Hunger is a natural response when you’ve finished digesting the last meal you ate. Even on a keto diet, where you’re naturally primed to burn excess body fat you may still be suffering from hunger pangs. Or you may be eating more calories than you need to!
What will help is eating “keto friendlier” food that takes longer to digest. The faster food is digested the quicker you feel hungry and the more likely it is that you won’t use up all the available energy and store it as body fat!
Foods that take longer to digest give you a steady energy flow which will not only keep you feeling full for longer, but will also aid in the benefits of being in ketosis, like sustaining your energy throughout the day, with no mid-morning or mid-afternoon energy dip.
These types of food are called low-GI foods. All sources of sugars, carbs and fiber have a GI count, even dairy products have a GI count (glycemic index) because of lactose, milk sugar. The lower the GI count is the better, especially on a keto diet. GI measures the effect the food has on blood sugar levels and insulin. The lower the count, the less the effect, helping you to maintain ketosis and stay full for longer.
On a keto diet most of your calories will be coming from fats, which digest slower than sugars and carbs, but even nuts, proteins and dairy can affect your blood sugar and insulin levels and you need to choose the right types of food if you want to keep the cravings at bay.
The Right Nuts and Oils:
|Pick||Be Careful Of||Don’t Pick|
|Sunflower or Pumpkin Seed Butter or Macadamia Nut Butter||Almond Butter||Peanut Butter|
|hee or Purified Butter||Butter||Margarine|
|Coconut Oil||Lard||Vegetable Shortening|
|Avocado Oil (for cooking)||Coconut Oil (for cooking)||Other Cooking Oils like Sunflower or Canola Oil|
When it comes to choosing the right nuts on keto you want to pick the ones with the least carbs. Almonds may look like a healthy option, but they contain anti-nutrients, a type of toxin that lines your gut and stops you from absorbing calories, vitamins and minerals.
Sounds perfect right? Actually not. Not only will you be doing the equivalent of eating “empty calories”, but this mineral deficiency can lead to other cravings. So a few almonds a day are okay, but be careful.
Commercial peanut butter contains a lot of hidden carbs, usually in the form of sugars. Almond butter poses the same threat as almonds. That’s why it’s best to stick with seed butters in this category.
Ghee or purified butter contains none of the milk proteins and sugars, so it’s pure fat, which is better than traditional butter and much, much better than margarine, which is basically plastic.
Coconut oil has some medium chain triglycerides, which will help you produce ketones and burn body fat for fuel (our MCT oil powder contains the essential balance of MCT’s which will really get you burning body fat, meaning you get more energy without the added calories). While lard is acceptable for baking do steer clear of vegetable shortening, which like margarine, is quite toxic.
Avocado oil is the best for cooking as it has a very high smelting point. This means it only undergoes hydrolysis at high temperatures (which creates toxic trans fats), making it healthier and more digestible for cooking. Coconut oil also has a relatively high smelting point, but other oils, especially sunflower and canola oil should be avoided completely as they have already undergone a lot of hydrolyses during processing and contain trans fats.
The Right Protein:
|Pick||Be Careful Of||Don’t Pick|
|Grass Fed, Organic Bacon||Turkey Bacon, Grain Fed||Ham, Polony|
|Grass Fed, Organic, Full Fat Ground Beef||Grain Fed Ground Beef||Turkey|
|Wild Salmon||Farmed Salmon|
|Grass Fed, Pasture Raised, Organic, Unprocessed Meats||Grain Fed Meats||Processed Meats|
|Red Meat||Fish or Poultry|
You’ll see that the foods that you should avoid are usually more processed or unnatural and there’s a good reason for this.
The more processed a food is the more funny additives there are. Not only can these be hidden carbs, but they can also be toxins.
And this is very important on a keto diet, because most toxins are stored in fat, especially animal fats. That’s one of the reasons it’s so important to always go for the most natural source of protein you can find.
Toxins can stop your body from absorbing nutrients which can make you feel hungry or cause cravings for certain foods as you can’t absorb what you’re eating. So be very careful. If you can’t find (or afford) the organic all natural meats pick the lean option and add your own fats from trusted sources.
