Still Hungry on Low Carb? Top 10 Reasons Why Hunger Hangs Around

Young Bird Screaming for More Food
Still hungry on Low Carb?
Get the scoop on how to tame the hunger beast!

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Most people experience a dramatic drop in hunger and cravings after going Keto, but in some people hunger can persist.

In this post, I'm going to share the top 10 reasons why you might still be hungry after severely restricting carbs and explain what you can do to conquer that beast.

One of the major benefits of choosing a low-carb lifestyle is the way that restricting carbohydrates dramatically curtails your hunger pangs.

Instead of:
  • being obsessed with food
  • plotting out your next meal
  • fighting with your sweet tooth
  • and white knuckling your way through the afternoon munchies
Most people who lower their carbohydrate load find themselves with a dwindling desire to eat. Hunger on a low-carb diet is relatively rare.

If you've never experienced being too busy to stop for lunch or forgetting to eat, a low-carb diet can introduce you to that pleasurable phenomenn.

Many, many people report that they lost all interest in food once they entered into the state of ketosis.

But what if that doesn't happen?

What if:

You've been on Keto for nearly a month now, but you still feel famished and maybe even more hungry than you were before you started dieting?

You have better energy and dropped a size or two, you admit, but the hunger . . .

Those hunger pangs are still pretty awful, especially when the hectic day is done, and you're sitting in front of the television, trying to relax.

You know you ate a substantial low-carb meal an hour ago, so you shouldn't be feeling ravenous.

But you are.

If your low-carb diet hasn't been as satisfying as you thought it would be, here are the top 10 reasons why hunger might still be hanging around. You'll also get some helpful advice on what you can do to overcome the raging beast.

Pinterest Image: Chicks Fighting Over a Worm and A Hungry Worm with a Knife and Fork

Reason #1: You are Leptin Resistant

I'm starting with leptin because:

Your leptin levels, and whether or not the brain (the whole central nervous system, actually) is able to recognize those leptin levels, sits at the heart of other top reasons for still being hungry on a low-carb diet.

Your triglyceride level is one of the major reasons why those who are overweight or obese feel ravenous and still preoccupied with food.

For most people, feeling famished on a low-calorie, low-fat diet has nothing to do with eating less fat, or even the caloric reduction.

Hunger level is mostly about leptin.

Leptin is the major player in regulating your body's fat mass, and hence, your hunger hormones.

Since leptin is a protein secreted by your fat cells, the more body fat you have stored away, the higher your leptin level will be. The less body fat you have, the lower the leptin.

When the body and brain are functioning correctly, fat cells produce leptin, which moves through the bloodstream and into the hypothalamus section of the brain by way of capillaries.

Capillaries are the tiniest blood vessels you have. In the brain, capillaries have super-tight junctions, so they are particularly careful about what they let seep into the brain.
Mechanical Scan of the Brain in the Public Domain
Leptin binds to hypothalamus receptors
and communicates how much body fat you have.

The hypothalamus has leptin receptors that leptin binds to, alerting the brain that your fat cells are full. In response, the brain lowers hunger and ramps up the metabolism to make good use of all of that excess body fat.

As body fat is used and fat cells shrink, less leptin is produced, so lower amounts of the hormone reach the receptors in the brain. The lack of filled leptin receptors tells the brain that your fat stores are low, and that they need to be refilled again.

Hunger goes up and body temperature goes down, encouraging fat storage.

Fat storage is not about the insulin.

Low-carb experts (including me) have had that wrong for a very long time. The insulin hypothesis isn't reality.

Reality is this:

Fat storage and fat burning are about how many triglycerides you have running around in your bloodstream, and other hormonal actions, than it is about insulin.

Here's why:

In 2004, a study published in the scientific journal, Diabetes, by William A. Banks and colleagues, took a closer look at the tie between triglyceride levels and the level of leptin in the brain.

This study was an outgrowth of previous studies.

Prior studies found that the large majority of overweight and obese individuals do not have leptin deficiency. Leptin deficiency does happen, but it's extremely rare.

If you are overweight, you have super high levels of leptin in the bloodstream. Injecting you with more leptin, which is what scientists first looked at, won't reverse the condition.

Leptin injections can help when leptin levels fall due to dieting, but that wasn't what the scientists were looking at.

