Do Electrolytes Make You Gain Weight?

Do Electrolytes Make You Gain Weight

Electrolytes, the essential minerals our bodies need to function, are the unsung heroes working behind the scenes to keep our physiological functions humming along. 

Lately, I’ve seen discussions on the internet and social media that electrolytes may be the culprit behind weight gain.

In this article, we’ll explore this common misconception and delve into the details, as well as discuss other factors that may be associated with weight gain.

Electrolytes: The Weight Gain Myth

a picture of an electrolyte list

While electrolyte drinks and supplements may change the number on the scale, don’t freak out—it’s likely related to excess water. Electrolytes themselves do not cause weight gain. In reality, they’re actually essential to maintain many bodily functions including regulating nerve function, muscle contractions, and fluid balance. 

There are situations where weight gain may be associated with electrolyte intake. We’ll review them below. 

Water Retention & Sodium

bag of salt

Sodium is a key electrolyte and consuming too much may lead to water retention and bloating. Think about what happens when you consume a really salty meal—the next morning you wake up feeling puffy. 

The same concept applies to salty electrolyte drinks. You may feel temporarily heavier due to increased water weight, but this is not to be confused with actual fat gain. 

That’s an important distinction. Reducing consumption of sodium via limiting electrolyte supplements or choosing options with less sodium will alleviate this effect. 

Sports & Exercise

Sports drinks were created to rehydrate athletes and replace the salt and sugar that they lose during exercise, helping the intestines to absorb fluid fast and, in turn, speeding up recovery and hydration more effectively than water. 

Individuals who engage in physical activity may be inclined to consume sports drinks such as Gatorade. There are times when these sports drinks can be beneficial but more often than not, overconsumption is a problem. 

A 2014 study found that young people who consume one or more sports drinks each day gained more weight over a three year period than those who chose other beverages. 

The bottom line is that many common electrolyte sports drinks contain high amounts of sugar and excess calories that the average person does not need. 

Using Electrolytes for Weight Loss

Electrolytes are essential for a vast number of functions in the body. While they don’t directly lead to weight loss, making sure that your electrolytes are balanced can contribute to a healthy weight loss journey in a variety of ways. 

The best way to ensure balanced electrolytes is to eat a healthy diet full of colorful fruits and vegetables, dairy, nuts, seeds, fish, and lean meats. Check out the best foods to replenish your body with electrolytes. 

Electrolytes & Hydration

a picture of a water bottle pouring into a glass

Electrolytes, namely sodium and potassium, play a crucial role in maintaining fluid balance. Adequate hydration is important for various bodily functions, including metabolism. Staying well-hydrated can help your body function optimally. 

A 25-year study from the National Institutes of Health found that adults who aren’t sufficiently hydrated may age faster and face a higher risk of chronic diseases. 

Additionally, it may not be hunger you’re experiencing but thirst! While hydration needs for the general public can be solved with plain water, it’s a good reminder that healthy electrolyte levels play a role. The lesson here? Always stay hydrated. 

Metabolism and Magnesium

magnesium and metabolism benefits

Magnesium, an essential mineral and electrolyte, is key to managing the body’s metabolism. It’s role in energy production, glucose metabolism, muscle function, and bone health is explained below.

First, it’s a cofactor for many enzymes involved in energy metabolism and plays a critical role in the conversion of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins into energy. 

Second, magnesium is involved in insulin action, which is important for glucose metabolism. Proper magnesium levels are associated with improved insulin sensitivity, which is crucial for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. Oral magnesium supplementation has even been shown to improve glucose parameters in people with diabetes. 

Third, magnesium is essential for proper muscle function as it is involved in the contraction and relaxation of muscles, including the heart. As we know, muscle function is important for physical activity and overall energy expenditure.

Finally, magnesium is crucial for maintaining bone health. Why does this matter for weight loss? It works alongside calcium and vitamin D in bone formation and mineralization, supporting a healthy skeletal system.

Scientific research supports the use of magnesium supplementation for weight loss, with studies showing significant improvements in body composition and metabolic health.

When choosing a magnesium supplement, opt for forms using magnesium citrate and magnesium glycinate, known for their high bioavailability. Dosages used in studies range from 250 mg to 365 mg per day. 

