Table of Contents
- Hungry on Keto: Main Causes
- Dairy Intake: Over-dependence on Plant Based Types
- Fiber: Keep Hunger in Check
- Inadequate Sleep: Stimulate Hunger Hormones
- Insufficient Water Drinking: Cause Thirst to Mask as Hunger
- Stress: Prompts Overeating
- Off late, keto diet definitely make a buzz in diet domain.
- This diet provide with many health and mental benefits.
- Hungry on keto may cause due to a lot of reasons – lifestyle type nature of diets etc.
- Unnecessary hunger also can the outcome of sleep disorder or prolonged stress.
Ketogenic diet gains popularity among all other diets in recent times. Celebrities and athletes are the main harbinger of this diet as it helps enhance their performance in their respective fields.
For most keto dieters, leading a ketogenic life is like living in a wonderland. After entering into the keto realm and getting the magic wand – ketosis – after a few weeks, they find themselves lighter enough that they feel like they can fly like a fairy, all the foods cravings are gone on exile, hunger demon doesn’t pay any visit to their mind and finally they got the feeling that they conquer the maleficent: overcoming psychological obsession with food.
However, like other diets, this diet is not free of side-effects. After achieving ketosis, one may feel fooled as s/he gets hungry on keto constantly. They feel duped because they were told that this diet is meant to be hunger free.
Hungry on Keto: Main Causes
After experiencing all those magic of wonderland, keto dieter sometimes feel themselves like a fish without water. Facing all those bodily benefits, people make complaint that they still feel hungry all the time. If our stomach roars every now and then after curbing in all those delicious carbs intake, taking adequate protein and heavy fat, then followings might be the cause of our hunger:
Dairy Intake: Over-dependence on Plant Based Types
Presence of carbs and digestive problem make dairy milk out of keto food list. Though consumption dairy milk on keto diet has become a controversial issue, according to registered dietitian Abbey Sharp, RD,
“You have to consume dairy with full fat (not almond milk, coconut milk, hemp milk, pea milk) in order to get all necessary nutrients that will help feel satiated.’’
There is nothing comes as natural as dairy milk. It contains all the necessary nutrients in a balanced way: carbs, fat, protein. Also, it is full of various vitamins and minerals.
On the flip side, plant-based milks inject some extra nutrients artificially. Among many others nutrients, Vitamin D, B12 and Calcium to name a few. Besides, some people are allergic to nut-riddled milks and coconut milk is prohibited in FODMAP diets.
All these dairies are good in keto diet, however they don’t suit all people. Besides, they can’t provide us with the feel of fullness as they lack full fat of natural dairy.
Bottom Line: Plant-Based Dairy Issue
Full fat dairy milk contains full fat and other nutrients that help us feel full. Besides, plant-based dairy doesn’t suit every person.
Fiber: Keep Hunger in Check
Fiber, one of three types of carbs, is a very essential nutrient for our body. Most carbohydrates are worn out to sugar molecules. However, fiber can’t crumble into sugar molecules rather it transpire through our body undigested, helping to keep hunger in check.
Our stomach’s exhausting rate gets sluggish if it is filled with fiber-rich foods as it takes a bit of time to digest comparing to low-fiber foods.
Moreover, fiber-ridden foods induce the discharge of hormone that helps control our appetite. They also trigger short-chain fat generation that provide us with the vibe of satiated.
One thing we have to keep in mind that there are various types of fiber and some dominates over other when it comes to keto-friendliness. Experts suggest for soluble fiber intake or fiber that mixes with water easily, as they are more satisfying than unsolvable fiber. Some sources of soluble fiber are:
- Sweet Potatoes
- Brussels sprouts
Therefore, foods full of fiber help us feel satiated. Nuts are full of fiber but contain low net carbs. So we can easily incorporate this food in our keto foods list as it will add more fiber to provide the vibe of feeling fuller. You can learn more about keto nuts on Best Keto Friendly Low Carb Nuts.