Banks hypothesized that something was blocking leptin's ability to pass through the blood brain barrier (the lining of the capillaries) because fasting partially reduced leptin resistance and allowed leptin to bind to the receptors in the brain.

Starvation, on the other hand, makes leptin resistance worse, and ignites a strong drive for seeking out food.

Therefore, what the researchers were looking for was a substance in the bloodstream that went up during periods of starvation, but went down when fasting.

Triglycerides are the Key to Understanding Leptin Resistance

One substance that fit the above scenario is triglycerides.

Triglycerides are elevated during obesity and periods of starvation, but they tend to go down when someone fasts for a couple of days, allowing leptin to get into the hypothalamus and bind with its receptors.

This is exactly what the study found to be true.

The fat in full-fat milk consists of 98% triglyceride, and feeding obese mice whole milk immediately blocked leptin's ability to pass through the blood brain barrier. Feeding the mice non-fat milk did not. Neither did vegetable triglycerides.

Treatment with gemfibrozil, a drug designed to lower triglycerides, also enabled leptin to get past the blood brain barrier and bind with the leptin receptors in the brain, which caused the researchers to conclude that:

Triglyceride levels in the blood play a large role in leptin resistance.

When triglyceride is high, leptin cannot accurately report to the brain, since triglycerides interfere with that report, so the brain responds to the lack of leptin's presence because that is the only information it has to go on.

It is the lack of filled leptin receptors in the hypothalamus that drives physical hunger. The level of insulin in the blood has nothing to do with it. 

In fact insulin and epinephrine increase leptin's ability to transport across the blood brain barrier. It does not impede it. Nor does insulin control leptin, as Gary Taubes believes.

A low-carb diet causes triglyceride levels to plunge within a few days. This plunging effect enables leptin to enter the brain and alert the central nervous system to the body's true fat situation.

With leptin reaching the brain and binding to its receptors, leptin is able to accurately report what's going on with the body's fat stores, how well fed you are. The brain is able to respond appropriately.

In some people, a low-carb diet does not cause an immediate reduction in triglyceride level.


Dietary fats and body fat are both triglycerides, and if the body is slow to switch from burning glucose to burning fatty acids for fuel, due to heredity or a reluctance to burn fats for fuel, your hunger will continue longer than for others.

Breaking down triglycerides into fatty acids causes hunger to diminish.

In addition, a small number of people are fat sensitive, so high triglyceride levels can continue even after moving into the state of ketosis.

If you happen to be among this group, you will have to reduce the amount of saturated fats in your low-carb diet and replace them with monosaturated fats, such as olive oil and avocado.

Reason #2: You Are In Starvation Mode

There is a lot of talk within the low-carb community about starvation mode.

Most of what you'll read is driven by fear and misconception, and is just pure hype. You don't go into starvation just because you skip breakfast or because you don't eat regularly scheduled low-carb snacks.

Starvation does exist.

But it does not manifest in the way that most low carbers think it does.

Going below 1,200 calories a day is not starvation mode, especially if you're lugging around 50 to 100 pounds of excess body fat. The body has plenty of fuel it can use to sustain your life, as long as your protein intake is adequate.

Starvation is caused by a lack of nutrients, as well as enough caloric energy to sustain body systems without the body having to turn to its muscle mass for energy. It is turning to your muscle for energy that defines the difference.

Starvation has progressed quite far before you reach that point.

The major contributors to the condition of starvation are:
  • inadequate calories to avoid muscle wasting
  • lack of adequate dietary protein
  • inability to absorb vitamins and minerals
  • nutrient-deficient food (calories or vitamins/minerals)
Not everyone knows when they are in starvation mode. It is officially defined as getting less than 50 percent of your maintenance calories. If your maintenance calories are 1800, for example, starvation mode would kick in if you consistently ate less than 900 calories a day.

Hunger on a low-carb diet can be due to starvation, but starvation doesn't always mean a lack of food.

Starvation can also be a lack of nutrition, similar to what you'd find in those with celiac disease or Graves' Disease. For that reason, starvation often manifests as malnutrition.

The reduction in metabolic rate that low carbers like to blame their stalls on can be quite dramatic, but the Minnesota Starvation Study found the drop to be only temporary.

Once you begin the re-feeding process, your metabolic rate will go back up.

