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low carb & always hungry... what gives?

by (51)
Updated about 3 hours ago
Created January 01, 2012 at 11:42 PM

back ground: 5'9 130lbs

ever since i cut my carbs to before 45g per day I've been insatiably hungry. the odd part is that i also upped my calories though. before i was consuming about 2100 calories of lean meat and tons of vegetables. now I'm consuming about 2500-2600 calories of fattier meats, butter, evoo, and less vegetables but I'm always hungry. ill literally eat a big meal and be full but then an hour later I'm starving... my question is why this would happen. i though being in keto was supposed to suppress appetite?

E76821f1019f5284761bc4c33f2bf044
383 · January 11, 2012 at 3:21 PM

If you're still hungry, eat the food. Have you removed anything you might be sensitive to? Can you jack up your calories without adding starches? Can you eat more widely - making sure you're getting lots of colour and variety for nutrients? If all else fails, yeah, add some tubers. With butter (or better yet, fried in goose fat - yum!)

Dfada6fe4982ab3b7557172f20632da8
5332 · January 02, 2012 at 8:32 PM

Just 3? If you haven't at least occasionally eaten enough cow to make the thought of a third meal overwhelming then you've probably got some leeway on what makes a filling meal. Still, if it goes away then you're probably not starving.

D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038
4124 · January 02, 2012 at 8:16 PM

Not everyone experiences loss of appetite on 45g/CHO/d. Ketogenic diets have many, many benefits. Weight loss, if needed, is only one of those.

D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038
4124 · January 02, 2012 at 8:14 PM

Hank, there is much discussion on Low Carb Forums regarding the level of carbs one can eat which does not trigger appetite. The initial adaptation to a ketogenic diet can take several weeks. For quite a few of us, 45g/CHO/d triggers appetite, especially for more carbs. Also, particular foods can trigger appetite. At 5' 9" and 130 pounds, I also wonder if your body is just flat out telling you to eat. The folks at dirty carnivores and the low carb forums can give you much more info. I wish you success in finding your ideal food plan.

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18671 · January 02, 2012 at 4:40 PM

Depending on how long since he started cutting carbs, I would not be in a rush to suggest adding any. In fact, unless he is lifting heavy, 45g seems like it could be too much -- that in itself could be perpetuating hunger by not allowing adaptation to occur.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1
18671 · January 02, 2012 at 4:36 PM

How long ago did you cut carbs? I would tend to agree with the poster who suggest you give it time, since it can take several days to weeks to adjust to primarily fat-burning.

4734763c3b2dc8f9a501d50d00b5043f
51 · January 02, 2012 at 10:49 AM

Ive been eating just three meals per day for months and cutting carbs caused the hunger. I'll ignore it for now, and see how it goes

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb
4393 · January 02, 2012 at 8:00 AM

good point JitzGrrl. when i increased my fat consumption my body automatically started building muscle more easily (for the first time in my life), so it may just be the body saying 'please feed me i am growing'.

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb
4393 · January 02, 2012 at 6:30 AM

yep, it is possible that the OP is not keto-adapted (yet).

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb
4393 · January 02, 2012 at 6:27 AM

agreed, may be the OP is not keto-adapted (yet).

Thumbnail avatar
10653 · January 02, 2012 at 4:42 AM

I second this. I was like "WTF" the first couple weeks on Paleo after noticing my carb intake on this diet was severely decreased. On SAD, I was eating close to 300 g of carbs, then suddenly switched to less than 100. I got the carb flu plus had this insatiable appetite. I then tried doing IF and found that eating two very large meals helped my hunger. So yeah, just wait for your body to adjust.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63
2890 · January 02, 2012 at 1:15 AM

Do whatever you want. You are not 5'9" and 130 pounds, and you are not trying to improve athletic performance. My recommendation stands: more lean protein, veggies, and back to a reasonable amount of carbs.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8
7592 · January 02, 2012 at 1:06 AM

@conciliator...tonight I'll be eating a ribeye with some pastured butter melted on it. Thanks to Jaminet's pretentious, NOT over-complicated and wonderful book...I'll treat myself to some herbed white rice with it. Later I'll wash it down with some hot, heavy cream, dutch chocolate, cinnamon and coconut oil.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63
2890 · January 02, 2012 at 12:52 AM

Just to clarify one final time, I'm not saying chicken breast + broccoli is the most filling thing bar none for all time. But, **in general**, and **especially in this case**, lean meats + proteins are the winning combination. Adding moderate amounts of fats, and for some people moderate amounts of carbs certainly help, but Occam's razor **in this case** certainly points towards lean meat + veggies.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8
7592 · January 02, 2012 at 12:51 AM

