My n=1 with sweeteners

(Susan) #1

I haven’t lost much weight on 2 years of keto. I started with the standard 20g of carbs, then it trended up as I discovered coconut flour cookies. After a year, I went strict carnivore for a few months. When that made no difference in weight or subjective health, I quit that and am now keto with about 10g of carbs - from keto veges from my garden. I’ve also been 2mad for about a year. I wait until at least 11am for ‘breakfast’, sometimes I’m able to wait until 2pm. Noon is the most common.

None of these changes made much change in my weight except for gaining on the higher than 20g of carbs. My HbA1c is normal and I’m off metformin, so I’m happy with that, but would like to be less than 250 lbs (5’7"). I finally decided, okay, enough of this, I need to take the plunge and stop all the sweeteners, the truvia and splenda and fruit flavorings. It was the hardest thing I’ve done so far. I went off sweeteners for 2 weeks, and at the end, had as much sweetener as I could - sweet drinks, sweet fat bombs, sweet breakfast etc. for 2 days. Throughout, no change with any of these interventions. I remain the same or gain or lose 1/2 a lb a week.

As I’m sure you could guess, I’m back on sweeteners and about 10g of carbs and a good ratio of protein to fat. I know my hunger signals are way off kilter. I’m also 62 and have had this extra weight for a long time. Lastly, I have major depression and in the times I’m depressed (30-50% of the time, on meds), I’m botomlessly hungry and don’t care if I live or not. I stay keto, but know I eat too much fat during those times.

I just thought I’d share that on or off sweeteners, it doesn’t make a difference for me.


I have a quite strong hypothesis that total carbs don’t matter to me, only net… If the sweeteners are just there and don’t make me change my other ways (they usually don’t though I can eat more if I add sweets. but it can be helpful too and it doesn’t make me crazy like net carbs. plant net carbs?).
I wonder if 2 weeks is long enough to say it doesn’t matter though… I clearly don’t have some magic quick loss or gain if I go on/off sweeteners for some weeks but nothing does this magic to me. It’s all about how much food I eat.

It must be super hard for you. I have bottomless hunger days myself. Those days are a bit wild. And they don’t happen every month, thanks heaven.
How much fat and protein do you eat? I am always interested how other people do this :slight_smile: My numbers are all over the place but my fat:protein ratio is usually a bit above 1 (between 0.5 and 2 but the extremities are rare).

If you eat too much fat… Can’t you choose some very nice leaner protein source? I never have depression (I merely have a tragically messed up life with an optimistic attitude) and probably everyone has their own method to cope with it but I surely could find some super nice, more satiating leaner stuff and make it my first response in the time of need. Or not, I love fat and I know what is it like when one doesn’t care and just want to feel alive and I even fail epically sometimes but it’s not like I totally lose my conscious mind so I can fight, make plans when I am sane and I already noticed my habits changed even when I truly couldn’t care less about almost anything. I fail LESS epically now and it’s a win to me out of sheer self-protection. I can’t afford being my self-critical self now.
These changes sometimes take a lot of time and effort, of course. Being stubborn is invaluable.

(Laurie) #3

Thanks for sharing your experience, @late_to_the_party . I’m sorry you’re not getting the result you hoped for. Wish I had something helpful to say. Please keep us posted!


Thank you. Oh I am quite sure long term carnivore(-ish. I am no good with too much strictness) will give me results. Slowly but that’s fine. I always feel better on that woe (mostly mentally, I lose a big part of my food addiction) so I have that :wink:
And while I am quite heavy if you ask me (I gained in a stressful month :frowning: ), it’s below 170lbs so it’s not THAT serious… I would be super upset to struggle in vain for many years if I weighed much more (and not due to some amazing and completely irrealistic musculature :smiley: I am a short 44 years old woman, I can’t expect much. I don’t care about my weight, I want to look my best and be healthy). Even though I still would have way bigger problems in my life. I decided to slim down and I will keep trying even if it takes another 10 years. I hope it won’t.

I hope we both will have luck eventually and it better be soon!

(A fool and his bacon are soon parted) #5

I’m wondering how much you are actually eating. Would you mind posting a typical day’s meals? Perhaps there is something going on that we could spot that might help.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #6

As @PaulL says, knowing more of what you eat typically would help possibly pinpoint something. My first observation, though, is 2 weeks is doodly squat. Try 6 months and then decide whether it helped or not.

(Susan) #7

I’m not sure I could do 6 months. Both because I’d cheat when I was depressed and I’ve been having sugar (now sweeteners) every day for 60 years. I grew up on fruit loops. Not a fruit to be found in my breakfasts as a child.

I went over the finer details with the two of you a year ago or so. I don’t feel like doing it again. Maybe I’ll feel more like it in a day or two. My diet is a lot more restrictive than when I went over it with you before. I also tried Virta and they had no suggestions except ‘try less fat for breakfast’ even though I was 2mad and was hungry after eating if I ate less fat.