Gorilla Looking at an Animal Bone with No Meat on It
Do you know the real signs and symptoms of starvation?
They are quite common here in the U.S.

There are many signs of starvation, most of which are quite common here in the U.S.:
  • a bloated belly
  • water retention and edema
  • swollen feet and ankles
  • preoccupation with food and recipes
  • difficulty concentrating on daily tasks due to thoughts about food
  • food is the principle topic of conversations
  • recipe and cookbook addiction
  • compelling drive to horde stuff
  • drink a lot of beverages
  • combine food in odd and unusual ways
  • craving for salt, spices, sugar, and fat
  • dairy and wheat addiction
  • yo-yo dieting or binge cycles
  • self-criticism, self-judgment, negativity
  • continuous hunger, even after a large meal
Oddly enough, these starvation symptoms do not go away when you start a healthy diet and exercise program.

They can persist for weeks after you start eating adequate nutrients and calories. In fact, if you don't overeat, you'll feel ravenous and hungry all the time as the body seeks to re-feed and heal.

To get out of starvation mode takes a high-protein, high-nutrient diet, which low-carb diets can easily provide.

Chicken Breast Strips, Cabbage, Avocado, Strawberries
It takes a high-protein, nutrient-dense diet
to recover from starvation mode.

If you are in true starvation, your triglyceride levels will be high, and therefore, your body might not respond as quickly to carbohydrate restriction as someone who came to a low-carb diet in a well nourished state, especially if your preoccupation with food causes you to cheat consistently.

The Minnesota Starvation Studies followed the participants for several months after the study ended, and for most of those men, appetite did not return to normal for several months after the re-feeding process began. This is pretty much what I see in those with celiac disease, as well.

The long-term effects of a ketogenic diet won't always be immediate, especially if you're malnourished.

People in starvation mode, whether that starvation is from poor dietary choices or a health condition prone to malnutrition, such as celiac diesase or Graves disease, are better off eating a low-carb diet for health purposes at a maintenance level of calories and focusing on fat loss only after the body has moved into a better state of health and healing.

Reason #3: Your Calorie Deficit is Too Large

Not Eating Enough on Low Carb Makes You Hungry
Where are the veggies and dietary fat at this low-carb meal?
You need more calories than what you can get in just chicken.

If you are chasing after fast weight loss, your constant desire to eat might be because you are not eating enough calories.

Leptin resistance is only one issue that can cause you to be more hungry than other low-carb folks. Eating at too large of a calorie deficit can be another because large calorie deficits will cause overall leptin levels to plunge quicker than with smaller deficits -- to slow down fat burning.

The body interprets calorie deprivation to be a starvation situation, so it will make adaptions to metabolism and body systems to try and slow down the use of body resources, such as body fat.

This is not particular to Keto. All weight-loss diets cause the body to adapt to what's going on.

The lower brain's number one purpose is to sustain your life, and since it doesn't know how long the famine is going to last, instinct will simply make due with what it has and slow everything down.

This will be particularly noticeable if you have less than 50 pounds to lose because the brain will already be on high alert, and your hunger level will be higher than for someone who is still lugging around 100 pounds of excess body fat.

At an extra 100 pounds, the body has quite a bit of fat it can let go of before it becomes concerned.

If Leptin is getting past the blood brain barrier, then the brain knows exactly how much extra fat you have that it can afford to sacrifice.

The closer you move to ideal weight, the lower the amount of leptin your fat cells will produce, and the hungrier you will become.

If you have less than 30 pounds to lose, it is best to move toward goal weight slowly and deliberately, so the body doesn't panic.

Choose a hunger level you can live with.

This is why the Keto Diet recommends you only eat at a 20% calorie deficit. Most low-carb diet plans do not recommend the same large calorie deficits you see on low-fat, low-calorie diets.

A 1,000 calorie a day deficit is large enough to make you feel hungry all the time.

Reason #4: You're Not Eating Enough Carbohydrates

This might sound funny, since we're discussing low-carb diets, but you can actually go too low in carbs.

Only 1 in 3 individuals who are overweight have insulin resistance, so if you happen to fall into the larger group that doesn't, you'll actually lose more weight and be far less hungry if you eat at a higher carb level.

Now, I'm not saying to go out of ketosis.