@ Hank. I would agree to eat more. It does not take long for ketosis to stall hunger...few days to 2 weeks. I think you should listen to your hunger if it's been longer than that--especially post workout. You don't want to risk going catabolic.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63
2890 · January 02, 2012 at 12:49 AM

@ Bacon. AAS, Testosterone, and Clen have nothing to do with the satiating effects of protein/veggies. And, there are natural bodybuilders, so your point is irrelevant (twice over). @Sara, I'm not saying meals shouldn't be balanced, but in this case someone says 'veggies + lean meats -> less veggies + fattier meat' I think Paul is overcomplicating the hell out of it. Putting a bit of carbs and fat in every meal is a good idea. But fatty steaks just are not going to be as satiating as chicken breast, if only from a palatability perspective. This becomes more important as you get lean.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8
7592 · January 02, 2012 at 12:42 AM

oh holy heck conciliator. Why go there? Not necessary or helpful...

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242
7275 · January 02, 2012 at 12:42 AM

It seems to me that people can find different things satiating. I'm with BaconHealsChic: fat satiates me, and lean protein leaves me wanting. When I'm craving something, I eat and eat until I get it or give up (at higher calories than if I had just eaten what I needed in the first place). Eating more fat, I'm able to eat many fewer calories. But some people I know feel a meal is lacking without carbs. So it seems to tie in with individual differences. The bodybuilding thing, though, is a different situation. I thought bodybuilders cutting emphasized lean protein in order to spare muscle.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8
7592 · January 02, 2012 at 12:41 AM

@ conciliator. It's hard to compare since most true bodybuilders are supplementing roids and clen along with building and cutting phases of eating...but if you read any of Di Pasquale's work for bodybuilding he advocates saturated fat for testosterone support and performance.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63
2890 · January 02, 2012 at 12:39 AM

And since I'm on a rant, naming your diet the 'perfect-health diet' is the most pretentious thing I've ever heard uttered by someone other than Kruse.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63
2890 · January 02, 2012 at 12:38 AM

I give up. Everyone here has a hard-on for fat. They think it's a choice between pasta or butter-fried steak with butter-sauce with a cup of melted butter to drink, wrapped in bacon.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63
2890 · January 02, 2012 at 12:27 AM

Calorie for calorie basis. Try to get 5000kcal of chicken breast vs 5000kcal of ribeye. I don't feel like debating this though. Do whatever you think works, but bodybuilders don't diet with ribeyes for a reason.

4734763c3b2dc8f9a501d50d00b5043f
51 · January 02, 2012 at 12:25 AM

Mat lalonde wasn't trying to lose fat at all, in fact he put on muscle durin the experiment and improved his strength/metcon. That vein said that is my goal, not far loss( I'm very lean already, much like Matt) That being said am I just hungry because I'm adjusting or do I need to eat more. - hank nova

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8
7592 · January 02, 2012 at 12:24 AM

For me...i would take a ribeye over a chicken breast any day for staying satiated. I get hungry without enough fat.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8
7592 · January 02, 2012 at 12:22 AM

@ Ambimorph. I agree.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8
7592 · January 02, 2012 at 12:21 AM

Oh ok. I hear ya. You may have already heard it. Mat talks about his low carb experiment. http://robbwolf.com/2011/02/22/the-paleo-solution-episode-68/ The best part of the podcast is hearing about the Ben and Jerry's ice cream. :)

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63
2890 · January 02, 2012 at 12:16 AM

Really? Someone goes from lean meat and veggies to fatty meat and less vegetables. It's not rocket science. Lean meat and veggies are the most satiating foods.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1
18671 · January 02, 2012 at 12:16 AM

There are certainly more benefits to be than simply losing excess fat.

4734763c3b2dc8f9a501d50d00b5043f
51 · January 02, 2012 at 12:06 AM

after reading a mat lalonde article titled ''crossfit on a low carb diet'' it seemed like it may have some positive effects on athletic performance which i wanted to experiment with.