Red meat also takes longer to digest than meat from fish or poultry, so if you’re trying to keep yourself from hankering for another helping, try eating mostly red meats.
That being said, it’s also VERY important to remember that the majority of your calories should come from fats, not protein. Protein can be converted into glucose if you eat to much of it. An added bonus is that fats also slow down your digestion, making the energy you consume last longer, keeping you full.
The Right Dairy:
|Pick||Be Careful Of||Don’t Pick|
|Blue Cheese, Goat’s Cheese, Feta, Parmesan, Organic Cheddar, Mozzarella, Gouda, Swiss Cheese||Camembert, Brie, Cottage Cheese||American Cheese, Cheese Wiz, Velveta, Muenster Cheese, Gorgonzola, Processed Cheddar|
|Bulgarian or Greek Yoghurt or Sour Cream||Normal Full Fat Yoghurt||Sweetened or Flavoured Yoghurt|
|Heavy Cream||Half and Half||Milk|
When it comes to dairy you need to be careful of the lactose content as well as the hidden ingredients in processed products, especially cheese. In fact most of the processed cheeses on this list are less than 50% cheese… Always go for products from organic grass fed sources as far as possible, as they will contain the least amount of chemicals and unnatural hormones.
When it comes to yoghurt and keto, it might be obvious to go for the full fat, unflavored and unsweetened options, but also try to get Bulgarian or Greek yoghurt with live cultures if you can… These cultures aid in digestion. Now, this might sound contrary to what you’re looking for. Won’t cultures make you digest things faster?
Well actually, these cultures won’t necessarily make you digest the food you eat faster, but it will help you digest everything you eat and maintain good gut health. That means you’ll be getting all the nutrients and minerals out of the food and you’ll find you have less cravings, making you feel full for longer.
Pick heavy cream over half and half and milk as well. While milk and half and half are acceptable on a keto diet, they do contain more lactose and less fat than heavy cream. On this subject, another thing to look out for is “-ose” in the ingredients list of the foods you’re buying. While the carb count may look relatively harmless on the nutritional table, the ingredients may include lactose or sucrose or any other -ose, which is actually a sugar!
The Right Carbs:
|Pick Be Careful Of||Be Careful||Don’t Pick|
|Almond or Coconut Flour||Wheat Flour, White Rice Flour|
|“Vegetable” Fruit like Avocado, Tomatoes, and Olives||Fruit||Sweet Fruit
|High Fiber Vegetables like Cauliflower, Broccoli, Zucchini,Eggplant, etc.||“Low-GI” like Sweet Potato and Squash||Starchy Vegetables like Potatoes
|Green Bell Pepper||Red or Yellow Bell Pepper|
Very important to take note of here is that almond or coconut flour may be more keto friendly than normal wheat flour, but because it’s so processed it’s best to steer clear of these too.
When it comes to carbs, rather pick whole or leafy vegetables with a high fibre count, which will stagger the energy release. Steer clear of sweet fruits (for a complete list of fruits to enjoy or avoid take a look here) and even mildly starchy vegetables. This includes pumpkin, butternut, other squash and even sweet potatoes, on top of the more obvious potatoes and corn.
Even though squash and sweet potatoes are “low GI” they still have too many carbs compared to fiber and will spike your sugar levels on your keto diet just enough to make you hungry quickly. You’re looking for things like asparagus, broccoli, green bell peppers (yellow and red have more carbs), cabbage, spinach, zucchini, eggplant or aubergine (which absorbs a lot of fat when you fry them), cauliflower, tomatoes…
These all have a high fiber count and a lower carb count. While fiber will still give you 2 calories per gram, they also slow down the release of calories, so it’s a good option to help you stay full.
Remember, the longer a food stays in your stomach the longer you will feel full and the easier it will be to stay on track with your keto diet. If you want to kick start your ketosis to burn body fat for fuel, you need to use MCT oil. While MCT oil is naturally found in Coconut Oil, our MCT oil has the perfect balance of MCT’s to get you into the keto zone. Once you’re in the keto zone you will also stay fuller for longer as you burn away any excess body fat for energy, relying less on what you eat and more on what you want to get rid of.