Remember that while magnesium can be helpful in your weight loss efforts, it’s essential to pair supplementation with a balanced diet and regular physical activity for optimal results.

DIY Electrolyte Drink

an image of DIY electrolyte drink recipe

Making your own electrolyte drink can be a great way to save money. The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) is a simple combination of a carbohydrate, salt, and water: 6 teaspoons of sugar, ½ teaspoon of salt, and 1 liter of clean water. 

There are many other recipes online for DIY electrolyte drinks. My personal favorite is a citrus combination: ¼ cup orange juice, ⅛ cup lemon juice, 1 cup coconut water, 1 tablespoon sweetener (cane sugar, honey, maple syrup), and a pinch of salt. 

FAQs About Do Electrolytes Make You Gain Weight

Does drinking electrolytes help with losing weight?

While drinking electrolytes is not directly correlated to weight loss, making sure your electrolytes are in balance is critical in any healthy diet. Thus, eating a highly processed diet and expecting to lose weight is not a great option. 

Do electrolytes make you retain water?

Electrolytes, especially sodium, impact water retention within the body. Sodium plays a crucial role in regulating fluid balance. An electrolyte imbalance can disrupt the flow of water into and out of cells and tissues. 

Eat too much salt and you may feel bloated. Combat this by increasing the amount of potassium in your diet as this can help the kidneys get rid of excess sodium. Try a banana or avocado toast. 

What happens if you drink electrolytes every day?

While the average healthy adult won’t experience any adverse effects from drinking electrolytes daily, it is not necessary to consume them through electrolyte sports drinks unless you are working out intensely, training for a marathon, or are an elite endurance athlete. 

Furthermore, there are certain instances in which it is dangerous to overdo electrolyte supplements such as those with kidney or heart issues. Always speak to a doctor before consuming electrolyte beverages in this case. 


Elizabeth Walker | Registered Dietitian

Elizabeth Walker | Registered Dietitian

Elizabeth is a registered dietitian in private practice and a freelance writer, passionate about functional nutrition and holistic wellness. She is dedicated to continually learning about the latest evidence-based research in the nutrition field. Elizabeth holds a BA in Strategic Communication from The Ohio State University, as well as an MS in Human Nutrition from the University of Illinois, Chicago. Her background is multifaceted, with experience in public relations, marketing, clinical dietetics, and corporate wellness.

Learn More About Elizabeth

More posts from Elizabeth Walker | Registered Dietitian

One thought on “Do Electrolytes Make You Gain Weight?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


“Overall Mike and his company EverFlex are awesome. Not only do they always have a positive and encouraging attitude, but are able to personalize the sessions to fit my needs. They are always able to provide in depth explanations of each of the exercises, and a back story on their importance! Mike definitely makes the gym a better and less intimidating place!”

Taylor Brown

“Best trainers I have ever had the privilege to train with! I have been training with Mike for the past 7 years, after searching for a specialist that could help with active recovery of a sport related injury. Not only did Mike get me back to normal and active again, but he has helped to optimize my fitness and overall health. Work outs are always fun and challenging, tailored to the achievement of personal goals. Mike is knowledgable and passionate about his field, strives to be current with fitness trends and personal education, and genuinely cares about the well being of his clients. Thank you, Mike, for keeping me healthy, active and in a state to enjoy my many pursuits!”

Carrie Ferguson

“I’ve trained with Mike since before EverFlex started up and he’s dedicated to making sure that your training is specific to your fitness levels and needs. He gives diet and lifestyle suggestions that are easy to integrate into your daily routine and is incredibly knowledgeable and personable.”

Trevor Hunt

“Since training with Mike at EverFlex for the past couple of years, my overall strength and fitness has improved dramatically.  I am now able to perform exercises I would never have attempted on my own and continue to see both physical and mental gains at the gym.

Mike is always willing to share his expert knowledge and answer any questions I come up with. His knowledge on nutrition is admirable and his dedication to helping people is commendable. Mike’s sessions are always fun, and he continues to mix up every training session, so it never gets boring.”

Lisa Atkins

Book Your Consultation

Get in touch with our expert trainers to discover how EverFlex and the Fitness AutoPilot (Beta) can get you closer to your wellness goals. Prioritize your health and connect with us today.

    EverFlex Personal Training App