The best way I have found to beat keto cravings is to eat the most delicious low-carb food I can think of, and eat plenty of it – until I’m truly full.
Keto cravings are quite common, especially at the start. In fact, one of the major challenges of going on a low carb or keto diet is carb cravings. I believe that carbs – especially processed carbs – are addictive. Cutting them out of our diet creates actual physical withdrawal symptoms (we’ll discuss the infamous “carb flu” in a separate article). Often, it also creates major psychological struggle.
Keto cravings are normal
If you’re dreaming about carbs and, in your waking hours, fantasizing about all the wonderful treats you’re missing on a low carb diet, you’re not alone. The struggle is real, and the vast majority of people report that the first few weeks on a low carb diet are extremely challenging.
While your body adjusts to using fat for energy instead of glucose, you will miss carbs, not just on a psychological level but on a very real, physiological level. Your body will cry out for the glucose it’s used to, such an easy source of energy (but a source that comes with a hefty price tag).
So know that it’s normal, and don’t feel bad about your carb dreams.
How to deal with keto carb cravings
During the first few weeks of adjusting to a ketogenic diet, it’s very important not to give in and indulge those carb cravings. You want to transform your body into fat burning, so you should not confuse it with occasional high-carb meals.
The best way I have found to deal with carb-related keto cravings is to eat the most delicious low-carb food I can think of, and eat plenty of it – until I’m truly full.
Bacon is a great example. Most people love it, and it can be a great transition food. But be generous with your portions – two strips likely won’t do it. When I transitioned to a low carb diet, I sometimes ate six strips of bacon in on sitting. This may sound excessive, but really, when faced with a strong desire for something sweet, nearly an entire package of bacon was so delicious, so satiating, that it was really the only way to silence the cravings.
I don’t recommend eating this way for prolonged periods of time. But in those very first few weeks, bacon can be your best friend, and help you transition to a low carb diet while ignoring the carb cravings.
Another personal favorite of mine was deviled eggs. I consider deviled eggs a delicacy, but have always limited their consumption on a low-fat diet. When I started eating low-carb, I made trays of deviled eggs, and allowed myself as many as I wanted – which was a lot.
Crave, eat, repeat
So whenever you crave something carby or sweet, eat something delicious and low carb. It’s a good idea to cook the low carb foods you like in batches, so that you always have something tasty in the fridge. You can reheat food in the microwave, but many cooked low carb foods are delicious eaten cold – cold cooked bacon is actually amazing, and so are strips of cold cooked steak – you can dip them in a dip made with mayonnaise, mustard and hot sauce if you’d like.
It’s also a good idea to always have pre-cut low-starch vegetables in the fridge. Eat them with guacamole, or dip them in homemade ranch dressing, to make them satiating.
Don’t allow yourself to become too hungry
After a few months on a low carb diet, you will likely be able to eat three meals a day, or maybe even just two. Your blood sugar will be very stable, and your insulin will be low, so you won’t feel the need to eat every 2-3 hours.
But for now, if you’re just starting out, make sure you don’t become too hungry even if it means eating every 3 hours, because being ravenous is a surefire way to give in and have something carby, especially if you don’t have something precooked in the fridge.
Keto cravings are very real, but if you follow the plan outlined here, you’ll have a much better chance of not giving in to them!