9 reasons you are hungry on keto and what to do about it.

You have heard all the claims about the keto diet…it’s supposed to reduce your hunger, get your mind off of food, and leave you to think about something else.

However, you are hungry than ever on keto.

Don’t worry you are not doomed to a life of being hungry. With a few tweaks you will be on your way t o a person who can skip breakfast and lunch and not even notice!


In this article we will explore some of the reasons you are still hungry on the keto diet and how to fix the problem.

1. Dehydration

There are not many studies, but some do show that dehydration and hunger are correlated [1].

Our internal “I am hungry” and “I am thirsty” cues are subtle and may be confused! Many people experience hunger by a feeling of fatigue, and lightheadedness. These symptoms are also the same as when people are mildly dehydrated causing confusion between hunger and thirst.

There have also been studies linking higher BMI with dehydration [2]. The solution is to drink more water! My favorite is Perrier, and I can definitely feel the difference when I drink no water and drink a healthy amount of water.

Remember on the keto diet you will usually not feel thirsty ( oddly enough), but this is dangerous because you will forget to drink water and confuse dehydration with the keto diet!

2.Not enough Sleep

Rules for the keto diet. Get more sleep.

  A lack of sleep can make you fat. By disrupting hormones that cause you to be hungry even when you are not! A keto diet helps with appetite, however if you are not taking care of yourself in other areas, you will not see as good of results. “Is reducing your sleep worth destroying your health? is the question you should be asking yourself.

The reason behind sleep deprivation causing hunger is brain health declines, and ghrelin and leptin are altered [3].

To get the best sleep, you should be going to bed the same time everyday and waking up at the same time. This includes the weekends ( although is very difficult for me) . This balances out hormones.  

To learn more about how you sleep check out the ouraring at ouraring.com. This is best for data junkies when want to measure their sleep and how different variables such as mattresses effects their sleep.

3. Stressed Out

When you are stressed it causes mayhem in your bodies hormones. Cortisol elevates, and you are ready to fight! This mechanism can lead you to over eat and cheat on your diet.

I have often thought that the keto diet was stressing me out, and “making “me cheat. This is complete Buls***t, and your mind is playing tricks on you.

To combat this try meditation, light exercise ( such as yoga) and sleeping better ( yup, that sleep thing again).

4.Too Many Carbs

You may not even notice, but you may be consuming more carbohydrates causing insulin spikes, leading to hunger pains. This has happened to me in the past, and I had to document everything I was eating and finding out the culprit. It was one too many pistacios…

Remember to make sure the meats, sauces, and nuts that you are eating do not go over your threshold (somewhere around 40 carbs).

5.Too little Fat

It’s the opposite of what you have been told but stay away from the lean meats and opt for the fattier cuts. Yup.  The reason is that fat fills you up and keeps you full whereas carbs make you hungrier.

Make sure to choose health fats and avoid toxic fats (vegetable oil). To learn more about healthy fats check out my post on 10 healthy fats.

6.Too much protein

Many people make out the ketogenic diet to be a high protein diet, but this is not a true keto diet. A true keto diet is high in high quality fats, moderate high-quality protein, and low in high quality carbs.

A well formulated ketogenic diet will have non-starchy vegetables at the base, because they are voluminous l leading to a sense of being fuller than if just eating fat.

Too much protein can also lead to it being converted to sugar, which prevents fat from burning. When choosing protein make sure to choose high quality due to the omega-3 and omega-6 ratio, and also the positive effects it has on the microbiome.


MSG known as Monosodium glutamine has been shown to increase hunger due to the insulin response it provokes [4]. 

In another study it has shown to “significantly affect hypothalamic control of various hormones and increases appetite [5]” also showing that participants who consumed MSG had a higher likely to be overweight [6].

So what exactly is MSG? It’s a flavor enhancer that is found I many foods to make them more palatable. It’s everywhere from chinse restauruants to flavored salt that you can buy at the grocery and known by many names. 


When starting out on the keto diet, it’s best to stick to whole natural foods, and leave out all the advertised keto foods.

8. Lack of Nutrients

Keto Fiber Supplement

You may not be getting the nutrients you need in the foods you are consuming causing your hunger to be sparked. Obesity is actually a case of starving people. Not because their consumption of food is low, but because their body is starving of the nutrients that it needs to survive.

Make sure to choose the highest quality of food that you can afford. Maybe forgo that Starbucks coffee in the morning to be able to choose a higher quality meat, or grass-fed butter.

Also, though not health related, look for more opportunities to make more money. We are living in a great time of opportunity and there is no reason why you should be needing to skimp on the quality of your food J

9. Poor gut health

There have been a lot of research that is going into gut health and how it relates to weight gain, brain health, and physical well-being. Basically, if you have poor gut healthy you will be overweight, have a higher insulin response to things ( such as ice cream), and have less stable emotions.

To help with gut health take a high-quality probiotic that can help with gut health.  Read here for a helpful article about gut health and ways to improve it 

I plan on doing more research on the topic, and later creating a gut health section in my blog.






[4] https://www.askdrmaxwell.com/2014/08/foods-that-make-you-hungry/