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Complete lack of appetite while in ketosis

by (600)
Updated about 21 hours ago
Created August 04, 2012 at 1:30 PM

I am just wondering how many other people have complete lack of appetite while in ketosis. I can go 4 days without eating anything. I've read to only eat when hungry so I haven't really been stressing about it.

It's just that now my friends are worried about me and think I have had a relapse into an eating disorder that I had in the past.

What should I do? Force myself to eat to make my friends shut up or should I just keep doing what I'm doing now and that is to wait until I'm hungry?

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455 · August 15, 2013 at 4:44 PM

The only people that do not do well in ketosis are those that take longer than normal to adapt to burning fat, most likely because they've been stuffing themselves with carbs their entire lives.

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4873 · August 15, 2013 at 3:04 AM

If fermier wants to be in high ketosis, both carbs and proteins must be restricted. Protein should be limited to the amount required for structural needs because excess protein tends to get converted to glucose, and glucose inhibits ketosis. The reason this happens is because some tissues of the body require either glucose or ketones as fuel. Glucose is the preferred fuel for these tissues. Ketones are an alternative to glucose, not to fatty acids. The body resorts to making ketones in large amounts only when it lacks food from which it can make glucose for these tissues.

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4873 · August 15, 2013 at 2:37 AM

If fermier wants to be in high ketosis, both carbs and proteins must be limited. The idea is to eat just enough protein to supply the body's structural needs because extra protein gets converted to glucose which inhibits ketosis. You write, "Fat is actually your body's preferred source of energy." Ketosis has nothing to do with the body's use of fatty acids as fuel. Ketones are alternatives to glucose, not to fatty acids. The body manufactures ketones in large amounts only when it lacks materials from which it can make glucose. Those materials are carbs and protein.

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10490 · August 14, 2013 at 1:59 PM

LOL. In this context, it stands for Eating Disorder. Bulimia, anorexia, binge eating disorder, etc.

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5160 · August 06, 2012 at 5:06 PM

Potato Avenger, ketosis doesn't completely tank athletic performance. I have enough energy to run at full speed for 15 minutes before I have to stop when in ketosis. When not in ketosis, I'm good for maybe 7-9 minutes before I need to take a break. I lift heavier, lift for longer, and feel all around stronger when in ketosis. Therefore I just disproved your claim.

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2387 · August 05, 2012 at 1:18 PM

@potatoavenger: ketosis is proven to be superior for atheletic performance, or at least no worse. Where do you and raisefitness get these ideas? You haven't been around paleo very long have you guys?

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32518 · August 05, 2012 at 12:57 PM

Aah, OK. I've noticed that some things (like appetite regulation) have taken me 12 months or more to shift. And I don't have a history of obesity or ED. Not guaranteeing that it will change for you, but the body has an amazing ability to heal itself, if given the right ingredients. Make sure your D level is in the 60-80 ng/ml range and you are getting sufficient minerals, especially Zinc & Magnesium.

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600 · August 05, 2012 at 4:24 AM

I've been paleo for 3 months

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32518 · August 05, 2012 at 4:22 AM

Julia~ How long have you been eating Paleo? I imagine that eating nutrient-dense foods may help, but it will likely take some time.

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600 · August 05, 2012 at 4:06 AM

I was grossly overweight about 4 years ago and I recovered from my ED about 2 years ago. I was hoping my body would of reprogrammed itself by now

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18 · August 05, 2012 at 2:07 AM

I don't think it's ever "normal" to lose your appetite.

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3870 · August 04, 2012 at 6:29 PM

@BoneBrothFast: Because Ketosis completely tanks athletic performance? I mean, Julia may not have goals in that area, but I don't think categorically stating "why not" is good advice. I agree with RaiseFitness.

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7292 · August 04, 2012 at 4:25 PM

it is a part of human physiology and is a form of energy usage, but that doesn't mean it is the preferable form. Some do well in ketosis, some do not.

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10490 · August 04, 2012 at 4:08 PM

+1 for "you have a basic nutritional requirement and you should concentrate on fulfilling this, not to get your friends to shut up, but so that you will be at your healthiest." Awesome line and great point.

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5160 · August 04, 2012 at 3:29 PM

Why NOT be in ketosis, RaiseFitness? It's obviously a part of human physiology and the preferable form of energy usage.

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600 · August 04, 2012 at 1:54 PM

I have about 10Kg that I want to get rid of. I'm 161cm tall and currently weight 66kg

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7292 · August 04, 2012 at 1:43 PM

What is your reason for wanting to be in ketosis?