Bottom Line: Fiber issue
Fiber less foods may always make us hungry as fiber plays a big part in reducing our hunger and providing us a feeling of fullness.
Inadequate Sleep: Stimulate Hunger Hormones
When our body does not get enough sleep, this sleep deprivation may lead to decrease in production of hormone Leptin. As a domino effect, it may trigger an increase in Ghrelin. These two hormones work in opposition to control our hungry feeling.
Leptin Hormone – An Introduction
Leptin is one of the hormones of the body that creates strong correlation between our body fat and obesity. In fact, this hormone stems from our body’s fat cells. Experts often dubbed it as ‘starvation hormone’ or ‘satiety hormone’.
It derives from Greek work lepton, meaning ‘thin’. This hormone usually gives us the feeling of satiated. Adipose cells (i.e. body fat) are basically responsible for this hormone production.
The main job of this hormone is to send signal to hypothalamus that our body has stored enough fat and become necessary to burn it. At one stage, the hypothalamus halts hunger signaling and provide a vibe of fullness in the other parts of the body.
Ghrelin Hormone – An Overview
It originates from Indo Proto European word ghre, meaning ‘to grow’. Ghrelin is created in our stomach, then go to our brain through our bloodstream. Ghrelin is dubbed as hunger hormone as it triggers appetite, and helps stimulate fat intake. This hormone concealed by the intestinal system when our stomach lacks foods.
Ghrelin involves in many other functions like leptin, but it primary objective is to work as an energy watchdog. It regulates the response of energy through sending signal to the hypothalamus that the stomach is void of foods and thus switching on the hunger feeling.
Leptin Resistance: Prevent Signalling to Stop Eating
It is very akin to insulin resistance and classified as hormonal dysfunction. In fact, Dr. Jason Fung, a world-leading professional on intermittent fasting and low carb, finds a great correlation between leptin and insulin resistance and considers they are interwoven. Our body emits insulin when blood sugar level raises. Besides, one of the insulin’s main roles is to signal our body to pile fat.
Then here comes leptin in action. When in response to insulin’s signal, our body stores fat and then these fat stock leads to leptin discharge. These leptin release signals our body to stop eating so that stocking fat would stop in response.
Dr. Fung articulates this state very neatly and if we quote,
“If we continue to eat fructose, causing insulin resistance and persistently high insulin, then we will also persistently stimulate leptin. Like all hormones, a persistently high hormone level leads to downregulation of hormonal receptors and the development of resistance. So persistently high leptin levels eventually leads to leptin resistance, which is exactly what we see in common obesity. So, lean people are leptin sensitive and obese people are leptin resistant.’’
To narrate it in simple terms, when our body produces excessive insulin, as a shield mechanism the cell receptors begin battling it. In order to expose the cells and stacking fat, these receptors need more insulin.
The same theory applies for leptin. Unwarranted leptin means our body cells stay put reacting to it like insulin. Subsequently it needs more leptin for our body to make a signal that fat storage is no longer needed and end transporting hunger hints.
Related Article – Keto Insomnia: Effect of Excessive Energy
Bottom line: Inadequate Sleep issue
Lack of sleep leads our body to drop blood leptin levels. Change in sleep pattern also plays a part in increasing level of ghrelin which triggers our appetite.
Insufficient Water Drinking: Cause Thirst to Mask as Hunger
For our, in fact all living creature’ survival water is imperative. Water involves in so many functions – from digestion to waste discharge – in our body that without it our body would simply collapse. However, below we will discuss about as to how it affects us while we are on keto diet.
During my college years, my roommate in dormitory used to mumble to himself or during nap time he used to throw his arm and legs around uttering gibberish. He was a brilliant student but always looks somber. Initially, I thought he was going through some sort of depression but later it turned out that he was too busy with his study that he used to drink very little water. Sometimes a few sips of soda to quench his thirst.
I can’t recall or never wanted to know as to whether he led a ketogenic life or not. However, effect of dehydration on keto diet can be more severe.
