11 Reasons You Feel Hungry On The Keto Diet

There are a lot of questions when it comes to keto. I’ve seen many people having trouble sticking to the lifestyle because they have trouble feeling full and satisfied.

Why am I starving on the keto diet? You shouldn’t be hungry if you’re following a ketogenic diet correctly. If you are, you need to identify what’s causing the hunger and correct it.

Do you feel like you’re always hungry on keto? Keep reading to find out what you might be missing and how to fix it.

You’re Not Eating Enough

Since many people are using keto for weight loss, it might seem crazy that I’m leading this article off by telling you to eat more, but if you’re starting the lifestyle, that’s exactly what I’m doing.

Think about other diets that you’ve started, specifically ones where you cut calories and fat. What do they have in common? The fact that you were starving and wanted to eat everything you saw. That’s probably the reason you eventually gave up.

Keto is a different beast. You get to eat all the healthy fat you cut out in previous diets, which helps keep you full. So why are you starving? It’s because your body is playing tricks on you! You’ve been feeding it carbs and sugar. It isn’t happy to no longer be getting those things and is signaling to your brain that it wants some.

Don’t give in! While calorie counting will be necessary eventually, you don’t want to focus on that when you first start keto. Instead, eat when you feel hungry. Just make sure you’re staying within your allotted carbs for the day. As you become keto-adapted, the hunger will fade, and then you can focus on calories as well.

If this didn’t fix your problem, let’s try to figure out what’s going on.

Electrolyte Imbalance

Keto will naturally cause your body to create lower amounts of insulin because it simply won’t need it. At the same time, the glycogen stored within your body is being depleted and used for fuel.

As your body uses up the glycogen, your kidneys stop retaining water and begins excreting it instead. Along with the water, electrolytes are pushed out as well.

This is important because the nutrients in electrolytes, specifically potassium, magnesium, sodium, and calcium, are essential to your body’s function. Some of those critical functions include your body’s ability to control its temperature, heartbeat regulation, and contraction of the muscles.

Since your body may not be getting enough nutrients, it will send signals to your brain that it’s hungry. Unfortunately, it can’t tell you what specific nutrient is missing. You’ll feel like your starving, and your body hopes you’ll consume the right foods to fix the problem.

When you’re doing keto, it can be difficult to enough of these important electrolytes from the food you’re eating. Fortunately, you can take an electrolyte supplement to replace these nutrients, alleviate hunger, and feel better overall.

See Our Recommended Electrolyte Supplement!

You’re Consuming Hidden Sugar

As sad as it is to say, sugar has become an ingredient that you have to actively avoid because it is virtually everywhere. It’s become so common that it’s almost difficult to find food items that don’t contain some form of sugar.

The worst thing about sugar is that it doesn’t always just say sugar on the ingredient label. Instead, manufacturers like to disguise it so the products don’t seem as unhealthy. This isn’t good for those of us who know that sugar will knock us out of ketosis. What’s worse is that it causes your blood sugar to spike, making you hungry.

Here’s what to look for:

  • Condiments, dressings, and marinades – It’s common for these products to be sweetened with things like brown sugar or honey. They also may contain flour, cornstarch, or similar products to thicken them. Look for these on the labels.
  • Alcoholic Beverages – There are beverages out there that are low in carbs. The trick is to keep it to one or two beverages. That can be super hard to do when you’re drinking. If you don’t think you can do that, stick with something like vodka that doesn’t have any carbs and sweeten it up with flavor drops.
  • Fruit – While considered healthy, most fruits contain too much sugar for a ketogenic diet. Want to know which fruits are best for keto? Click here for my previous article for the answers.
  • Mass-produced low-carb products – This is a category that will affect people differently from person to person. Maltodextrin and dextrose are both merely a sugar alias, so you want to stay away from those. Sugar alcohols such as maltitol, sorbitol, and xylitol may behave like sugar in some people by causing a blood sugar spike. If you feel hungry after consuming these, check your blood sugar and eliminate them if they’re leading to a spike.
  • Medication – I know what you’re thinking. There’s no way medicine can interfere with keto. That’s what I initially thought, but I was incredibly wrong. The most common culprits are antacids and cough syrups, both of which are usually flavored with sugar. Check out the label to see the ingredients. Many pharmacies now have a diabetic section that includes a variety of sugar-free medications.

You’re Sleepy

Do you notice that you’re starving when you wake up in the morning? Instead of going to sleep at a reasonable time, do you lie in bed playing on your phone or binge-watching seasons of television shows? If so, this may be your main reason for being hungry.

When you don’t get the amount of sleep your body requires, it often rebels against you be reducing the amount of leptin it produces. When you don’t have enough of this hormone in your bloodstream, your body is tricked into believing it’s hungry. The solution? Try to sleep for eight hours each night, or at least as close to that as you can get.

Your’e Not Eating Enough Fiber

Eating foods that have a high fiber content goes a long way towards making you feel full. It’s so easy to add fiber to your diet. It’s as simple as adding foods such as flax seeds, avocado, almonds, pistachios, raspberries, broccoli, cauliflower, and other delicious, fiber-rich foods to your diet.

Adding these options to your meals will help keep you feeling full over a more extended period of time.

You’re Stressed

ny progress you make on your diet can be wiped out quickly if you’re a stress eater. This is because stress leads us to make decisions at the spur of the moment instead of thinking about why we’re doing it and the consequences of what we’re doing.

Think about the last time you were stressed about something happening at work or in your private life. What did you want to do? Did you think about going home and cooking a healthy meal, or did your mind go straight to candy, cookies, and fast food? If your answer was the unhealthy options, you might be a stress eater.

