How To Control Carb Cravings On The Keto Diet?
- 17 Nov, 2020
A sugar craving is your body's way of begging for sugar when your blood glucose levels drop. Whether it's a fresh-baked cookie, a piece of chocolate, a hot slice of pizza, or a plate of salty French fries, most likely, you've had the intense desire to throw caution to the wind and indulge. So you give in, just once, only to find yourself craving another cookie or a bag of potato chips in just a few hours. This cycle of eating too many carbs raises and lowers your blood sugar levels. Sugar cravings and sugar addictions are the worst when you're eating a high-carb, high-sugar diet. Although it is possible to have cravings when you're on a keto diet even if you're already fat adapted.
Wondering why you get them and most importantly how to make them go away?
Detoxing from carbs isn't easy, but don't sweat it; we've got your back with helpful tips to speed you through that craving-rollercoaster. Keep in mind, cravings are more intense in the first few days of starting any low-carb diet, such as keto, but will typically die off as the body adapts to using fat for fuel.
Why do you become addicted to sugars, and crave sugary meals?
- Most people crave sugar because that's how your body has been programmed. Carbs make up nearly 50% of calories on the Standard Dietary Regimen. Switching to a low-carb or ketogenic diet throws a wrench into your system.
- Instead of bulking up on carbs and giving in to your sweet tooth, you'll limit carbs to just 5-10% of your daily calories. That's around 20g to 50g of net carbs per day, depending on your body type, activity level, and goals.
- You'll also aim to eat less than 10g of sugar each day. These drastic changes in your diet are necessary if you want to get into ketosis. But that doesn't mean your body will be on board at first.
There are several reasons why you crave sugar. Here are just a couple:
As you probably already know, constantly high blood sugar and insulin levels put you on the path to metabolic syndrome, which puts you at an increased risk for diseases like
- Heart disease
- Obesity and weight gain
- Type 2 diabetes
- PCOS (if you're a lady)
- Certain cancers Until your body switches to using fat for fuel is ketosis, you'll likely experience some sugar cravings. And this transition period can take a few weeks.
Switching from burning glucose for fuel to using fatty acids and ketones for fuel is a complex metabolic process that can take anywhere from 1-2 weeks to up to a month. Until you're fat-adapted, your body will be searching for a quick fix of glucose from carbs.
Simply tasting and eating carbs and sugar has been shown to stimulate the release of:
- Dopamine, which promotes happiness, pleasure, and feelings of euphoria.
- Serotonin, a neurotransmitter that may put you in a better mood.
- Endorphins, which calm and relax your body for a natural "high" similar to the buzz you feel when exercising.
These feel-good rewards make it very difficult to kick candy bars and junk food to the curb.
Eating more sugar than your low-carb macros allow may lead to short-term effects such as:
- Higher blood sugar levels
- Difficulty reaching ketosis
- Getting kicked out of ketosis
- Going through the keto flu
- Weight loss stalls
- Potential weight gain
Tips to keep your sugar cravings at bay:
Nourish your body and keep a full belly, preferably of fresh, whole foods. Cravings are most intense when hungry.
What are the ongoing trends in dietary patterns?
If you keep yourself updated with the recent trends in dietary regimes, you will be well aware of “keto, vegan and gluten-free” is the buzzword nowadays. Health-conscious individuals are resorting to ketosis and veganism, in which you abstain from consuming carbohydrates. As per various studies published, a vegan diet is linked to a long and healthy life. Also, people are going gluten-free to put a halt to their recurring migraine attacks instead of consuming unnecessary medications.This trend is attributed to the plenty of researches that have been carried out on the benefits of following a protein-based diet. A majority of lifestyle-related diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, insulin resistance, PCOS and obesity, are kept at bay by adhering to ketosis.
What’s more? Keto diet presents you with numerous alternatives that mix tastes with sustenance in the perfect sum.
Don't tip-toe into keto. This prolongs the cravings. Similar to a cold, refreshing lake on a hot summer's day, dive-in! At least in the beginning. The point of keto is changing the fuel source, not focusing so much on calorie-restriction. If you're starving, listen to your body and eat! Starting keto and restricting calories simultaneously results in both hunger and cravings, which is a bad combination. Changing the body's source of fuel can reset certain hormones that affect appetite. Many people report being more in-tune with their real hunger and fullness cues when fuelling off of ketones.
This one is different for everyone. Some say using sugar substitutes like stevia help kill the cravings without sabotaging their diet, while others report a lingering sweet-tooth. You will need to troubleshoot to figure out what works for you.
Remember, cravings are more intense at the beginning of starting keto and typically settle down after a few days to a couple of weeks. The body is genuinely detoxing from carbohydrate dependency. Fight through it; it gets easier.
One of the biggest mistakes when starting a keto diet is the battle with fat. We've been fed the wrong information for decades and told to fear fat, but this was false! If you're feeling hungry between meals, add more healthy fat. You'll struggle immensely if you don't.
Focus on real, fresh, whole foods. Processed foods tend to cause inflammation. If you want to feel good, have more energy, maintain a healthy weight, and do it for the long-run, then nourish your body well.
Dehydration can sometimes fool us into thinking we're hungry and lead us to crave certain foods that are off-plan. Hydration is crucial, especially when first starting a keto diet.
Not only do vegetables nourish our bodies, but they're full of fibre, which can help us fill full and reduce cravings.
Do you bounce back and forth with eating keto? One day on, and the next day off? This will only prevent becoming keto-adapted and result in increased cravings, prolong the keto-flu, and likely result in weight loss plateaus. Get off the fence and commit for the long-run.
I think this goes without saying, but regardless, keeping sugary, starchy processed foods readily accessible will only set you up to fail. Make unhealthy foods inconvenient and less available… get rid of them!
Cravings can result from multiple reasons such as boredom, stress, emotion, etc. Try exercising or going for a simple walk to help de-stress and get your mind off of food.
How long does it take you to become physically fit?
Well, it depends on how unfit or out of shape you are when you start. This question is, however, irrelevant because unless you plan to stay in shape and begin exercising from now on, you won’t do any good for your body or health in the long run.
Poor sleep is highly attributable to cravings and has been shown to increase the hunger hormone ghrelin, resulting in increased cravings throughout the day. Don't take sleep for granted! Make it a priority.
Well, there are a few redundant emotions behind stress, what are they?
These are Fear, Embarrassment, Vulnerability, Invalidation, Anger, Worry, Doubt, Guilt and Shame.You hide your real emotions in the guise of physical pain, which is the physical expression of your emotional pain. However, binge eating or stress munching is not a solution to this issue, instead try the following approaches:
- Release the need for specific outcomes and responses.
- Release your inner critic; taking nothing personally leads to inner peace and the freedom to live and let live.
- Choose positive feedback, encouragement and affirmation
- Various studies suggest that regular exercise actually helps protect the mind against mild cognitive impairment. Also, daily walking is very beneficial for dealing with stress.
- Perform exercises like finger-release and handgrip stress release to better deal with your emotions.
You’re not weak for having a sugar craving. Once you get in ketosis, sugar cravings all but disappear. Your body will finally like working on fat and ketones and stop fighting you. Follow these tips next time a craving hits and you’ll be closer to reaching and staying in ketosis.