That would cause your triglyceride level to go back up, especially if you are not fat adapted yet, but you don't have to stay at a mere 20 net carbs for the entire weight-loss period either.

In fact, in 2007, when I was in the weight-loss phase, the average low-carb dieter ate between 35 and 60 net carbs a day. I hardly ever see anyone eating that many carbs today.

People on low-carb diets are terrified of carbs.

What I've seen, time and time again, is the tendency to keep driving carb levels downward when body fat doesn't come off as fast as the dieter expects it to.

This knee-jerk reaction to slow weight loss causes the body to believe that the famine just got worse, so the body will respond appropriately for that new situation.

If you are burning fats properly, but you are still experiencing vicious urges to eat, try moving up the carbohydrate ladder that Dr. Atkins recommended.

It is in your own best interest to find your specific degree of carbohydrate tolerance and then eat just below that level.

Since low carb is a lifestyle, and not a diet, you have to find the best ratio for protein, carbs, and fats that will let you lose weight, but not experience uncontrollable hunger. If you're only going a day or two without caving into your urges, that isn't living.

That's torturing yourself with a low-carb diet.

Reason #5: You're Experiencing Food Cravings Rather Than Physical Hunger

Many people do not know how to tell the difference between a craving for food, or a particular food, and actual physical hunger.

When you are physically hungry:
  • your stomach will growl
  • you'll feel lightheaded and weak
  • and your stomach will actually start cramping 
These are all physical sensations.

Cravings, on the other hand, are a product of the mind. They come from a state of deprivation, strong desires to eat, or simply feeling like you're missing out on something.

Thoughts are powerful, and they can produce fake feelings of hunger or a desperate need to experience the pleasures of taste if you don't understand where thought comes from and why it can be distorted or illogical.

In addition, if you used food as a stress reliever before going low carb, those unnatural habits will still be solidly in place. This is exactly what people mean when they talk about having a craving for comfort foods.

Comfort foods are foods that soothe the emotions.

Low-Carb Cinnamon Cheesecake with Almond-Meal Crust
Comfort foods, like this cinnamon cheesecake
help you to feel better about yourself.

They make you feel better about yourself and the world, give you a hug when you feel like you've been victimized by something or someone.

However, eating low carb won't cause your emotional needs to go away. The craving for:
  • pleasure
  • attention
  • approval
  • a sense of importance
  • power
  • and control
will still be there until you take the time to examine those beliefs and needs and reevaluate their usefulness in your life.

Overcoming cravings can be a white-knuckle experience for some, but more often, cravings come from the way that you think.

If you see low-carb diets as diets of deprivation, instead of something you want to do because it's best for you, those cravings will continue to surface and resurface – even after you reach your maintenance goal.

For help taking charge of your cravings, check out these 12 strategies for getting your cravings under control.

Reason #6: Still Hungry on Low Carb? Maybe You Are Not in Ketosis!

A low-carb diet doesn't work in the same way that other low-calorie diets do.

You can't indulge on a regular basis and get into ketosis and stay there. It takes several weeks of severe carbohydrate restriction to reach the blessed state of fat adaption.

While you don't have to be in ketosis to shed body fat, burning fatty acids for fuel lowers your triglyceride levels, so hunger ceases and metabolism fires up.

The point at which ketosis begins, however, is much sooner than most low-carb dieters believe. However, if you're struggling with intense hunger, you have to keep your carbs low enough to bring those triglyceride levels down to where leptin can get past the blood brain barrier.

If you don't curb your mental and emotional need for carbohydrate foods, you'll always feel ravenous and driven to eat carbs.

Reason #7: Blood Glucose Response isn't Normal

While only 1 in 3 overweight individuals have insulin resistance, if you are in that 1-in-3 group, dropping glucose levels can be a powerful stimulus to eat.

For those who have lived with higher-than-normal blood sugars for a long time, the body will believe that higher level of sugar is normal, so expect to get hypoglycemia-like symptoms as your blood glucose level normalizes, as well as hunger..

Those symptoms of:
are actually the result of adrenaline and cortisol being secreted to fix the problem, but cortisol has the tendency to raise ghrelin, a hunger hormone, in its efforts to supply the body with energy as quickly as possible.

High levels of ghrelin make you feel starving all the time.