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9 Answers

B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c
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10255 · August 04, 2012 at 4:01 PM

appetite is not the same thing as hunger and with a history of eating disorder you really can't rely on what you are "feelng"; i know- i binge, and my appetite is huge even in ketosis, so i am in the opposite camp.

you have a basic nutritional requirement and you should concentrate on fulfilling this, not to get your friends to shut up, but so that you will be at your healthiest.

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10490 · August 04, 2012 at 4:08 PM

+1 for "you have a basic nutritional requirement and you should concentrate on fulfilling this, not to get your friends to shut up, but so that you will be at your healthiest." Awesome line and great point.

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32518 · August 04, 2012 at 2:34 PM

If you have been grossly overweight or had an ED, your hunger mechanism is out of whack--and not reliable.

Your body will start breaking down your lean mass (muscle) after about 3 days of fasting, so I would highly recommend you eat at least 60-70 gm of protein per day, along with enough fat & carbs to get your body out of starvation mode (NOT good if you have had an ED.)

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32518 · August 05, 2012 at 4:22 AM

Julia~ How long have you been eating Paleo? I imagine that eating nutrient-dense foods may help, but it will likely take some time.

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600 · August 05, 2012 at 4:06 AM

I was grossly overweight about 4 years ago and I recovered from my ED about 2 years ago. I was hoping my body would of reprogrammed itself by now

584cdd1a2dd83e46b8b76758f4c57b19
600 · August 05, 2012 at 4:24 AM

I've been paleo for 3 months

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab
32518 · August 05, 2012 at 12:57 PM

Aah, OK. I've noticed that some things (like appetite regulation) have taken me 12 months or more to shift. And I don't have a history of obesity or ED. Not guaranteeing that it will change for you, but the body has an amazing ability to heal itself, if given the right ingredients. Make sure your D level is in the 60-80 ng/ml range and you are getting sufficient minerals, especially Zinc & Magnesium.

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50 · August 04, 2012 at 2:34 PM

It's normal to lose your appetite when eating Paleo. The reason is your blood sugar is not dropping which was the previous mechanism that would make you hungry. It doesn't mean you shouldn't be eating though. Try eating at least twice a day, even if those meals at close together following a 16 hour fast.

I would guess that your activity level is low?

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18 · August 05, 2012 at 2:07 AM

I don't think it's ever "normal" to lose your appetite.

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354 · August 15, 2013 at 8:03 AM

I also had a lack of hunger when I first went into ketosis (for a coupla weeks, in fact). I had near-zero on the appetite department, and low energy. What I did:

  • started lifting weights and walking more;
  • boosted my carbs a bit
  • ate a bit of sauerkraut 2x daily (to rebuild stomach flora, help digest what I did eat);
  • ate big meals, but only ate 2x daily; and
  • stopped drinking coffee/tea. Oh, getting sodium--lots of it, along w/magnesium and potassium, along w/lots of water.

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20 · August 15, 2013 at 1:40 AM

@fermier:

You won't need to cut down on your protein intake because your body will convert its excess fat stores into ATP (energy for your cells) before it starts to break down your dietary proteins. That's the point of the zero carb, low fat, high protein diet: make energy from what you're already holding in your body rather than the food that you're eating. Fat is actually your body's preferred source for energy - fat metabolism is quicker than sugar metabolism and does not produce toxic byproducts like protein metabolism (ammonia). You shouldn't need to cut down on your protein consumption because your body absolutely needs dietary protein in order to stay alive.

I also find eating chicken and eggs at the same time weird!

Good luck with everything! You won't believe what a difference Paleo makes. :)

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4873 · August 15, 2013 at 2:37 AM

If fermier wants to be in high ketosis, both carbs and proteins must be limited. The idea is to eat just enough protein to supply the body's structural needs because extra protein gets converted to glucose which inhibits ketosis. You write, "Fat is actually your body's preferred source of energy." Ketosis has nothing to do with the body's use of fatty acids as fuel. Ketones are alternatives to glucose, not to fatty acids. The body manufactures ketones in large amounts only when it lacks materials from which it can make glucose. Those materials are carbs and protein.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1
4873 · August 15, 2013 at 3:04 AM

If fermier wants to be in high ketosis, both carbs and proteins must be restricted. Protein should be limited to the amount required for structural needs because excess protein tends to get converted to glucose, and glucose inhibits ketosis. The reason this happens is because some tissues of the body require either glucose or ketones as fuel. Glucose is the preferred fuel for these tissues. Ketones are an alternative to glucose, not to fatty acids. The body resorts to making ketones in large amounts only when it lacks food from which it can make glucose for these tissues.

