What to do if your appetite disappears when you start eating ketoOne of the (for me) amazing benefits of eating a ketogenic diet is a dramatic decrease in appetite.

For some people, this can be a little scary, though, certainly if you are someone that is used to feeling hungry or wanting to eat a lot of the time.

For other people, it is a blessed relief to not be thinking about food all the time!

I have noticed that there seems to be 3 distinct phases in the changes of your appetite when you start eating keto.

Not everyone experiences this but it does seem to be pretty common.

Phase 1 – Increase in hunger

If you experience this it is likely to be in the first few days after transitioning to a ketogenic diet. It could be that you seem to be ravenous for carbs – which is simply your brain trying to get you to eat those carbs that it is used to fueling itself on.

This is perfectly normal and just a stage that you need to buckle down and get through in order to keto-adapt.

Alternatively (or additionally) you may feel like you suddenly can’t get enough of all the fatty goodness you have started eating. I definitely experienced this following a few days of carb cravings. All of a sudden it seemed like I just wanted to eat fatty protein and vegetables with tons of butter every minute of the day!

My theory on this is that once you start feeding your body the good stuff, a light switches on in your brain and you kind of go into overdrive. It’s like your brain and body saying ” Oh my goodness yes! This is the stuff!! Give me more!”.

If you experience this, just go for it. Don’t try to hold back and restrict your intake. Give yourself permission to feed and nourish yourself as much as you like. in all likelihood, this will only last for 2-3 days.

Phase 2 – Dramatic Decrease in Appetite

At around 2-3 weeks into your keto diet and in some cases a lot sooner, you may find that you suddenly don’t have any appetite at all. You can go for hours and hours without eating, and then when you do make a meal you have a few bites and don’t want any more.

I even started to find any food at all a little nauseating after just one or two bites.

Some people find it a struggle to even hit 1000kcals a day when this happens, and they start to worry that something has gone wrong. And if your goal is not to lose weight, but to maintain or even gain weight, it can be worrying.

But here’s the thing… If you experience this, don’t worry! It will pass.

It’s something that a lot of people go through in these beginning stages and although I can’t give you a scientific reason for it (sorry), do know that it’s very common and you will pop out of the other side.

If you find that you have a dramatic decrease in appetite my advice would be to eat very simple, small meals.

Focus on high-quality, calorie-dense nutrition so that every bite you take has the ability to nourish you. If you truly can’t stomach any food – don’t sweat it. Just wait until you can.

In this phase I found myself snacking more than eating meals. An example snack would be a boiled egg sprinkled with Himalayan salt. Or a few slices of cheese with cucumber. I ate a lot of fat bombs and plain chicken too.

I believe that in this stage your body is healing. Have faith that your body knows what it’s doing and don’t try to force yourself to eat.

Phase 3 – Balancing Out

My dramatic decrease in appetite lasted for around a week or two. After that, I started to find that I could finish my meals again, and over the next couple of weeks my hunger returned. But it was completely different to how it had been before starting keto.

I could still go for hours without eating, but then I would experience a definite hunger which was pleasant and I looked forward to eating. When eating my meal I could tell exactly when I had had enough and it was easy to stop. Following this, I was not hungry for a few more hours.

Basically, the ups and downs of hunger and being hangry had disappeared and it felt like my relationship with food had moved to an enjoyable, ‘food as fuel’ one.

It is around this point where I felt like I had truly keto-adapted. My mood swings had gone, my energy levels were steady through the day and I truly enjoyed my food when I was eating.

So those are the 3 phases! Do you recognise them? Are you experiencing anything like this? Let me know in the comments.

Framed image linking to ketogenic diet guides and plans

12 thoughts on “No Appetite on Keto? Here’s What to Do…”

  1. I have been on keto plan about 3 weeks. Nausea and no appetite for at least a week. If I force myself to eat, I feel lousy. Usually nauseous. Also I had Bariatric surgery on 2007, so can’t eat large amounts of food at one time.

    1. Hi Debra, it is very common to experience this, but it usually passes relatively quickly. Look after yourself and don’t force yourself to eat if you really can’t stomach it. Try to find some simple recipes or snacks that can just help to keep your calories up while your adapting. I have a little blog post here listing a few great keto snacks that might help: http://ketogenicdietforwomen.com/37-perfect-keto-snacks-quick-easy/

      1. Thanks, Joan. I just needed to know what I’m going thru is normal. I’ve been dealing with a ton of stress and don’t want this change in eating to add to that. I’m just going to eat only when hungry and keep it very simple. Boiled eggs and string cheese sticks are about it.

    2. I’m surprised that your doctors agreed that a keto diet is good for a surgery patient. My associates who’ve had bariatric surgery were told to avoid a large intake of fat and to stick with lean protein. The cornerstone of a keto diet is a macronutrient ratio favoring 75% of your calories from fat.

      I thought the whole point of surgery is to suppress your desire for food and force you to eat less food. So I don’t know why you’d need to follow a diet that kills your appetite or why that would be a problem when it does.

  2. Today is day eight for me on the Keto plan – and I literally had to force myself to eat my first meal. I am also doing a 16/8 fasting schedule. I have found that I have had no desire (at least the last couple of days) for my meals. I have not been able to get more than 1000 calories in during the last 3 days – my breakdown is 70% fat, 25% protein, 5% carbs.
    I am happy not to feel hungry – but this is not something I have ever experience (in my whole life). I should add that I am carrying around 25-30 extra pounds of weight, so it is not like I will waste away … I am just concerned about slowing my metabolism down. I have also lost 7.5 lbs in the last 8 days.

    1. Hi Sharon, yes it can be really odd when you’re appetite disappears, I totally hear you on that one. Focus on eating high quality and high calories keto foods that you enjoy, and perhaps look into making some fat bombs. In my experience, appetite does return! It may be worth holding off on doing intermittent fasting for the time being though, as this can be a little stressful to the body. Keep things gentle, and treat yourself and your food with love and all will be well. 🙂

  3. This is exactly what I’m experiencing now. Today is the start of my second week with keto and I am barely hitting 1000 calories a day. In fact, my days are usually less than 1000 calories. I was worried that this was a bad thing. This morning for breakfast I am having a hard boiled egg, some almonds, and cheese cubes. I brought shredded chicken thighs to eat over lettuce with some avocado for lunch, and I’m making cauliflower fried rice for dinner. Does this sound like a good keto eating day? I’m loving this way of eating because I don’t feel as restricted as I thought I would. Any tips of advice are greatly appreciated! Thank you!!

    1. Hi Erin, it sounds to me like you need more fat in your daily meals! Perhaps try making some fat bombs, or a keto mayonnaise to go with your chicken thighs. Don’t be afraid of the fat! It will help you to keep your calories up while you are experiencing a drop in appetite, and also help your body adjust to burning fats for fuel. All the best!

  4. I am in this stage right now. I got home from work and it hit me that I only had one meal the entire day. This scared me. I weighed myself before I went to bed and I was the same weight from that same morning. There is usually a 4 lb increase but there was nothing. So strange. I wake up with no appetite but I feel fine. I can stomach keto coffee with mct oil and ghee and that will hold me for at least 6 hours. I’ll have a tablespoon of mct oil mid day just because I feel like a need it. I ate 2 grilled chicken thighs that had avocado oil and spices on them, some grass fed cheddar cheese and an organic egg. I had to force myself to get that food down. I’m just going with the flow for now. This has been an interesting journey so far.

    1. Hi Lorrayne, yes just go with the flow and listen to your body. The keto journey is a very interesting one, as you say. I have learned a lot about myself and what works for me. 🙂

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