Diet Mythbusting

How to Battle Hunger on the Keto Diet

By this point, you’ve probably heard of the keto diet, or you may be currently on it. People throughout the world are swearing by the weight loss and health benefits of the low carb keto diet; alternatively, there are also complaints of dieters experiencing trouble with hunger. In this article, we’ll dig into what keto is and how you can combat the hunger issues often associated with it.

What Is Keto?

Keto, short for ketogenic, is a popular weight-loss diet based on consuming foods that are high in fat and low in carbohydrates. While many keto users have chosen to begin the diet for weight loss, keto is also increasingly being used to help with various medical conditions. Here are some examples of benefits associated with keto:

  • Faster Weight Loss – Keto has made kick-starting your weight loss journey much more manageable. Studies have shown rapid weight loss in dieters within the first few weeks of beginning the diet; this is mostly due to your body shedding water weight.
  • Cholesterol-Lowering – For those with cholesterol problems, the keto diet has been shown to help in some cases by increasing levels of good HDL cholesterol to combat high levels of bad LDL cholesterol.
  • Help With Various Brain Disorders – Patients with seizure disorders, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s have been shown to respond well to the keto diet. In some studies, children with epilepsy have experienced an incredible fifty-percent reduction in seizure regularity.
  • Metabolic Syndrome Treatment – Metabolic syndrome can cause symptoms such as lowering of good HDL cholesterol, high blood pressure, increased triglycerides, and even higher chances for obesity. It’s been shown that, with an introduction of a keto diet, these symptoms can be treated effectively in patients.
  • Diabetic Assistance – Keto has been shown to be an effective diet for those who have diabetes. This benefit is due to the drastic elimination of carbohydrates, which helps lower sugar.
  • Potential Heart Disease Reduction – Triglycerides with the body’s bloodstream are tied-in directly with heart disease. It’s been shown that carb reduction through diets such as keto can reduce the number of triglycerides present.

Why Am I Always Hungry On This Diet?

Despite all the positive benefits touted by researchers and users of the keto diet, there’s still a commonly reported problem: hunger. Having trouble staying full for any substantial length of time can be the downfall of any diet, but why does it occur with keto specifically? Here are some factors that could be leading to your hunger:

  • Plant-Based or Low-Fat Dairy Consumption – A portion of what makes keto successful with dieters is the incorporation of large amounts of good fat. It can leave you feeling less satisfied when things like whole milk are replaced with lower fat or plant-based alternatives.
  • Not Enough Fiber – When you have a diet low in carbohydrates, it’s crucial that you incorporate fiber in as much as possible to help with feeling full. A lack of fiber-rich foods on the keto diet can definitely lead to hunger issues.
  • Too Little Food – One of the more common reasons for keto hunger is food deprivation. As long as the right food choices are made, those on the keto diet should feel the freedom to eat when they want to satisfy hunger cravings.
  • Lack of Water – As with almost any diet, it’s vital that you drink plenty of water. When you aren’t hydrating enough, your body can actually confuse its thirst for hunger and cause you to overeat.
  • Too Little Sleep – Sleep deprivation has been shown to be directly connected with an increase in hunger. This effect may be caused by a decrease in leptin hormone production, which can increase levels of hunger.
  • Boredom – Does the phrase “You’re not hungry. You’re just bored.” sound familiar? It happens! Essentially, when you’re bored or under-stimulated, eating is a way to fill the space.
  • Stress – Stress levels and emotions directly affect our eating habits, whether we like it or not. Increased hunger and overeating, although unhealthy, are often methods used to combat stress.

What Can I Do to Combat Keto Hunger?

Now that we’ve reviewed some of the root causes for keto hunger, let’s take a look at some steps you can take to combat the issue:

  • Relax – With stress being one of the number one causes of hunger and overeating, you may find it helpful to try some alternative stress-relieving methods. Consider going for a run or a walk, taking a soothing bath, or reading a good book the next time you’re feeling stressed.
  • Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate – Be sure to keep yourself properly hydrated while on the keto diet. Drinking water before meals and throughout the day can help prevent overeating and combat additional hunger cravings.
  • Skip the Fake Sugar – While artificial sweeteners can help curb your sweet tooth without the added sugar and calories, they are known to result in increased hunger and cravings. It’s probably best to skip the sweet stuff for now.
  • Catch Up On Your Zzz’s – Try to get at least six to eight hours of sleep every night. Regular sleep equals more energy and can help to reduce your body’s need to refuel as much with food.
  • Eat More Often – If you’re hungry, eat! Starving yourself in an attempt to lose more weight and cut calories could have the opposite effect and increase your appetite. Instead, focus on eating healthy food more regularly to satisfy your cravings and stave off hunger.
  • Eat Slowly and With Intent – Slowing down while you’re eating and reducing distractions can promote better hunger satisfaction and reduce your overeating chances.
  • Distract Yourself – If you find yourself often overeating during your downtime, it can help to take your mind off food by keeping busy. The next time hunger strikes, try exercising, running an errand, or reading a book instead. If you still feel hungry following your activity, it could be time for a healthy snack or your next meal!
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