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I am on my second day of a low-carb diet. Never done one before, but I really need to lose 15 pounds to be on my ideal weight.

Today I had a great big lunch. (Burger meat with bacon and cheese, tomato slice, lettuce and brocoli). Also at dinner another great meal. (New York Strip, with arugula, lettuce, spinach, and tomato)

I am not sure why, but after both meals, I felt hungry. HUNGRY

Should I be worry?


I found this thread, where some people are saying that artificial sweeteners are the culprit for continues hunger. They say that some people will produce insulin just with artificial sweeteners. IF that is my case, that would defeat the purpose of doing a low-carb diet, right?

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RE: artificial sweeteners, they are going against the goals of your diet. Whether or not they are stopping you from losing weight depends on other things. Regardless, my understanding is that you will lose less with them than without. –  Levinaris Jun 6 '11 at 10:45
    
RE: artificial sweeteners, not all are the same. Something like Stevia doesn't cause the same reactions as aspertame or sucralose, and seems to have worked for me to sweeten things without adding carbs or calories. Unfortunately you can't bake with it. –  Berin Loritsch Jun 6 '11 at 14:17
    
Off topic according to the FAQ since the scope change of the site excluded questions not related to exercise. –  Baarn Sep 13 '12 at 15:47

6 Answers 6

up vote 9 down vote accepted

The first few days after switching to a low carb diet I felt the most hungry. The main culprit for me at any rate was the fact that my body was still craving carbs and I wasn't giving it any. Don't get me wrong, I filled my stomach until I couldn't add any more food but I was still hungry.

It takes up to four days for your body to burn through all its carb reserve in the blood stream, and after that's done you'll feel fine without them. The bottom line is "Just say no" while your body is readjusting itself.

I'm assuming by the list of things you are eating that it is something similar to the Atkins diet (if it's not that diet). If that's correct, the goal is to go into ketosis, which requires that you have no more than 40g of carbs per day. During the initial transition your body will be screaming for carbs. Give yourself lettuce to fill the stomach, and drink plenty of water. You will need more water to keep your kidneys happy during the diet. The first 3-4 days are the roughest, and then it gets a lot easier.

This advice is from my own weight loss journey.

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I am on my second day of under 20 grams of carbs, and I am still hungry. I have to admit today so far has been better than yesterday. –  Geo Jun 6 '11 at 14:37
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By day 4 you should start feeling like you can really do this. It's just those first four days that are really tough. –  Berin Loritsch Jun 6 '11 at 14:59
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Consuming more saturated fat will accomplish this nicely. –  SpacemanSpiff Dec 26 '11 at 14:49

Calories!

Simply put, you are not eating enough. There are only about 30 calories in a cup of brocolli, whereas there are about 210 calories in a cup of mashed potatoes. When switching to a low-carb diet, you have to take this in to consideration and make sure you are still getting enough food to sustain yourself.

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On a side note, I'm not sure how strict your low-carb diet is when it comes to carbs. You may want to consider introducing some "slow" carbs that take time to digest, like lentils or beans. These may make it easier to make up for your calorie deficit, while also not spiking your insulin production. A handful of peanuts would also go a long way here and there... –  Levinaris Jun 6 '11 at 10:48

When it comes to feeling full, there's no such thing as a single factor, in fact it is not 100% clear, which factors lead to this feeling, although some are known.

To feel full a number of factors must be met, the more the better:

  • Stuffing of the stomach (mechanical receptors in the stomach)
  • Nutritional values of the food (chemical receptors in liver and colon)
  • Releasing of hormones as a result of digestion (Insulin, leptin, ...)
  • Other chemical factors (blood sugar level)
  • Psychological factors (taste, portion size)
  • Unknown factors

After switching to a low carb diet it's the lack of carbohydrates which most likely causes your hunger: The receptors in your colon and liver register lower levels of carbs, also your blood sugar levels doesn't raise as fast as your body is used to.

As long as all other factors are met (portion size, calories, taste, ...) there's nothing else you can do except waiting a few days for your body to adjust to the low-carb diet. From my personal experice it takes 2-3 days to happen. After that I had to force myself to eat. (Because of the lack of appetite)

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Low glucose I suppose.

Try adding small amounts of glucose to your meal and reduce the dose gradually as you feel less hungry immediately after eating. Worked for me.

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I did paleo for a whole month and have never felt so hungry in my life. The hunger never went away, until once I had to skip a meal in a busy day, and then I was so hazy I couldn't function. This isn't right. As soon as I ate a normal meal with some grains in it (brown rice) I finally felt better and could think clearly again.

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Hi, good that you shared your experiences. However, the question is whether the person should worry. –  FredrikD Sep 22 '12 at 12:29

Wow - way too much carbohydrate, especially in the early stages. If you are stuffing away tons of green veggies etc they are just as bad as bread, pasta etc. Cut out the veggies, fruit etc. Go low fat pure protein for a week, then alternate the pure protein days with protein plus just a few veggie days. Drink lots of cold water. Also, don't overdo the fat, remember it's always calories in vs calories out, just that low carb helps you achieve this by eating less. People who eat great slabs of meat meal after meal will not, repeat not, lose weight, it is physically impossible. Therefore: count calories,carbs and stick to low at. And do some exercise. Nothing else works and anyone who tells you different is lying.

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Down-voted: Can you be more specific about your assertion about green vegetables? Green, non-starchy vegetables are generally low in carbohydrates, take broccoli for example: carbohydrate-counter.org/veg/…. 'Physically impossible' is a strong assertion to make, and I see no reason why deriving calories from meat will lead to weight gain. The energy balance rule of thumb is a reasonable zeroth order description of how the metabolism works, but carbohydrates do illicit a stronger insulin response which may give them a propensity to be stored as fat. –  silasdavis Dec 26 '11 at 12:26
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I don't think it's correct to say that low carb works just because of calorie reduction. The science behind it is premised on how sugars are processed and stored and their effect on the metabolism. –  Greg Jan 1 '12 at 6:39
    
@silasdavis I believe some ultra-low carb diets (i.e. Atkins induction, which I assume is what Janice is addressing) have such low carb requirements that even too many greens can exceed the daily limit. –  Greg Jan 1 '12 at 6:41

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