Sugar and Carb Cravings on Keto

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 04/12/2024

Sugar cravings can be the ultimate nemesis when you're trying to stick to a keto diet. It's like your brain is screaming for a quick fix, a sweet escape from the world of avocados and bacon.

But here's the thing: giving in to those cravings can kick you right out of ketosis faster than you can say "carb overload."

So, how do you tell your sweet tooth to hike without feeling like you're missing out on all the fun? I've got your back.

As someone who's been there, done that, and bought the sugar-free t-shirt, I'm here to share 9 tried-and-true strategies to help you kick those pesky sugar cravings to the curb and stay on track with your keto journey.

Understanding Keto Diet and Carb Cravings

If you're following a keto diet, you may have experienced intense cravings for sugary or carb-heavy foods. This is a common occurrence, especially during the initial stages of the diet.

It's important to understand the role that carbohydrates play in the body and how the keto diet affects this process to understand why these cravings happen.

The Role of Carbs in Ketosis

The primary goal of the keto diet is to enter a metabolic state called ketosis, where the body burns fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. However, consuming too many carbs can prevent the body from entering ketosis, leading to increased cravings.

When you eat carbs, your body breaks them down into glucose, which is then used for energy. If you consume more carbs than your body needs, the excess glucose is stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles.

Studies have shown that high glycogen levels can inhibit ketosis.

Foods to Avoid for Successful Ketosis

To achieve and maintain ketosis, it's crucial to limit your intake of high-carb foods. Some of the foods to avoid include:

  • Fruits (except for small portions of berries)

  • Beans and legumes

  • Breads, pasta, and cereals

  • Crackers and biscuits

  • Juice and sugary beverages

  • Alcohol

Transition Phase and Cravings

When you first start the keto diet, your body undergoes a transition phase as it adapts to using fat for fuel instead of carbs. You may experience intense cravings for sugary or carb-rich foods during this time.

These cravings are a sign that your body is not yet entirely in ketosis. The cravings should subside as your body becomes more efficient at burning fat. Research suggests it can take a few days to a few weeks to fully adapt to the keto diet.

It is important to keep carb intake below 20 grams per day to effectively manage sugar and carb cravings on a keto diet. This will help your body enter and maintain ketosis, reducing cravings.

Healthy low-carb keto foods

Strategies to Overcome Sugar and Carb Cravings

While transitioning to a keto diet can be challenging, there are several strategies you can use to overcome sugar and carb cravings. One effective approach is to combine intermittent fasting with a low-carb diet.

Importance of Meal Scheduling

Intermittent fasting involves limiting your food intake to a specific window of time each day. By following a three-meal-a-day schedule without snacks and gradually pushing breakfast forward, you can help eliminate breakfast altogether.

This approach can be particularly beneficial for managing cravings, as it helps to regulate insulin levels and promote ketosis. Studies have shown that intermittent fasting can significantly reduce body weight and improve metabolic health.

Adding Healthy Fats to Meals

Another key strategy for managing hunger and cravings on a keto diet is to incorporate healthy fats into your meals. Foods like avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and fatty fish can help keep you feeling full and satisfied for longer periods.

Healthy fats also play a crucial role in hormone regulation and nutrient absorption. By including these foods in your diet, you can support overall health while reducing cravings and promoting weight loss.

Combining intermittent fasting with a low-carb diet is crucial for entering ketosis and reducing cravings. The key to entering ketosis and overcoming cravings is to lower insulin levels by reducing carb intake and the frequency of eating.

Nutritional Considerations for Managing Cravings

In addition to meal scheduling and incorporating healthy fats, it's important to focus on consuming nutrient-dense foods to manage cravings on a keto diet.

Potassium and magnesium-rich vegetables are particularly beneficial for addressing insulin imbalances and preventing cravings.

Vegetable Intake Recommendations

Aim to consume 7 to 10 cups of vegetables per day, with two large salads and five cups of salad per meal being a good starting point. Some of the best vegetables to include in your keto diet are:

  • Leafy greens (spinach, kale, lettuce)

  • Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts)

  • Low-carb vegetables (zucchini, bell peppers, asparagus)

These vegetables are not only low in carbs but also high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals that support overall health and help manage cravings.

Addressing Insulin Imbalances Through Diet

Insulin imbalances are a common cause of cravings on a keto diet. When insulin levels are high, the body is more likely to store fat and experience cravings for sugary or carb-heavy foods.

By focusing on consuming potassium and magnesium-rich vegetables, you can help regulate insulin levels and reduce cravings. Research has shown that a diet rich in these nutrients can improve insulin sensitivity and support weight loss.

Proper nutrition is key to managing cravings on a ketogenic diet. By prioritizing nutrient-dense, low-carb foods and addressing insulin imbalances through diet, you can successfully navigate the challenges of the keto diet and achieve your health goals.

Slaying Sugar Cravings

Embark on your journey to conquer sugar cravings with these nine battle-tested strategies for keto success.

From mindful snacking to incorporating satisfying fats, these tactics will keep your cravings at bay while you indulge in the ultimate guilty pleasure: a tantalizing chocolate-covered bacon recipe.

With the perfect blend of savory and sweet, this recipe is sure to satisfy your taste buds while keeping you on track with your ketogenic lifestyle.


Kicking sugar cravings on keto is no walk in the park, but it's not impossible either.

By understanding the science behind those cravings and implementing these 9 strategies, you'll be well on your way to a happier, healthier, and more satisfying keto lifestyle.

Remember, it's not about deprivation; it's about finding keto-friendly alternatives that hit the spot without derailing your progress. So, stock up on those healthy fats, prioritize sleep, and don't be afraid to get a little creative in the kitchen.

You've got this, my fellow keto warrior. Keep calm, keto on, and show those sugar cravings who's boss.

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