Unfortunately, being a stress eater doesn’t work on a ketogenic diet. No matter what kind of eating plan you’re on, mindlessly eating because of stress will eventually lead to added pounds you don’t want.

The best thing you can do is figure out what’s stressing you and develop some new coping mechanisms. In the meantime, keep some keto-friendly snacks around so you can get through the stress with as little damage done to your diet as possible. Some of the best options include Keto Nut Butter, Keto Chips, and Pork Rinds.

Now, once you figure out what’s causing that stress, it’s time to put those new coping mechanisms to work. Meditation and exercise are two of the best stress-relievers out there. You can try to spend time with your family, reading a book, or playing games. Find a hobby that works for you are start there.

You’re Not Eating Enough Fat

How many times have you been told that eating too much fat is bad for you? We’re pretty much taught that as soon as we were old enough to take our first health class. In reality, if you eat low carb and low fat together, you’re going to feel hungrier than you’ve ever felt before. This is thanks to the fact that fat is going to be where you get your energy.

With little to no carbs in your system, fat is going to be your fuel, and you don’t want to deprive yourself of it. If you’re finding it difficult to get enough fat in your diet, try adding fatty cuts of beef, pork, chicken, and seafood. You can also eat nuts, avocado, full-fat cheese, sour cream, ghee, heavy cream, and real butter.

Eating plenty of fat keeps you feeling full and provides you with the energy you need to get through your day. With that said, it’s easy to overdo it with fat, and that’s not something you want to do. Figure out your macros and stick to them as closely as possible.

You’re Not Getting Enough Water

You might think you’re hungry, but have you had enough water to drink? If not, it’s possible that instead of hungry, you’re just dehydrated. So why do you think you’re hungry if your body wants more water?

Some of the foods you eat, especially those with lots of salt, act as a fast track to water by helping your body preserve as much as possible. When your body requires hydration, your brain can’t distinguish between the two, so it sends hunger signals.

One of the easiest ways to tell whether or not you’re hungry or just thirsty is to think about what it is your craving. Do you want something salty? If so, that might be an indication that you should try a glass of water. Gulp that down and if you’re still hungry 15 minutes later, go ahead and grab something to eat.

You’re Exercising Too Much

I want to make it very clear upfront that I’m not telling you that you should avoid exercise. It is totally encouraged that you get yours, especially if fat loss is your goal for doing keto. With that said, you have to make sure you aren’t going overboard with it.

When you begin a diet that restricts carbs and workout intensely at the same time, your body is going to have a hard time keeping up with so many changes. One thing you’ll notice is that you’re going to feel like you’re always hungry.

The more exercise you do, the more calories you’re going to burn. If you’re not eating enough to offset some that you’re burning, you’re going to feel hungry. Add the fact that your glycogen will be depleted; your hunger will get even more intense. Get your exercise, but do so at healthy levels.

You’re Bored

Many of us mindlessly eat because we’re bored, not because we are hungry. This phenomenon happens to a lot of people, not just those who are following keto.

Why do people eat out of boredom? There are so many possible reasons. Something boring, like a project for work or an assignment from school, will lead us to eat so we have something else to focus on.

Another common reason is staying up at night to watch a sporting event that started late or making it through to the end of your favorite television show.

The third most common scenario is when you’re at a get-together. It can be a birthday party or gathering with friends to watch a sporting event. No matter what it is, it’s almost a guarantee that you’ll find a food spread, and when there’s tons of food, it’s easy to graze on it to pass the time.

Even though eating when you’re bored is relatively common, you want to get a handle on it because it could have some dangerous effects on your health. Not only can it lead to obvious things like weight gain, but it can also turn into regular binge eating.

If you can’t figure out how to stop eating when you’re bored because you don’t think twice about it, make it a point to track every single thing you put in your mouth. If you’re mindful of everything to consume, it’s easier to stop.

You’re A Cheater

Cheat meals are a hot topic among those who talk about keto. I’ve heard every excuse in the books as to why having cheat meals are good to do. Some people say that cheat meals, which typically turn into full cheat days, weekends, or even weeks, is good because it resets your body, allowing you to burn more fat when you return to keto.

Although this sounds good, these “facts” are all made up, presumably by someone who didn’t want to feel guilty for carbing up on the weekends.

When eating a ketogenic diet, the entire purpose is to get your body into ketosis. When this happens, the fat-burning begins, and you want to stay in ketosis at all costs.

Think about this. Every time you give in and fill up on carbs, you’re kicking yourself out of ketosis, which you worked hard to get into in the first place. While you’re not going to gain all your weight back immediately, you will have to start the process of getting into ketosis all over again.

Did you experience a horrible keto flu? Well, guess what? You’re probably about to experience it again. Going through that may be enough for you to give up entirely, and that’s not something you want to do.

I’m not telling you never to have a cheat meal. We all have them from time to time. I’m saying that if you’re regularly cheating, you might want to think about trying a different diet because keto isn’t going to work for you.

Related Questions

What fruit can I eat on the keto diet? The best fruit options for keto include avocados, lemon, blackberries, watermelon, tomatoes, strawberries, cantaloupe, and raspberries.

What age should someone start keto? There is not a minimum age to begin keto. Exhaustive studies have been conducted that show keto is safe and beneficial for all ages, from newborns to older men and women.


Derek Masters

Derek Masters is an Amazon best-selling author. After much research, he began keto at 381 pounds in the middle of 2019. Losing 60 pounds and counting, he wants to share what he's learned with others who wish to learn about the ketogenic lifestyle

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