There isn't much you can do if your hunger is due to blood sugar normalization. Correcting blood glucose imbalances simply take time and patience. If the symptoms grow too unbearable, you can always raise your carbohydrates a bit to slow down the correction.

However, keep in mind that many low-carb products, such as:
can disrupt blood glucose control and bring unexpected yearnings and a strong urge to eat as spiking blood glucose levels rapidly fall back to normal several hours later.

Most of the claims on low-carb products are put there by marketing individuals who have no nutritional training.

But other products, like Quest bars, target the bodybuilding community instead of diabetics or low carbers, so their products can raise blood glucose levels in susceptible individuals.

Whey protein powders, sugar alcohols (including low-glycemic ones like erithritol or isomalt), and even inulin fiber can have different effects on different people.

Some people get cravings to eat whenever they eat anything sweet, including normal sugar substitutes. A sweet taste in the mouth can cause the liver to dump its glycogen stores into the blood stream if it believes that sugary carbs are on the way to refill them.

Odd stuff, but it happens to some.

Reason #8: Your Hunger Hormones Need Time to Readjust

Hunger Hormones are Habitual
A crustless quiche is filling and lets you pamper yourself,
but hunger can be habitual, so give your hormones
time to adjust to the dietary changes.

Hunger is a signal that comes from specific hormones, but the secretion of these hormones tend to be habitual. If you're used to eating three times a day, for example, and try to skip a meal, you'll feel hungry. This is why it's best to stick to regular meal times.

Likewise, if you start eating only twice a day, in order to cut calories, your body will have to readjust to that new Intermittent Fasting routine and begin to secrete hormones only at the appropriate time, just before it's time to eat.

The only exception to this is if your overall daily calorie intake is too low. If the body feels threatened, it will crank up those hunger hormones and let you know about it.

The body is used to a certain amount of calories and carbohydrate coming in each day to fuel its needs, and with a low-carb diet, you've thrown that routine off-balance.

At first, the brain will make minor adaptions that won't be too uncomfortable, but as time goes on, the adaptions will get more complicated.

There is a massive last-ditch effort to get you to eat carbs just before the body switches into major fat-burning mode. If you're prone to cheating or treating yourself to a higher carb food every couple of days, that switch to predominantly burning fatty acids for fuel will never occur.

The body will simply ramp up the habitual hunger hormones, since it worked yesterday, or the day before.

Do this enough times, and the whole cycle will become a new habit.

The best way to push through that last-ditch effort is to load up on fats and proteins, such as tuna and mayonnaise. Don't worry about calories and proper portion sizes until after the body has gone into the state of ketosis.

Reason #9: Your Stress Level is Too High

Let's take a moment and talk about the connection between stress and hunger. 

While a rise in stress hormones can cause your weight-loss efforts to stall, due to the nature of cortisol, those same hormones can also make you feel famished and drive you to seek out quick-reacting high-energy foods like candy, cookies, or white bread.

This drive to eat is normally associated with comfort foods, as I said above.

Generally, when something happens in your life that you were not expecting or the drama of living gets to be too much to handle, you want to eat something that makes you feel better about yourself. However, playing the role of victim can manifest in less obvious ways, as well.

The most common form of stress I see among low-carb dieters is the false expectation they set up regarding how quickly their body fat should come off.

Most dieters have set up unrealistic demands of the body, and if things don't go as well as they anticipated, if they don't get their way right now, they begin to feel mistreated and victimized by:
  • the weight-loss scale
  • their diet program of choice
  • and even their body
What this type of thinking does for you:

It puts you in a position where your thoughts and emotions are in control of your behavior, rather than YOU.

You believe that you are in a terrible situation, that you have a right to experience weight loss each and every week, and that something is getting in the way of you enjoying your rights.

Since your emotional state is in a state of emergency, cortisol goes up even higher than it normally does with dieting.

The purpose of cortisol is to mobilize energy to help you fight off a physical invader or give you access to energy, so you can run from something that is life-threatening. Since your glycogen stores are super low on Keto, there is no immediate energy to draw upon, so your hunger hormones go up, and you instantly become famished.

Granted, there are other stresses in life that will do the same thing. Any time you believe that you are in a horrible situation, the body will be flooded with hunger hormones.