Thirst and Hunger Relationship
By nature, keto diet is dehydrating. So, it is obvious after starting the keto diet we tend to feel dehydrated quite often. This phenomenon happens because during first couple of weeks of keto diet, our body flush out a lot of minerals that was earlier held on to by glucose molecule. We know, glucose level drops when we limit our carb intake.
Our feelings for thirst and hunger can be intertwined. Therefore, the part of our brain that signals for thirst can also be responsible for inferring hunger.
Sometimes we wake up early in the morning and feel hungry like a wild wolf. Dehydration is a possible reason behind this cause. It might look like a small issue and too easy to avoid it. But ask a seasonal keto dieter, s/he will tell you the importance of keeping us hydrated.
So to deal with this issue we can drink a lot of water a pinch of salt as salt will help replenish some of those lost minerals.
So the rules is whenever we feel hungry, we should drink a glass of water and wait for 10 – 15 minutes. After waiting that amount of time we would get to know whether we ae really hungry or we are just dehydrated.
Bottom line: Insufficient Water Drinking
Dehydration can cause thirst to guise as hunger. Whenever we feel hungry, we can drinking a glass of water and 10-15 minutes later we will get to know what our body truly demands.
Stress: Prompts Overeating
‘Stress eating’ is an established truth now. Stress releases some hormones that prompt people to overeating. Interestingly, short term and long term effects of stress are different. Let’s find out how it pans out.
Short Term Effect
Mr. Alex, a keto dieter, in the office, during lunchtime among colleagues finds his meals taste blend. Even though foods are prepared by the same cook and does not make any alteration in his keto food menu. A big deadline is looming in the horizon and he has stressed out.
For a short period of time, stress can kill our hunger. When we stress out, our nervous system sends a signal to the adrenal gland to release out the epinephrine hormone. This hormone initiates an acute physiological response that puts appetite on a pause momentarily.
Long Term Effect
Ms. Susan, also a keto dieter, has had breakup with her boyfriend lately. It has been long three weeks now, but she can’t overcome that stress. During that phase, she gains some weight because for last two weeks she has been indulging herself on eating especially those carb-rich foods. No matter she feels hungry or not, she eats sporadically.
In the long run, the dynamics of the eating change when stress persists. Remember, adrenal gland, the perpetrator of hunger control. This time it pump out another hormone termed cortisol. This hormone plays a big part in increasing our appetite.
Besides, this hormone may boost up our impulse in general, including the impulse to eat. Once a stressful affair comes to an end, cortisol level must decrease. However, if stress continues or a person gets trapped on the rut of stress – cortisol may stay higher.
Findings on Researches
A survey conducted by American Psychological Association revealed that one out of four people rank their stress level more than 8 on a scale of 10.
An experiment conducted on women to find out their foods intake pattern when on stress. Number of subjects participated on that study were 60 and they were divided into two groups – one open to stress and other stress-free.
After the tryout, the result showed that stress-stricken women had eaten more calories during the course of experiment. Besides, they had the tendency to take more sugary foods than women who were stress-free.
In a controlled setting, British researchers conducted an ingenious experiment that revealed that people who exposed to stress having high cortisol were leaned towards snacks in reply to stress in normal life. Whereas, subjects with low cortisol level did not show that much inclination towards snacks.
Bottom line: Stress Issue
Stress-free life can help control those hunger inducing hormones. Workout and deep breathing can help us in this cause.
Unwarranted hunger is a symptom that our body is in need of foods. Hungry on keto may cause due to a lot of reasons – lifestyle type nature of diets etc. However, experts put emphasis on unnecessary hunger hormones for this issue.
Moreover, if our diets lacks properties – like fiber or fat – that provide us with fullness or cut cravings. Unnecessary hunger also can the outcome of sleep disorder or prolonged stress.
If hunger visits us frequently, it would be better to evaluate our diet and lifestyle. Furthermore, we can make alteration to above-mentioned causes of hunger on keto.