If you have sugar cravings on keto, you’re not alone. In fact, keto sweet cravings are a big reason many keto diets fail.
I personally struggled with junk food cravings every single time I began a new low carb diet. Once the intense cravings took over, I was back to the drawing board – usually with an extra 5-10 pounds. The good news is I finally conquered my sugar addiction after decades of trying.
Want to learn how you too can ditch your sweet tooth on a ketogenic diet? Keep reading to learn why you constantly crave sweet treats, plus how to stop carb cravings for sugary treats and starchy foods.
Why Am I Craving Carbs?
If you have intense urges to eat carbs on a low-carb diet, you probably want to know – why am I having carb cravings?
Typically craving carbs on keto comes down to a few lifestyle shifts that are easy to fix. If you’re making any of these mistakes while following a high fat, low carb diet – being more diligent with some keto basics can help cupcake cravings disappear!
Some of the biggest mistakes most low carb dieters make that lead to keto sweet cravings include:
If you’re not getting a good night’s rest, that’s a HUGE deal. Keto diet plans don’t work when insomnia is an issue. Not only does getting enough sleep put you in a better mood, but proper rest is imperative for weight loss.
In fact, studies show that even one night of sleep deprivation changes hunger levels and throws your appetite hormones out of whack. This leads to increased hunger and cravings for all kinds of carbs, like craving donuts on keto. Now you and I both know donuts are NOT on the low carb menu.
When you trade a high-sugar diet for a “keto-friendly” plan that’s filled with low carb versions of your favorite foods – that’s not the best way to get results on keto. In fact, those keto fun food recipes are often only a recipe for weight loss plateaus. Plus, you’ll have more keto sweet cravings.
It’s important to avoid the really bad sweeteners, like aspartame, sucralose, and acesulfame potassium for better health. Still, even keto-friendly sweeteners, like stevia and monk fruit, can lead to cravings for non-keto foods.
That’s because a sweet taste signals sugar is on the way. Your body releases insulin in anticipation for the energy from sugar headed its way. When those calories never arrive, this confuses your body and insulin stays high. Spiked insulin means you’re storing fat – not burning it.
While artificially sweetened drinks are the worst offenders, even low-carb desserts or a sweet snack packed with sugar alcohols can kick sweet cravings into high gear.
Counting Net Carbs
If you were taught to count grams of net carbs instead of total grams of carbohydrates, that math equation can lead to craving carbs on keto. Even though you may think you’re following the diet correctly since you eat less than 50 net carbs each day, you could be discounting carbs that your body doesn’t.
If you don’t count sugar alcohols because some keto expert said not to, that can mean you never quite make the transition into ketosis. This could leave you in low carb purgatory, where your body still relies on glucose as its main fuel source.
Even though some people can get away with some of the extra carbs you’re taught to subtract, that’s not the case for everyone. A lot of people need to eat fewer carbs to help their body transition into ketosis. That often means eating less of the fake fibers and sugar alcohols companies add to processed keto foods, aka the net carbs you subtract from carb totals.
Not Eating Enough Fat
Speaking of transitioning into ketosis, most keto dieters need a lot of healthy fat when first starting. Since long term dieters still have the calories in vs. calories out mindset, it can be hard to make the shift to eating more healthy fats as a way to lose weight.
Adding fat bombs to meals could be just what you need to kick sugar cravings to the curb. These sweet treats can help you get the high fat intake that’s required to get into ketosis. They also help your body feel safe enough to let go of stored fat when you don’t get enough fat in keto meals.
Even better, fat bombs made with coconut oil could even help you burn more fat! Less cravings and more fat burning? That’s the whole point of keto!
Not Enough Protein
Some keto experts scare you away from protein on keto because of that scary gluconeogenesis word. While this could be an issue for someone with a strong case of insulin resistance, you need to eat adequate protein. Otherwise, keto sweet cravings will likely result.
Eating more whole foods filled with animal protein can keep sweet cravings at bay. That’s because these foods have the nutrients your body needs for basic functions. When you don’t get enough necessary nutrients, your body sends signals in the form of cravings.
Having the ability to digest animal protein is also important when it comes to stopping carb cravings.