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0 · August 15, 2013 at 12:00 AM

To the lady, Varelse, thanks for reply. E.D. sadly then applies to this person, am grossly overweight, and doctor said lose it or else, went diabetic also. Day before yesterday just cut out all carbohydrates period, eating only eggs and chicken. That by itself is not very nice, poor little chickens not only killing them for food but also taking their eggs. Anyhow, am right now suffering from withdrawal rather unpleasantly. Hope it will pass before long. rgds

ps Ok carbohydrates must be cut out. But if protein also can be converted to sugar, and that too must be restricted…then what’s left other than starvation? Am not being sarcastic, just seeking help for my own unpleasant case, viz obese and diabetic.

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4873 · August 14, 2013 at 8:23 PM

I am just wondering how many other people have complete lack of appetite while in ketosis.

It's common for ketosis to suppress appetite. This effect may be greater at higher levels of ketosis. Since you are eating only once every few days you may be in higher ketosis than most people here have experienced. People on long-term total fasts, which produce very high ketosis, often report complete loss of appetite. I myself have fasted for 30 days without feeling hungry.

Appetite suppression can be very useful for overweight people. It can be an effortless way to lose weight.

You don't say how much you eat, only how often you eat. In other words, you don't say how severely hypocaloric your diet is. This makes a big difference. The fewer calories you eat, the more careful you need to be.

I'm assuming here that your diet is severely hypocaloric and that you're getting maybe one-third of your normal calories.

I can go 4 days without eating anything. I've read to only eat when hungry so I haven't really been stressing about it.

There's no need to stress about it. Just monitor your muscle mass. If it starts to shrink, you need to eat more protein. If you can't judge your muscle mass accurately then it's probably a good idea to eat (on average) at least 0.8 gram of protein per day per kilogram of desired bodyweight. For a 120 pound adult (desired weight) that comes out to an average of 44 grams per day. This is an average, so the 120 pound adult in our example wouldn't have to eat that much every day; she could eat 88 grams every other day, etc.

Since you're on a long-term hypocaloric diet, it's probably a good idea to eat mostly nutrient-dense foods like kale, chard, eggs, omega-3-rich fish, liver, etc. and take a vitamin-mineral supplement.

Another thing to watch out for is that you may get into a cycle where the less you eat, the less appetite you have, which makes you eat even less, etc. If you're obese this may be good, but I can tell you from experience that this can happen even if you're not overweight.

You can adjust appetite by adding small amounts of sugar and/or starch to your diet. This will decrease ketosis and increase appetite.

You didn't mention thirst and urination but chances are your thirst has become low and you're not urinating much. On a severely ketogenic diet it's a good idea to force yourself to drink more water than you feel like drinking because high ketosis elevates the risk of kidney stones.

What should I do? Force myself to eat to make my friends shut up...

If you decide that you should eat more, you don't have to force yourself. Just add a little sugar or starch to the diet to reduce ketosis. This will increase appetite and you'll feel like eating again. It may take a day or two for the effect to be felt.

...or should I just keep doing what I'm doing now and that is to wait until I'm hungry?

Since you said you want to lose 10 kg, I would keep doing this until that weight is lost or you can't lose more fat without also losing muscle. Monitor the amount of muscle and increase protein if muscle begins to shrink. But after that I would stop. After that I would add protein, starch and sugar to the diet to reduce ketosis and restore appetite. I don't agree with the idea that continuous high ketosis is healthy.

As I said above, I would also eat mostly nutrient-dense foods and take a vitamin-mineral supplement.

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0 · August 14, 2013 at 1:32 PM

What is this ED everyone is talking about I looked it up and found only erectile disfunction. Why would that be such an issue.

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10490 · August 14, 2013 at 1:59 PM

LOL. In this context, it stands for Eating Disorder. Bulimia, anorexia, binge eating disorder, etc.

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724 · August 04, 2012 at 10:40 PM

Four days without eating anything or even feeling hungry sounds pretty abnormal, even if in ketosis. I agree something is out of whack. I think you should definitely eat something. Maybe try eat something like some fruit or starchy vegetables and try to lead yourself a little out of ketosis, then keep adding in some carbs here and there until you begin to feel hungry here and there. I've been in ketosis before and have experienced a definite reduction in appetite and going hours without eating and it not being a bother, I've also had ED issues in the past and this doesn't sound normal at all to me. Get some nutrients into you asap.

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