“How many calories do keto-fasting people eat?”


Are there any studies on people using antipsychotics on an LCHF diet? What can I do to avoid waking up with a cortisol rush at 3 am? And, how many calories do people who fast on keto consume?

Get the answers to these and other questions in this week’s Q&A with me:

Antipsychotics and metabolic syndrome

I work as a psychiatrist and there is a lot of attention to weight and metabolic parameters when people use antipsychotics. With risen hunger usually as the biggest problem. Any studies done on this group with LCHF? And do you think it can reverse the perceived starvation/hunger?


Hi Erik!

To the best of my knowledge, there are no studies on this. My own pet theory is that drugs that act as dopamine antagonists (like antipsychotic drugs) reduce food reward and result in people wanting to eat more to get the same food reward.

In theory, a low-carb diet could help at least partially to reduce this problem, as a low-carb diet tends to reduce hunger. 1


Been on keto for a few months and I wake up at 3 am every morning with a cortisol rush. Any pre-sleep nutrition strategies to delay normal hormone increases to 5 am or later?

I think the dawn phenomenon kicks in around at a very high level at around 3 am, but since I’m a light sleeper, I totally wake up at 3 am, being alert, and can’t easily fall back to sleep. I am not diabetic. Any pre-sleep ketogenic nutrition changes to delay the rush of cortisol so I can sleep uninterrupted until 5 am or later?



Adding a minor amount of carbs (like 20 grams) in the evenings can help, but also reduces the effect of a ketogenic diet somewhat.


How many calories do keto eating fasting people eat per day or per week?

I know that in general, you say calories count, but don’t count them. I get that and use MyFitnessPal to calculate and track my Macros (not really calories, but they are there anyway). However, I have hit a “plateau” of bouncing between 80-85 pound (36-39 kg) loss, (Still have 70-100 pounds (32-45 kg) more to go though). I do a 16-17 hour fast every weekday and eat 2-3 meals on the weekends with family. I understand “Eat when you are hungry, don’t eat when you are not”.

Can you just give me an idea of how many calories on LCHF (Keto) a person typically consume when having a 16:8 hour fast pattern? MyFitnessPal stops working at under 1,000 calories. My friend eats way less than 1,000 calories per day. I usually eat between 1,000–1,500. Can you give me a number to help me with my expectations and understanding? What is ‘normal’? What is “healthy’? How many do normally thin people eat? How many calories do keto-eating fasting people eat per day or per week? I think having had a weight problem my entire life and hearing the wrong information from professionals all those years before Diet Doctor the calorie numbers are still the last bastion of misinformation. (No one should eat less than 1,200 calories a day and that’s even really low etc….)

I really need a ‘keto number of calories’ range.



I’m not sure this is the right question (how many calories?). The answer will generally be “it depends”, and it depends on what you’re trying to achieve. If you have a significant excess weight your body could potentially burn those energy stores, and all you’d have to eat is the nutrition you need (protein, essential fatty acids, minerals, vitamins). So I’d focus on eating low-carb and high-nutrition foods, like meat, eggs, and vegetables. I’d focus way less on calories, though the less pure energy (especially sugar and other carbs) you can eat the simpler it tends to be to lose excess weight.

All this said, I think eating 1,000-1,500 calories per day could be a good level for you. I just don’t think it’s the most important thing to track.

Check out this guide: Should you count calories on a low-carb or keto diet?


Keto diet and fasting

I would like to ask when on keto diet and fasting can you still have a keto desert after your meals? And have you any ideas on food choices for me as I’m allergic to dairy and avocados, most meals seem to have a lot in it.

Thank you,


You can have the occasional dessert – but weight loss will likely always be a bit faster without it. Here are our dairy-free recipes.



Keto for beginners

Intermittent fasting for beginners

How to lose weight

More questions and answers

Many more questions and answers:

Low-carb Q&A

Read all earlier questions and answers – and ask your own! – here:

Ask Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt about LCHF, diabetes and weight loss – for members (free trial available).