It’s easy to become dehydrated on keto. That’s because when you cut back on carbs, you lose a lot of water in the process. Then, your body may send hunger signals when dehydration is the actual problem.
While your first instinct may be to drink another glass of water, it’s not always that simple.
It’s important to learn how to balance electrolytes properly on keto. This means drinking the amount of water that’s right for you, while also supplementing with appropriate electrolytes.
Staying properly hydrated is really a balancing act since you also don’t want to drink too much water. After all, you don’t want to drown out all of the electrolytes you’re working so hard to maintain.
The best way to halt sugar cravings that just won’t quit is to improve how your body digests fat and protein. While you may assume that part is automatic, your body may need a little help. This can be due to years of yo-yo diets, medications, or even just as a natural part of the aging process.
Since this is *the* trick that finally helped me stop sugar cravings for good, we’ll dive into more details in a minute. Don’t skip this part since you’ll never reach your keto goals if you’re not able to digest the foods that help you get results.
That wraps up some of the most common reasons for sweet cravings on keto. Since this is not an exhaustive list, let’s take a look at a few specific instances when keto sweet cravings are at their worst. We’ll also talk about how to stop craving carbs on keto.
Carb Cravings Starting Keto
If you experience keto cravings in the first few weeks, including craving sweets on keto – that’s normal for most people. This is mostly because it takes time for your body to become fat adapted. Restricting carbs at the beginning of keto can send your blood sugar levels out of control since carbs are the fuel source your body understands how to use effectively.
When blood glucose levels are all over the place during your initial transition from a high carb diet to a low carb plan, do your best to eat more fat. It’s also important to keep carb intake very low. This can help you get through keto flu side effects more quickly.
Learn even more strategies to combat keto flu symptoms so those first weeks of transitioning don’t turn into months!
Sugar Cravings at Night
What about when all you want is sugary foods after dinner?
Carb cravings at night typically come down to your habits, as well as the way your brain is wired from those habits. Most people want something sweet after a meal just because this is a habit that’s been learned overtime. These feel-good rewards are wired into your brain from an early age.
When you end up craving ice cream, cake, or even dark chocolate soon after dinner – sometimes all you need to break the night time sugar addiction is to learn a new association.
For instance, instead of reaching for a sweet treat after dinner – go for a walk instead. Soon enough your new habit will replace your sugar cravings at night.
Sugar Cravings During Period
If you have intense cravings before your period, or you experience sugar cravings during that special time of month – you’re not imagining things.
Period carb cravings usually happen because your body is lacking the resources it needs to complete this complex task. That time of the month can be just as hard on your body as it is on you.
Be sure to take extra care during your menstrual cycle to provide your body with extra resources. While higher carb foods like sweet potatoes or too many berries aren’t a great idea on keto, your body may require more medium carb foods to function properly during your menstrual cycle.
Having a little bit of healthy carbs to help you get through your monthly cycle could save you from binging on unhealthy foods when a craving hits. Learn how to listen to what your body needs, and fuel it properly.
How to Stop Craving Carbs
Now that you’ve learned the different reasons you could be craving carbs on keto, hopefully you understand what you can do to stop sugar cravings in their tracks. If you’re still falling into any of the bad habits listed above, it’s a good idea to improve those habits to help curb sugar cravings on keto.
But what if you’ve gone through the entire list of tips and none of the changes seem to help?
That’s when it’s time to look deeper at your digestion. A dysfunctional digestive system is what kept me stuck in yo-yo diets for a long time – even though I had zero clue that my digestion needed help.
If your body no longer has the natural ability to break down the fats and protein that are necessary on a ketogenic diet, sugar cravings will kick into high gear. Then your body will keep asking for more food since it’s unable to utilize the nutrients you provided.
No matter how much willpower you think you have, eventually physiology always wins. This means you’ll be back to a high-carb diet with zero results before you know it!
If you’re sick of the non-stop yo-yo dieting, then take the free keto digestion course. This is the course that helped me learn how to work with my body, instead of forcing mainstream diet strategies that never worked.
If you prefer to work one-on-one, or you want to learn how hundreds of other women finally found success with keto, (even when every other plan failed) – check out my keto mini courses, which includes personal coaching options.
Keto Sweet Cravings