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6 Answers

9e20abb05f3f6e3cc4bb107f8980aecd
6
5929 · January 01, 2012 at 11:50 PM

You're hungry because you're malnourished. It might be insufficient glucose, it might be some other critical nutrient like vitamin C. Try adding some safe starches and supplementing micronutrients.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1
18671 · January 02, 2012 at 4:40 PM

Depending on how long since he started cutting carbs, I would not be in a rush to suggest adding any. In fact, unless he is lifting heavy, 45g seems like it could be too much -- that in itself could be perpetuating hunger by not allowing adaptation to occur.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63
2890 · January 02, 2012 at 1:15 AM

Do whatever you want. You are not 5'9" and 130 pounds, and you are not trying to improve athletic performance. My recommendation stands: more lean protein, veggies, and back to a reasonable amount of carbs.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8
7592 · January 02, 2012 at 1:06 AM

@conciliator...tonight I'll be eating a ribeye with some pastured butter melted on it. Thanks to Jaminet's pretentious, NOT over-complicated and wonderful book...I'll treat myself to some herbed white rice with it. Later I'll wash it down with some hot, heavy cream, dutch chocolate, cinnamon and coconut oil.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63
2890 · January 02, 2012 at 12:52 AM

Just to clarify one final time, I'm not saying chicken breast + broccoli is the most filling thing bar none for all time. But, **in general**, and **especially in this case**, lean meats + proteins are the winning combination. Adding moderate amounts of fats, and for some people moderate amounts of carbs certainly help, but Occam's razor **in this case** certainly points towards lean meat + veggies.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63
2890 · January 02, 2012 at 12:49 AM

@ Bacon. AAS, Testosterone, and Clen have nothing to do with the satiating effects of protein/veggies. And, there are natural bodybuilders, so your point is irrelevant (twice over). @Sara, I'm not saying meals shouldn't be balanced, but in this case someone says 'veggies + lean meats -> less veggies + fattier meat' I think Paul is overcomplicating the hell out of it. Putting a bit of carbs and fat in every meal is a good idea. But fatty steaks just are not going to be as satiating as chicken breast, if only from a palatability perspective. This becomes more important as you get lean.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8
7592 · January 02, 2012 at 12:42 AM

oh holy heck conciliator. Why go there? Not necessary or helpful...

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242
7275 · January 02, 2012 at 12:42 AM

It seems to me that people can find different things satiating. I'm with BaconHealsChic: fat satiates me, and lean protein leaves me wanting. When I'm craving something, I eat and eat until I get it or give up (at higher calories than if I had just eaten what I needed in the first place). Eating more fat, I'm able to eat many fewer calories. But some people I know feel a meal is lacking without carbs. So it seems to tie in with individual differences. The bodybuilding thing, though, is a different situation. I thought bodybuilders cutting emphasized lean protein in order to spare muscle.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8
7592 · January 02, 2012 at 12:41 AM

@ conciliator. It's hard to compare since most true bodybuilders are supplementing roids and clen along with building and cutting phases of eating...but if you read any of Di Pasquale's work for bodybuilding he advocates saturated fat for testosterone support and performance.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63
2890 · January 02, 2012 at 12:39 AM

And since I'm on a rant, naming your diet the 'perfect-health diet' is the most pretentious thing I've ever heard uttered by someone other than Kruse.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63
2890 · January 02, 2012 at 12:38 AM

I give up. Everyone here has a hard-on for fat. They think it's a choice between pasta or butter-fried steak with butter-sauce with a cup of melted butter to drink, wrapped in bacon.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63
2890 · January 02, 2012 at 12:27 AM

Calorie for calorie basis. Try to get 5000kcal of chicken breast vs 5000kcal of ribeye. I don't feel like debating this though. Do whatever you think works, but bodybuilders don't diet with ribeyes for a reason.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8
7592 · January 02, 2012 at 12:24 AM

For me...i would take a ribeye over a chicken breast any day for staying satiated. I get hungry without enough fat.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63
2890 · January 02, 2012 at 12:16 AM

Really? Someone goes from lean meat and veggies to fatty meat and less vegetables. It's not rocket science. Lean meat and veggies are the most satiating foods.

D5a4ff096a452a84a772efa0e6bc626e
5
2486 · January 02, 2012 at 6:51 AM

5'9" and 130? It may be that your body is sending the correct signals to eat more and put on a bit of mass. You weigh less than I do at 5'4", female, and 18% BF.

The other answers have quite a bit of merit, too- you might find you're better adapted after a few weeks in, or you might find that you need to fuel significant activity with more starches (I know I do!).

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb
4393 · January 02, 2012 at 8:00 AM

good point JitzGrrl. when i increased my fat consumption my body automatically started building muscle more easily (for the first time in my life), so it may just be the body saying 'please feed me i am growing'.