The only way out of the situation is to be more accepting of life's events. Stop judging the uncomfortable challenges of life to be bad and ditch your unrealistic expectations. If you don't, that hunger beast will soon become a constant companion – unless, you give up and run back to eating tons of carbs, of course.

Reason #10: You are Close to Ideal Weight

Surprisingly, I see this reason for hunger on a low-carb diet a lot. And I mean:


Woman Lifting Weights
Low-carb was designed for those
with insulin resistance

People who are already at a healthy weight, or nearly so, go on Keto to try and drive their fat percentage to super-low levels, but it doesn't work for them as well as it does for others.

A low-carb diet was originally designed for those with insulin resistance, but due to how well it works for those with metabolic issues, the diet became so popular that people without insulin resistance want to experience the same results that obese individuals get from restricting carbs.

Whenever I have gone on a diet – any type of diet, not just very low carbs – as soon as I have carved off a certain amount of body fat, suddenly, the hunger monster that populates the lower brain wakes up and starts screaming at me to eat.

This has happened each and every time I've gotten down to 160 pounds.

It's like clockwork.

No matter what type of diet I'm following, it's going to happen at 160 to 165 pounds. Guaranteed!

This raving hunger monster is caused by lower leptin levels, so today, I understand that the snarling beast (what some people refer to as the set-point theory) is a direct result of the mind's desire to replenish its empty fat cells.

The hypothalamus doesn't know that you are trying to get to a healthier weight. It believes that filled fat cells are the healthy state because with full fat stores, that excess body fat will be available to handle the next famine.

Storing fat is an act of love, even if you choose to not see it that way. The body flat-out defends its fat stores!

For a yo-yo dieter, what you might define as a feast-or-famine cycle, is merely a result of the dietary pattern you have set up.

If you are prone to give into the harry beast once it awakens and quit your diet when the going gets rough, that hunger monster will know just how to trick you into giving in the next time you try to reach your weight-loss goal.

However, even if this is your first time through the game, many dieters discover that pre-maintenance and maintenance is not a walk in the park like they thought it was going to be. 

There are physical reasons why it's difficult to lose those last 10 or 20 pounds, but the fight to get back to normal can start long before pre-maintenance – like it did for me.

I was still 35 pounds above goal when that intense hunger started jabbing at me, urging me to eat. And I'm seeing this same hunger tendency in those with only 30 or 40 pounds to lose starting out.

Since most people experience an intense fullness when they first go low carb, getting close to ideal weight can be quite shocking. In fact, most dieters who have passed through this stage of the process talk about the hunger being worse than it was before they started their low-carb diet.

The biggest problem is that your lower brain doesn't know what a healthy weight is. For the brain, packed fat cells is where it's at. All the brain knows is how to save your life. And that's what it's doing.

So, What Can You Do?

At this point in your weight loss journey, when hunger is almost more than you can bear, you do have a couple of options:

1) You can give into the beast, and go back to eating carbs;


2) You can decide to move into maintenance for awhile and let the strong urges calm down before you continue your journey to slimness. This method is known as taking a diet break.

Eating at a maintenance level of calories may or may not work for you. Either way, you'll have a big adjustment to make because if you have ever been seriously overweight and dieted yourself down, the body will never give up defending its fat stores.


People who have dieted themselves down to maintenance, and have been there for several years, still talk about having to be vigilant and constantly on guard because the body will do everything it can to trick you into refilling your fat stores. That's its job!

This is more than just a mind-over-body thing.

You have to fully understand what your body is doing and why in order to outsmart it. 

You'll have to change the way you think about yourself, your body, and your life. You'll also have to ditch those false expectations and begin to see reality for what it is.

If you've never been overweight by much, you may or may not have problems with hunger, but weight loss can still take several months to carve off those 10 or 15 pounds.

With a small caloric deficit, I've heard stories from people who have made the commitment to a low-carb lifestyle finally experiencing the joy of losing those pesky 10 pounds about a year or so down the road.

The body has to feel secure before it will let go of its reserves.

Will the Hungry Monster Ever Go Away?

When will the hunger on Keto end?

That depends on why you're experiencing hunger and if there is something you can do on your end to make yourself feel more comfortable. If you're bound and determined to diet yourself down to a less-than-healthy weight, then:


The hunger isn't going to go away.


