The female body is amazing! It does everything the male body does while also being responsible for creating new, adorable, little humans. When starting a new diet, it is important to know your body and to know its limitations. With a keto diet, you will drastically cut your carb intake and it’s important to know what effect that will have specifically on your body. As a woman, there are a few things specific to you that men don’t need to worry so much about.
The Benefits of Keto for Women
You probably know by now that a ketogenic diet is composed of very high fat, moderate protein, and low carbohydrates ratios, this promotes a state of ketosis in the body where the body runs on its fat stores instead of glucose. Women have a larger percentage of body fat than men, which means there is more fuel to run off of in a keto diet. Women have this body fat for a reason though, and long story short, it involves reproduction.
Keto will affect men and women differently! Women will benefit from keto a bit more since they can use their extra fat stores making it easier for them to become fat-adapted. This means women can still operate by eating fewer calories while letting the body run off stored excess fat.
Keto will also help women improve their insulin sensitivity. By reducing the amount of sugar and insulin in the body on keto, women will likely resolve a PCOS, fertility, or insulin issue that may have prevented previous weight loss on other diets.
Keto will restore and balance your hormones. Carbs and extra sugar wreak havoc on women’s reproductive hormones but keto eliminates these. Many women will find themselves regaining control over their hormones and reaping tons of health benefits in the process of keto.
So those are the big positives to why you as a woman should start keto. But what about the negative effects? What is it you should be aware of or watch out for as a woman on keto?
Keto Specifics for Women
1. Hormone Imbalance
Hormones fluctuate much more in females than they do in males. Reproduction, stress, and metabolism all play a factor in destabilizing hormone levels. Keto can be a dramatic change for the body and can throw hormones for a loop early on.
If you are in your prime baby-making years, you may experience lower estrogen levels on a keto diet. You’ll want to watch this as low estrogen levels can lead to a lower sex drive, vaginal dryness, and disruptions in both your sleep and mood. This is likely caused by the lack of highly-processed foods in your new, healthy diet.
If you’re in menopause or the time right before it, your estrogen levels may be higher than normal on keto. This can be a good thing since female estrogen levels are naturally declining during this period.
Keep an eye on your cortisol levels, they may rise on keto. Cortisol is a stress hormone and it goes nuts when it notices there isn’t enough glucose on hand to react to stress you may be going through.
The symptoms of your period can make it difficult to stick to your keto diet and it’s not just the cravings that will weigh you down.
Electrolyte imbalances can take your normal period headache and turn it into a full-blown ket headache party real quick. Also, the pain and discomfort from bloating combined with the difficulty of digesting keto foods rich in fiber may knock you off the keto wagon.
Preparing to accommodate for your period ahead of time can help mitigate all the misery that comes with periods on keto.
3. Risk of Carb Crash
Eliminating all carbs right away can be a little riskier for women. Women need to ease into your keto process.
Dropping too many carbs and calories too quickly can shoot you into starvation mode where your body will actually start to store fat instead of burning it. You’ll actually need a few carbs in your diet if you’re very active and exercising often, if you are in a weight-loss stall, or if your body is in the stage of perimenopause or menopause.
4. Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
It’s true that keto can help boost fertility and balance reproductive hormones, but the jury is from sure if maintaining a keto diet through pregnancy and breastfeeding is good for you.
While carrying and caring for a child, your body needs tons of extra nutrients and calories. We’re just going to go ahead and say that you should not be on a keto diet while pregnant or while breastfeeding. The pros do not outweigh the cons here.
Be safe and consult with your doctor during this time.
Personalized Keto Plans for Women
How to be safe and how to avoid any problems that may pop up should be on every woman’s mind before starting keto. Luckily, there are plenty of guides out there to monitor your keto. Taking a quick quiz and getting a personalized plan is the smart way to keto.