(Vic) #8

Hi Susan,

They may help.

Never drink callories only eat them.
Only eat food you need to chew. No proccessed grounded, blended food.

This may help with the hunger feelings

(Bob M) #9

Two weeks does not seem like a long time to overcome 30 years worth of habit.

I was on a Pritikin diet (very low fat) for a long time. After over 7 years low carb, I still will sometimes balk at the amount of fat in my food.

My grandfather was an alcoholic for many years and smoked for that long or more. He quit both. But he said he wanted a cigarette every day of his life since quitting.

When I first went low carb, I tried to keep some sweet things. But I found that I had to give them up. They made me want to eat more.

After 7 years, I’ve loosened my restrictions somewhat, but I still rarely have anything sweet. I do eat low carb ketchup now, at times. I will have some “sugary” items, but again I keep it limited. And it’s taken me this long to be able to do so.

As for depression, does being keto help with that?

(A fool and his bacon are soon parted) #10

I can still remember the exact taste of the Scotch I used to drink forty years ago. And I’ve been keto for four years and still crave carbohydrates.


@PaulL-- yes I get this truly. I am into year 4 of carnivore and I am one piece of italian garlic bread away from disaster cause I love the crap and ‘can truly still taste it’ just like your phantom Scotch! I get this…I don’t think ‘many of us’ let that go in full truth. Life and brain and more is memories and many of us can taste just that! A smell can trigger SO much. So our point of ‘how long on your plan’ and how well your eating plan is key.

If one cheats/treats/has too many nibbles or gives themselves the weekend off or decides just this day I eat then back on plan’ with all that we truly just draggggggg out that misery time. But darn if it ain’t hard for ALL OF US at some point in our journey!


I think you are slowly ‘seeing you’ in all this. What works for one won’t ever be for another so key is what depression meds might be hindering you etc…so yea we have to do this ‘our own way’ and find those little loophole openings that show us the way. I think you are doing just that and I say great you are still manuevring through it all and focusing on what you only personal require!

Super congrats on being off metaformin. One less thing is one good thing :slight_smile:

Sweeteners are werid. Some can handle easily, others must drop.

I say one thing for advice. REAL FOOD AT ALL TIMES.

bacon and eggs. done. A few delish burgers, done. A steak and whatever veg you do well on to stay under 20g on ‘plant carbs’ that will hit that 20g easily that you enjoy.

No fake anything. No processed for us convenience keto foods.

Go real now. Real fresh food. Done. I bet if you focus here you will find a new path that might work well for you.

wishing you the best! :sunny:

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #13

For many, the toughest aspect to keto is the required attitude adjustment. That’s from focused on what one ‘gave up’ to focused on what one gained instead. Since I started keto, I eat more variety than I ever did prior. My health is overall better and I feel better. I had lots of fave carb foods, although I was never much stuck on sweet. From what I’ve learned participating in this forum, at least I dodged a bullet there. I’ve gained many different fave foods with keto and I don’t miss what I stopped eating prior to keto. I dropped them all ‘cold turkey’. Yes, I still remember what they all tasted like. The memory is like the memory I have of useless facts I learned in school.


Here’s my story: I did keto in 2019 for about four months. I didn’t really need to lose weight but wanted more energy as I’m peri-menopausal and always tired. I didn’t lose weight but lost a lot of fat and my energy was amazing. In January 2020 I had to go on Zoloft for depression and keto went by the wayside. I gained 45 pounds in four months and was obese according to my bmi. I tried keto last May while on Zoloft and lost about ten pounds in two months. I got frustrated and stopped eating anything that wasn’t a carb (I also tried other “diets” throughout the year and nothing. I hit 181 and couldn’t go lower.). I came off of Zoloft earlier this year and switched to two serotonin producing natural supplements. I started keto last Monday (same starting weight as last year) and have already lost eight pounds (yes, I know it’s water weight but it’s still movement so I’m happy). Today I’m wearing a pair of paints that I couldn’t even get buttoned ten days ago.

I’m not telling you to come off/stay off your medication. I’m saying that Zoloft is one that you’re not likely to gain on but I did and I couldn’t lose until I came off it. I can share the name of the supplements with you privately if you’re interested and want to talk to your doctor about them. It’s frustrating and I don’t have the answer for you. I just wanted you to know what I’ve been going through and I get it. Stay strong. :slightly_smiling_face:

Edit: The supplements are ones you can buy on Amazon or at the grocery store. I sound like I’m doing a MLM or something. I’m not. Pinky promise.