Dfada6fe4982ab3b7557172f20632da8
1
5332 · January 02, 2012 at 6:41 AM

You could try waiting it out. Higher fat content meals don't work so well if you are eating constantly - that's a habit forced on us by carb reliance. It can take a bit of practise to learn to wait for your food to digest. It may also take some time to realise that being full of fibrous waterlogged plants doesn't actually equal satiety, and that you don't actually need to feel full to be fed when you eat more nutrient dense foods. Of course you can keep piling it on if it's available, but that only really works or makes sense if you have extended periods of time when food isn't available either. Either way, I can almost guarantee that the signal your stomach is sending an hour after eating a big meal is not hunger.

Dfada6fe4982ab3b7557172f20632da8
5332 · January 02, 2012 at 8:32 PM

Just 3? If you haven't at least occasionally eaten enough cow to make the thought of a third meal overwhelming then you've probably got some leeway on what makes a filling meal. Still, if it goes away then you're probably not starving.

4734763c3b2dc8f9a501d50d00b5043f
51 · January 02, 2012 at 10:49 AM

Ive been eating just three meals per day for months and cutting carbs caused the hunger. I'll ignore it for now, and see how it goes

E76821f1019f5284761bc4c33f2bf044
1
383 · January 01, 2012 at 11:47 PM

Give yourself a week or so to adjust. It should subside.

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb
4393 · January 02, 2012 at 6:30 AM

yep, it is possible that the OP is not keto-adapted (yet).

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb
4393 · January 02, 2012 at 6:27 AM

agreed, may be the OP is not keto-adapted (yet).

Thumbnail avatar
10653 · January 02, 2012 at 4:42 AM

I second this. I was like "WTF" the first couple weeks on Paleo after noticing my carb intake on this diet was severely decreased. On SAD, I was eating close to 300 g of carbs, then suddenly switched to less than 100. I got the carb flu plus had this insatiable appetite. I then tried doing IF and found that eating two very large meals helped my hunger. So yeah, just wait for your body to adjust.

Cc69a51b427eaad36251cce9dcca4d3a
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1074 · February 28, 2013 at 3:45 AM

You need some carbs, up it a bit and cut back on the fat more. higher protein/carb, slightly less fat. i believe at a certain point you can be deficient in carbohydrates (only personal experience to back this up, but like Paul Jaminet said) and more fat does you no good. in fact it just makes you store that fat!

i remember biochemistry in medical school (i'm a first year med student, sorry for the typos i'm typing fast) where they mentioned that an intermediate needed for effective fat burning was from carbohydrate metabolism. in other words, insufficient carbs leads to inefficient fat burning a la ketosis.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8
0
7592 · January 01, 2012 at 11:59 PM

In my experience, the diet you described would for sure suppress my appetite. You seem lean though from you height and weight. Why would you go keto with such low bodyfat?

E76821f1019f5284761bc4c33f2bf044
383 · January 11, 2012 at 3:21 PM

If you're still hungry, eat the food. Have you removed anything you might be sensitive to? Can you jack up your calories without adding starches? Can you eat more widely - making sure you're getting lots of colour and variety for nutrients? If all else fails, yeah, add some tubers. With butter (or better yet, fried in goose fat - yum!)

D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038
4124 · January 02, 2012 at 8:16 PM

Not everyone experiences loss of appetite on 45g/CHO/d. Ketogenic diets have many, many benefits. Weight loss, if needed, is only one of those.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8
7592 · January 02, 2012 at 12:51 AM

@ Hank. I would agree to eat more. It does not take long for ketosis to stall hunger...few days to 2 weeks. I think you should listen to your hunger if it's been longer than that--especially post workout. You don't want to risk going catabolic.

4734763c3b2dc8f9a501d50d00b5043f
51 · January 02, 2012 at 12:25 AM

Mat lalonde wasn't trying to lose fat at all, in fact he put on muscle durin the experiment and improved his strength/metcon. That vein said that is my goal, not far loss( I'm very lean already, much like Matt) That being said am I just hungry because I'm adjusting or do I need to eat more. - hank nova

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8
7592 · January 02, 2012 at 12:22 AM

@ Ambimorph. I agree.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8
7592 · January 02, 2012 at 12:21 AM

Oh ok. I hear ya. You may have already heard it. Mat talks about his low carb experiment. http://robbwolf.com/2011/02/22/the-paleo-solution-episode-68/ The best part of the podcast is hearing about the Ben and Jerry's ice cream. :)

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1
18671 · January 02, 2012 at 12:16 AM

There are certainly more benefits to be than simply losing excess fat.

4734763c3b2dc8f9a501d50d00b5043f
51 · January 02, 2012 at 12:06 AM

after reading a mat lalonde article titled ''crossfit on a low carb diet'' it seemed like it may have some positive effects on athletic performance which i wanted to experiment with.

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