What Happens If You’re Gaining Weight on Keto?

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Ahhh! You’re gaining weight on keto… never fear, our Keto Nutritionist is here!

If you took a survey and asked people why they are following the keto diet, the majority of people would likely say it’s for weight loss. A quick internet search on ”keto for weight loss” brings up hundreds of articles. But what happens if you’re gaining weight on keto? What then?!

Collin hasn’t weighed herself in years and explains why here.

Weight gain on a keto diet can happen for a number of reasons.

remedies for the keto flu

You could be gaining weight on keto because change is hard!

When you first start the keto diet, or any diet for that matter, it can take some time for your body to adjust to the dietary changes. During the initial phase of the keto diet, you might see some weight fluctuations. Most people lose a lot of water weight the first week or two and then the weight loss slows down. This is perfectly normal.

THE SOLUTION: Your main goal for the first few weeks of the keto diet is perseverance and consistency. Eventually, this way of eating needs to become your new normal. Sustainable weight loss does take time.

A man holding a book in one hand and bread in the other hand

You could be gaining weight on keto because you’re eating too many carbs!

With the keto diet, weight gain usually means that a person is eating more carbs than they realize. You need to make sure that your carb intake is low enough to actually be in ketosis so that your body is burning fat for fuel.

up close image of keto mojo

Not sure if you’re in ketosis? Here are the tools we recommend using to see if you’re truly in ketosis.

THE SOLUTION: Track your food intake. It’s beneficial to record your meals when you’re first starting the keto diet. Tracking can help make you aware of how many grams of carbs are in foods, any hidden carbs, correct portion sizes, and ensure that you’re meeting your macro goals for carbs, protein, and fat. Aim for 20 to 30 grams of carbs a day.

Tip – Here’s our favorite keto app to track food intake

woman wearing yellow sweatshirt with hands on counter

You could be gaining weight on keto because you’re eating all the keto-branded foods!

Another reason for weight gain on keto is consuming too many premade, packaged foods. It can be easy to get carried away with keto breads, treats, and snacks. Be wary of food labels proclaiming keto. Because keto is popular, every food manufacturer is jumping on the bandwagon.

THE SOLUTION: Just because an item has keto on the label, doesn’t mean it’s a true keto product. These items are okay as an occasional treat, but it’s better to stick with whole, real foods like protein (meat, eggs, cheese) and vegetables to help you reach your weight loss goals.

keto charcuterie board

You could be gaining weight on keto because of excessive snacking!

Eating frequency can also be a culprit for gaining weight on the keto diet. If you notice that your clothes are starting to get a little tight, you might want to evaluate how often you’re eating. Three meals and several snacks a day could be kicking you out of ketosis. Snacking can also lead to consuming too many calories.

THE SOLUTION: Listen to your body’s natural hunger signals, and only eat when you’re hungry. A meal should keep you full for a good four to five hours, if not longer. So if you find yourself getting hungry between meals, you might not be eating enough protein and fat at meals or too many carbs. Keto diets are known to help control hunger. You can also try intermittent fasting to help with weight loss and to get you back into ketosis.

Here are 13 tips to fight sugar & carb cravings on the keto diet and here’s how Collin kicked sugar cravings to the curb with keto!  

woman covering face with pillow

You could be gaining weight on keto because of stress and lack of sleep!

Your food intake isn’t the only thing that can cause weight gain on keto. If the numbers on the scale are slowly creeping up, you might want to evaluate your stress levels and sleep. High levels of stress can lead to weight gain. Likewise, poor quality sleep or not getting enough sleep can also cause your body to pack on the pounds.

THE SOLUTION: Work on ways to lower your stress levels. Try meditating, deep breathing, or going for a walk. Prioritize your sleep and develop a relaxing bedtime routine. Stay on track with your keto diet to help improve sleep and lower stress.

Can’t sleep? Here’s what we learned during our month-long sleep challenge on Hip2Save

woman holding scale

Gaining weight on keto can happen for a number of reasons. To get back on the keto weight loss train, start tracking your food intake, eat only when hungry, avoid packaged foods, try to lower your stress response, and focus on getting a good night’s sleep. The keto diet works for weight loss and to improve overall health, just give yourself the grace and time it takes to get back on track to lose the weight.

Have you experienced weight gain on keto? Let us know what worked for you to get back on track with your weight loss journey!


Read more from our Keto Nutritionist if you’re struggling to lose weight on keto.


Emily graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Idaho, holds 5 years of blogging experience, and has been featured in Every Day Health and Women's Health Magazine.


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