Keto Diet

How To Deal With Hunger On Keto Diet?

hunger on keto diet

For most people, the high-fat, low-carb, moderate-protein keto foods of the ketogenic diet are highly satiating and greatly reduce hunger. However, some people find they are still hungry when taking keto, especially when first adapting. There are several reasons why people can feel hungry on keto foods, and fortunately, they all have very simple solutions. 

Reasons Why Hunger on the Keto Diet

Eating Foods not Rich enough in Fiber

not engouh fiber

Fiber can help you feel fuller, so a fiber-rich diet is important if you want to feel full. The benefit here is that it’s easy to make your keto foods richer in fiber. For example, foods like sauerkraut are low in carbohydrates but rich in fiber, so you can keep your keto diet while adding more fiber to help you feel fuller.

Mistaking Dehydration for Hunger

In the immediate transition to ketosis, your body flushes fluids after metabolizing the glucose stored in your muscles. During this time, it is easy to become dehydrated and your body can mistake dehydration for hunger. 

Researchers speculate that for our hunter-gatherer ancestors, hunger and thirst, and the associated eating and drinking, were relatively closely coupled activities. And these mixed signals are still present in modern life, despite easy access to food and drink.

Not Getting enough Sleep

not enough sleep

Precision Nutrition states that when you don’t get enough sleep, your body doesn’t produce enough of the hormone leptin, which leads to an increase in gastrin, which triggers feelings of hunger. If you’re wondering if your lack of sleep is causing you to feel hungry, rather than introducing a keto diet, try getting more sleep. If you’re well rested but still hungry, there may be another piece of the puzzle to figure out.

Not Moving Enough

Contrary to what you may think, a sedentary life, where you sit at a desk or in front of a screen all day, can actually increase your hunger. 

Exercise, on the other hand, suppresses the hunger hormone called gastrin and can increase feelings of satiety. 

While counterintuitive in our modern environment of easy access to food, for our ancestors, feeling hungry while sitting was the impetus to go in search of more food, which wasn’t always easy to come by. 

Feeling less hungry and full after exercise can help curb competitive overconsumption of food after a successful hunt. 

Hunger due to Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety are other factors that can be mistaken for dietary choices when feeling hungry on keto. Studies have shown that chronic stress and high cortisol (stress hormone) levels in the blood increase the hunger hormone gastrin and are associated with weight gain and obesity. 

Tips to Reduce Hunger on Keto Diet

1. Eat more Fat

eat more fat

Make sure you meet at least 70% of your caloric intake from healthy fats. You’ll feel less hungry when your macro needs are fully met. Eat butter on your veggies, keto fat bombs, bulletproof coffee, etc.

2. Eat enough Protein 

Protein makes you feel fuller by reducing your hunger hormone ghrelin.

3. Drink Water

Those hunger pangs could just be from thirst. Drink plenty of water to make sure you stay hydrated. 

Some studies have shown that drinking water can help you feel more full, so you may consume less food at your next meal.

If you feel hungry, drink 16-24 ounces of water and wait about 15 minutes to see if you still want to eat. Try a light and refreshing keto drink like berry water or a keto-friendly soda alternative like Zevia or La Croix!

4. Avoid Processed Food

avoid processed food

Leptin is a hormone that signals your brain to stop eating. In those who have leptin resistance, leptin does not stop the hunger response and you continue to experience hunger and cravings. To reverse this, you must avoid processed foods, do regular exercise, get good sleep, eat enough protein, and add more soluble fiber to your diet.

5. Avoid Foods that Stimulate Appetite

If you greatly reduce your carbohydrate intake, you will automatically avoid foods that drive appetite and trigger cravings. Foods high in sugar or flour and fat – such as cookies, crackers and other baked goods – have been shown to activate the brain’s reward centers in susceptible people.

These highly palatable foods can be difficult to stop eating, making it nearly impossible to take just one bite. Also, be aware that even low-carb sweeteners can have this effect on some people.

 For best results, avoid them altogether to control appetite and banish cravings for sweets.

6. Ditch the Artificial Sweeteners

When you say goodbye to sweet sugars, it’s easy to turn to artificial substitutes like sucrose. For many keto dieters, these sweet substitutes give your body false hope and can actually increase your sugar cravings. Most health experts recommend avoiding or limiting artificial sweeteners. Studies have shown that sucralose has little to no effect on blood sugar and insulin levels, but this may depend on several variables, such as diabetes. Some studies have shown that these artificial sweeteners can raise insulin and blood sugar levels in some people.

7. Exercise

exercise, hunger on keto diet

Exercise is a great way to support weight loss efforts, but it’s also beneficial if you want to stop hunger pangs on keto. Several published studies support this idea: exercise suppresses the production of the hunger hormone gastrin while increasing compounds that help you feel full, such as PPY, GLP-1 and PP.

8. Find a Distraction

Those hunger pangs may actually just be a craving for something sweet, salty or sugary. Find a distraction and something else to focus your time and energy on so you’re less likely to eat comfortably or get kicked out of ketosis.


Although it can be a challenge, you can curb hunger and cravings. In addition to eating a nutritious, low-carb diet, learning to distinguish true hunger from the desire to eat for other reasons is key. Try to avoid foods that stimulate your appetite or trigger cravings.

Most importantly, honor your hunger and provide your body with the nutrients it needs to be healthy, strong and satisfied.

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