If you're having trouble with your triglyceride level, are coming to low carb from a background of starvation, are willing to drop the unrealistic expectations, and play with your macros until you find your own, personal sweet spot for avoiding hunger, then:


The hunger will go away.

True, physical hunger is always a sign that you are lacking in:
  • calories
  • protein
  • vitamins
  • or minerals
Sometimes, if you only have 20 pounds to lose, your hungry condition will be temporary until you carve off those pounds and raise your calories and carbohydrates to a more soothing maintenance level, where the body isn't scrounging around daily for the amount of glucose it needs to feed the brain.

But sometimes, it's just the way it is.

If you're super-short, post-menopause, and have a small-bone structure, then your maintenance calories and appropriate dietary fat level might be less than you can realistically sustain.

Can you live with hunger for the rest of your life?

Only you can answer that.

But if you can't, then you might have to readjust your ideal weight to be more sustainable and realistic, especially if your lifestyle contains stressful situations you can't get out of or you have health issues that are getting in the way of the weight you want to be.

You can't always have what you want.

Sorry, that's just real.


  1. Hi Vickie, what a brilliant thinker and writer you are! Your analysis is very advanced and clarifies a lot of low carb miss understandings and mysteries. Joy to read your posts. I am looking forward to your analysis on fasting in the future (dieters final destination, I believe). Fasting is ultimate low carbing, when we eat our own fat, plus all that hormonal response that makes us healthier. I hope one day you will put your beautiful mind behind fasting. A lot of analytical and experimental work needs to be done on fasting. Regards.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I really have looked into the potential for fasting yet. I've been studying starvation as it pertains to celiac disease, so my knowledge about fasting is still in its infancy, although, I used to do it myself growing up for 1 day per month.

  2. I ordered some whey protein shots that say it supplies >40 gms of protein, no sugar. Is this bad for a LCHF diet? I struggle to eat enough protein & I worry about hair loss....

    1. If you're struggling to eat enough protein and the shots are low in carbs, then they should be okay. I've never heard of shots. I used to drink a lot of protein shakes a few years back, and they helped me keep my protein intake up as well.

  3. Although this was written a little over a year ago, this was both an amazing and interesting read for me. Read the whole article twice because it was so informative and easy to understand. I've been doing low carb for only 7 months and I am very close to my goal weight, but noticed, after dropping below 130lbs, I started having very intense cravings where I would specifically want to eat LOTS of protein...usually in the form of cheese because it was readily available. :p Your article shed new light on my dilemma and I am going to try increasing my carb intake a bit, amongst some other things.

    Guess I could go on about how useful this info was, but want to close by thanking you for writing such a well-thought out article. I don't think I have read anything as informative as this on the increased hunger.

    Regards and Happy Holidays!


    1. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us. I really appreciate the comments. I am so glad that you found the article helpful and useful. The closer you are to goal weight, the MORE protein the body needs to avoid muscle loss, so craving protein makes a lot of sense. Let us know how raising carbs slightly goes for you.

    2. Thanks so much for your reply, Vickie! I increased my carbs from 20-25 grams a day to 35-45 grams a day and it has helped tremendously with the protein cravings and allowed me to stay in ketosis. Weight loss has slowed somewhat (which I don't mind), but just glad I'm not eating so much protein now. Of course, the holidays are coming up, so I don't expect to be in ketosis after today (haha). Thanks again for sharing your experiences with us and you have a new subscriber! ��

    3. Thank you so much for sharing that. After the holidays, it gets pretty busy here, lol. Hope you have a nice one.

    4. Your article is the most reasoned and reasonable approach to hunger and "dieting" that I have read. Losing weight and keeping it off is a way of life which involves, as you have pointed out, realistic expectations and a physical, mental, and emotional commitment to one's total health. I have just 10 pounds to lose, and I am grateful for your perspective. Barb

    5. Thank you so very much for your kind reply. I really appreciate your taking the time to comment. Hubby recently had a rude awakening regarding his candy habit. We are both restricting carbs now.

  4. Wow! I've been doing Keto for about 6 months now...Maintaining my present very low weight...and seem to do fine for a while, but then get craving some sweet and get HUNGRY (again...sigh) This article clears it up on several points! In any case, I feel there are things that can be done to remedy the situation! Am going to up my calories (with Keto carbs) and steer away from too many sweet replacements! YES! Thank you ever so much!


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