Videos with Dr. Eenfeldt

More with low-carb doctors


  1. Bob p
    Mint mouthwash suppresses my middle of the night hunger.


  2. Christie Davis
    It's possible to hit your macronutrient & calorie goals at the same time. I can't stress enough how important meal planning is. First thing in the morning while having my coffee, I chart out my food for the day. This brings better results over planning & tracking on the fly. Here's how my numbers jive: 1,000 - 1,300 cals/day, 25-30% protein, 55-60% fat & 10-15% carbs. I had a total of 60 lbs to lose, so I could get a massive umbilical hernia repaired (2x fail). I'm down 37 lb w// 23 left. If that's not an incentive I don't know what is.
  3. 1 comment removed
  4. Christie Davis
    Edit: I also do a 16/8 intermittent fast.
  5. Samantha
    For Erik - Dr David Perlmetter has a lot of information on psychiatric diagnoses, medications, and nutrition in his book Grain Brain. He is a neurologist with a specialty in nutrition. I believe he also has a website.
  6. Samantha
    For Kelly - when I hit a plateau I increased my fasting from 16 to 24h (skip breakfast and lunch) twice a week. It worked immediately. Next plateau I increased to 24h x 3 per week. Worked again. It’s a lot easier than you think and very effective. Definitely measure your waist or use a piece of clothing to monitor if inches are coming off before it starts to show up on the scales as this is quite common in women apparently. I stopped tracking with an app and just followed the DietDoctor and the intermittent fasting and it worked really well and was a lot less stressful.
  7. Virginia
    Curious how long a plateau is ... I have had a week or two weeks of not losing or a couple lbs up and down, then start dropping again. One time I did do a 24 hour fast to break the cycle...cheating with a coffee with cream and the usual sweetener...and ended up my second best monthly loss. I think it is normal for this to happen. Important thing is to not give up! I could think of it as time to let my skin shrink to my body size to keep positive :)
    Reply: #9
  8. mira
    @Bob p The midnight wake up call at 3 am is a very annoying feature of keto .. Andreas's solution may work for some … I am getting off keto for 2 reasons; disrupted sleep pattern which wore me out after 4 months and I lost too much weight. I am trying to recover my previous 60kg frame, which is not easy. The focus of the website is on loosing weight rather than optimising health. Keto may not be for me. I believe the science is strong and this is the best diet plan for diabetics and overweight people. Stay with it! All the best for the Keto brotherhood in 2019.
    Reply: #10
  9. Kristin Parker Team Diet Doctor
    Plateaus will vary from person to person. A "stall" would be considered 4-6 weeks with no weight or inches lost.
  10. Kristin Parker Team Diet Doctor
    Mira, the whole emphasis on our website is empowering people to optimize their health. For many that does include losing weight but we do have an excellent resource for gaining weight while eating keto/lchf.
  11. Melissa
    I've been on keto for about half a year and am feeling good, finally, and can actually now do complete back-to-back yoga and Pilates classes and have added some cardio. I plan to take part in a charity cycling event in the spring (my 10th year of doing it). It's a two-day, 220 km ride. But this year, I'm on keto. How do I adjust my keto diet for endurance training and riding (the usual answer is more carbs)?
  12. Judy
    Me and my husband have been on keto now since September 2018 and doing well. But we have plateaud and are not sure how to get it kick started again. We do intermittent fasting usually skipping breakfast 1-2 days per week. We eat on average 30-50 carbs per day.
    Anyone have any ideas on how we can move forward again. Thanks.
    Reply: #13
  13. Kristin Parker Team Diet Doctor
    You may want to try keto instead of the more moderate low carb. Keto is 20g carbs or less per day.
    You can read other troubleshooting tips here - https://www.dietdoctor.com/how-to-lose-weight
  14. CL
    Take it from someone highly experienced in trial and error... DON’T DECREASE YOUR CALORIE INTAKE. Sure your body can probably handle a quick weight loss, but it slowly pushes it into starvation mode. This may allow bacteria/ fungus to take over if you’re prone or cause other issues with immune system, brain, etc. This is because your body needs plenty of energy to power its defenses, and the brain of course fires electricity which means it’s going to need LOTS of energy.
    You just have to make sure you’re performing light exercise everyday, and the weight will fall off naturally. If you stay around 2,000 you should be fine and feel no energy decrease while quickly burning weight on the Keto diet.
    I have no idea why doctors and nutritionists even approve something around a 1200 calorie intake. That’s very dangerous.
  15. James Winter
    I asked a question about a week ago.
    We're would I find a reply?
    Morley Winter
    Reply: #16
  16. Kristin Parker Team Diet Doctor

    I asked a question about a week ago.
    We're would I find a reply?
    Morley Winter

    I'm sorry, I don't see any other questions or comments using this email address (which I removed for your security).

  17. 1 comment removed
  18. Margret DeMoss
    What causes my hair to start falling out about 4 months into doing the low carb diet? When I stop and go back to normal eating after about 4 to five months my hair quits falling out. I’ve done this several times.
    Reply: #19
  19. Kerry Merritt Team Diet Doctor

    What causes my hair to start falling out about 4 months into doing the low carb diet? When I stop and go back to normal eating after about 4 to five months my hair quits falling out. I’ve done this several times.

    Hi, Margret! This article should be helpful for you! https://www.dietdoctor.com/can-low-carb-diets-result-in-hair-loss

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