Another perspective on the bottomless pit of hunger. I too suffer(ed) from that sensation. It has become much less when I have water with lemon. I had trouble with fasting because of very painful heartburn and came here for help. Several individuals led me to a doctor that recommended lemon water as a solution. Not only did it help with heartburn, I feel it has helped with my hunger issues tremendously. I was over a year keto when I started this and have taken off a couple more pounds. Now, I don’t know if my hunger signals are working better or if I was confusing being painfully hungry with just being in pain. But, it doesn’t really matter. I still have an occasional day where I am just hungry but they are probably a few a month rather than most days of the week.
As far as depression, doctor switched meds to something that has the side effect of reduced cravings. Doctor mentioned most people experience weight gain with the medication I was on so felt I should gives something else a try. I didn’t see any reduction in cravings though until I started with the lemon water almost a year after that medication change.


Also, I am keto because of a weightloss doctor. Her initial induction phase of keto requires you to eat 2 cups of leafy greens and 2 cups of other low carb vegetables daily. It really helps with my hunger issues when I followed her initial plan and, when I stick to that many veggies, I do find that I am less “starving”. The hunger never really stops, it is just quiet enough to move on with my life (a total win if you are a bottomless pit).


Do you track your intake?

(Susan) #18

Thanks to all for the thoughtful replies! I’ve only just been able to get back to this web site.

If I’d lost any weight at all over the 2 weeks of no sweeteners, I’d have stuck with it forever. I can do it, though it’s really difficult. The point was that it made no difference in my weight, ketone level or blood sugar. Why make the effort if my A1c is low either way?

I’m with @Fangs with wanting that garlic bread really really badly. My husband left some Fritoes where I could find them and I had 3 small ones. Boy they were good. I can keep away from them to prevent blindness, amputation and kidney failure. Trying to avoid sweets like stevia isn’t worth the effort if it’s not going to change anything. Both I and my very fit husband agree that keto is a very tasty diet. I’ll gladly give up the garlic bread for bacon! All the decades we thought we had to have bacon only as an occasional treat!

Here’s my personal view on depression. A huge number of Americans are mildly to moderately depressed because of inflammation (brain and elsewhere) because of the SAD. (I mean, the name even says it - you’ll be sad if you eat the Standard American Diet. Joke.) A few of us have a medically diagnosed, probably genetic disease called major depression. Keto clears up the inflammation and with it the brain fog and depression most don’t even realize is bogging them down. Many speak of the mental clarity and extra energy they have on keto. I have an n of 2 that says it doesn’t work for major depression. I asked a year ago or more if anyone else on this site with major depression had my experience of not being helped by keto. I got one private response who wanted to remain anonymous, but had the same botomless hunger and no relief with keto.

@scoakley13 I’m on Wellbutrin and Duloxetine, not Zoloft. My husband can tell if I forget to take my meds in the morning. It’s really obvious in a very short time if I forget them. Once I ran out and was extremely suicidal. I only survived knowing that I’d be getting more soon. It lasted 3 days as was horrible.

@P_Bash I drink copious amounts of water and don’t wait to be thirsty. I sweat more than anyone else I know and also garden in the hot sun of Hawaii. I can get dehydrated really quickly if I don’t hydrate ahead of time. I don’t put lemon in the water, but I know I’m not dehydrated. I think we should all make sure our pee is dilute at least once a day.

I could have written that most days, just not when the depression is really bad.

I did for a long time. Kept a diary with grams of everything. Not any more. I’ve figured out what I really like and my diet doesn’t vary much day to day - just which source of protein for dinner varies - beef, pork, chicken, fish. Veges, salad with kale + whatever my garden is producing at that time - cucumber, zucchini, green beans and bok choi. Breakfast is 7 eggs and 3/4 c HWC. I never gardened until I retired. To round out my calories, fat bombs made of 1/3 butter, 1/3 coconut oil and 1/3 cream cheese with sweetener & fruit flavoring or cheese if I don’t want sweet.


May want to start tracking again and maybe adjust your intake with a new mindset, pretty clear you do the super high fat version of keto as opposed to just filling your gaps with fat. I could never loose fat with that much fat coming in. If I have much over 80g of fat coming in a day I can’t loose regardless of anything else, may people are like this as well. 3/4 of HWC is over 600 calories by itself and over 60g of fat, that’d be 90% of my days intake, then you have the 7 eggs, cream cheese, fat bombs. Loosing 100lbs doing this I’ve run (pretty sure at least) every type of problem, stall, plateau, regain you name it. The tracking is critical so if for no other reason when/if this happens you have some info to look back on and figure it out, or be able to quantify if a change you’ve made is working or not. I’ve had some descent stalls, but 2 years of no loss is yelling in your face that you’re not doing something right. Do you have an idea from when you were tracking how much you typically eat calorically? Could you put up an actual day of eating?


I just meant that anti-depressants can make it difficult to lose weight. Mine was Zoloft but it’s most of them (I read up a lot on it when I was struggling last year). I was fortunate that I was able to get off of them but it sounds like that’s not an option for you at this point. Try not to get upset about the weight. Your mental health is more important than your size and you can still be healthy at a heavier weight. My grandmother was never a small woman and died at 94 from being 94. Take care of yourself.

edit: word