One 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

22 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:

      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.

      1. This is not so. They encourage you not to overdo fat at one sitting or you can have “dumping syndrome.” Not all of us dump on fat. Some only on sugar, some on both. The whole point of our surgery was to eat smaller amounts. You can do Keto if you do that and eat the fat with those smaller amounts. I find as long as I stay under 20 grams in one setting, I am good to go. I also had the drop in appetite after week 2 and actually this is very good for a bariatric surgery patient, ESPECIALLY after 5 years or more post-op. The reason being is eating less and having some of the intermittent fasting that naturally happens with a keto diet kind of resets the pouch. Our pouches an stretch (speaking from a Roux en Y prospective) and forcing ourselves to consume smaller protein and fat based meals is perfect. We aren’t eating “slider foods.” Those are almost always CARBS. I went from 300 to 160 in 2011. This year, I crept back up to 190 and I have lost 15 lbs so far. I feel better and have less issues with being “gassy.” I felt bad the first couple weeks and very tired. That went away about week 4 for me. I know that my surgeon always said “Protein first!” Protein is the one thing that fills me up the fastest and keeps me full. I was really doing a number on myself eating wheat thins and drinking with it. I could eat nearly a whole box and it wasn’t long before the bariatric surgery honeymoon was way over. Again, we can have fat. We just have to figure out our threshold before we “dump” and adjust the frequency of meals if we have a lower fat threshold. I can’t say enough good things about this diet. It is the first time my ferritin levels have stayed up without an Iron Infusion at the hospital. I feel hopeful.

  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. 🙂

  5. Hi. I agree with experience. No real hunger on a ketogenic diet. No real appetite either. I have only two meals a day and bike for 3 hours without getting hungry afterwards.

    The advantage of the diet, the constant high level of energy, is also the disadvantage: if I cannot do sports I get very nervous and irratable. Like a suppressed Jack in box. Moderate intensity biking does not help to deenergize but squats with weights til exhaustion does the trick. And a long cold bath!

  6. Hi , i am experiencing no apetite since a week but have stopped reducing weight too. It’s almost stable and i am I unable to lift weights as i used to before due to cramping and weakness. I have been on keto for almost a month now and lost 6 kgs and have 3 more to go till 1st September. Please suggest how to re start my weight loss again on keto.

  7. I am honestly forcing myself to eat a small salad as we speak, I came upon this article after googling answers as to why I have no appetite and if I should make myself eat or not. So thank you for writing about this topic.
    I am 3 weeks in and have the symptoms that everyone else seems to be posting about. When I began Keto, I was 174 lbs (I’m 5’7″), 42 years old. This morning I weighed in at 158.8 lbs which is the same exact weight I was yesterday morning. I don’t feel the least bit sluggish…in fact I feel like I have more energy than I did before. I do feel though that I have to force myself to eat, regardless of what meal or time of day it is. I’ll hear my stomach growl but I have no hunger sensation.
    I have found conflicting resolutions on how to deal with not feeling hungry on Keto: some articles advise to eat anyways because your body needs to be fed while other articles say it’s ok to not eat. I also try to factor in that I’m drinking 164oz of water every day except yesterday and today I am VERY thirsty. My mouth is very dry so I am drinking about 200oz just to lose that sensation but try to cut myself back in the evenings so I’m not up every few hours running to the bathroom! I had thought it was my water intake that was severely curbing my appetite but after reading all of the other posts…I see that this is normal on Keto. My equation had me at 1200 calories per day but I am struggling to reach 1000 calories. I’m keeping my carb intake under 20 and maintaining my protein levels daily as well. I’ve seen a tremendous weight loss in 3 weeks, being a 42 year old female, so I’m happy with the 16 lb. loss thus far. I only have a few more pounds to go to reach my healthy weight which will hopefully take care of my BMI and cholesterol concerns. I will say that I have never skipped a meal though…I do eat breakfast, lunch and dinner so I’m keeping my counts as well as I should be. And it IS working for me so I don’t plan to change what I’m doing. I just found it very odd that out of the blue, my appetite went away and I’m now making myself eat.

    1. LynnCWhite says: Hi Lynn, so glad to see i’m not alone.. I started Keto 45 days ago… I have only dropped 5 lbs and hoped it would have been more? I have no appetite at all and I can’t even meet my water goals. If you have any thoughts on how I can get my appetite back and my weight off that would be great!

  8. I’ve restarted my keto diet after 2 months of eating total cap and feeling hungry all the time and giving into that hunger which resulted in me gaining about 20 pounds. Then after just 2 days on the keto diet I was definitely craving carbs hard core. I just really wanted a sandwich so I had that and two plates of chips (no self controll) to combat my extremely quick relapse I fasted for about 18 hours and then resumed with my keto diet adding in intermittent fasting of 16-20 hours daily depending on my schedule. After just 3 or 4 days I found when it was time for me to eat I just was not hungry or I’d have one meal and wasn’t hungry again after that. My meals now are extremely healthy and keto friendly chicken cheese spinach eggs but I’m still not hungry and I don’t believe I’m getting anywhere near 1000 caloriea a day. I feel fine and have energy. There’s really no negative side effects other then me worrying that I’m not consuming enough food each day. I’m not sure what to do. I drink plenty of water every day probably around 10 bottles of water. Also I am 27 5 foot 10 and weighed 193 when I started this after only a little over a week I weigh 183 still no appitetite. I’m curious if I need to force my self to eathe more or just let my body do its thing and follow it’s cues.

    1. This usually just passes. In the meantime just carry on making sure that the food you are able to eat is highly nutritious! You could always look up some recipes for fat bombs or similar snacks that are very high in calories, so you can just up those calories a little if you feel you need to but still don’t have an appetite. 🙂

  9. This helped me so much! I am currently doing the keto diet with intermittent fasting so I only have about 8-10 hours a day that I allow myself to eat and honestly I am just not hungry most of the time. I do force myself to eat so that I can hit my macros and it is downright nauseating sometimes. I’m so glad this is normal and will eventually pass. Thank you so much!!

  10. I am finshing up my 3rd week and I’m finding eating my rich, fatty foods are making me sick. I can’t finish dinners, I don’t have much of an appetite but I’m so worried about getting all my calories in. It seems when I’m under calories I gain weight or maybe it’s just normal fluctuation, but I’m finding it really hard to stick to it right now. It’s working so well though, I’ve lost 13 pounds already in 3 weeks and I have big goals before my wedding next October so I need to stick with it! I’m just happy to see this is common and that it will pass!

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