruitwith some warmed up berries. Watch the serving size of this and stick to 1/2 cup.



6. Hot chocolate

A low sugar hot chocolate is one of the best healthy desserts because it gives you high volume with low sugar and calories. We really like the brand Lakanto, who makes a drinking chocolate with about 2 grams of carbs and less than 10 calories per serving. We’ve tried A LOT of different products, and this one is the best in terms of taste and ingredients. It is sweetened by monk fruit, which is a natural and zero calorie sweetener. This product is also dairy free, gluten free, and vegan. Mix it with a cup of warmed unsweetened almond milk!

Enjoy!