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Diane Kazer

Diane Kazer

Certified Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner specializing in hormones, detoxification and self love

3 Hormonal Reasons a Ketogenic (Low Carb) Diet is Bad for Women

If there's anything I dislike, it's dogma.  These crazy swings women take to chase their dream body.  Ladies, the solution is CONSISTENCY, which is why 95% of ‘diets' don't work.  Much of the time, living and eating ‘in balance' is difficult to achieve because we allow ‘crazy busy' to become our reality, which throws our lives, our diets and our endocrine systems out of balance.
I will say that there are short term ‘diet resets' that work to shock our body out of the insulin resistant state, such as Intermittent Fasting, carbohydrate cycling, 7 days of smoothies (as the Warrior Cleanse program kicks off), but in general, going Keto for most women, the average exhausted woman today is a BAD idea, even when used for a short term reset.  WHY?  Read on…
3 reasons why Ketogenic diets (while good for a small % of the population, namely men) are generally a BAD idea for women and hormone balance:
 

#1 – THYROID SHUT DOWN

…which = low energy, depression, sluggish metabolism, impaired fat burning, acid reflux, hair loss and more. WHY? Eating carbs prompts your kidneys to release insulin so it can be broken down in the body. Insulin is needed to make thyroid hormone available to the body.
🙁 MAIN THYROID IMBALANCE SYMPTOM = depression
SECONDARY symptoms = low energy, sluggish metabolism, impaired fat burning, acid reflux, hair loss
 

#2 – ADRENAL FATIGUE

…which = dry/thin/aging skin, overwhelmed, insomnia (wired mind, tired body), low energy/motivation, dizzy (esp upon rising), upper back/neck pain, increased belly fat, brain fog. The medical term is ‘HPA axis dysregulation'. So WHY is #keto a bad idea for women with AF? The main hormone that goes haywire in adrenal fatigue is cortisol, our stress hormone that makes us feel wired yet tired, panic attack'y and stores belly fat. Keto diets = low carb which INCREASES this stress hormone. Hence low carbs = worsen adrenal fatigue (something I have yet to NOT see in the hundreds of clients I've tested over the years). Combine that with a stressful job, inadequate sleep, and overexercise, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for adrenal burnout. HENCE, why moderate carb intake (around 100-150g of carbs per day is advised for women – 20-30% of total daily caloric intake).
🙁 MAIN ADRENAL IMBALANCE SYMPTOM = fatigue
SECONDARY symptoms =  dry/thin/aging skin, overwhelmed, insomnia (wired mind, tired body), low energy/motivation, dizzy (esp upon rising), upper back/neck pain, increased belly fat, brain fog

#3 – OVARIAN ISSUES …

which = PMS, yeast infections, cysts, PCOS, endometriosis, BV, infertility, cancer, etc. One of the key drivers for these conditions today is excess estrogen trapped in the liver. What does that have to do with a low carb diet? LCD's (like keto) lead to gut dysbiosis and a reduction in the diversity of gut flora. HOW? When you avoid carbs, you’re also avoiding important prebiotics (i.e. food for your gut flora) like soluble fiber and resistant starch. This ‘good girls' group have a team name – the ESTROBOLOME – and their job is to metabolize estrogen and secrete it from the body. So, as you can see, if they're not out doing their job, dangerous estrogen backs up and creates estrogen dominance which = obesity, diabetes, bipolar bowels, bloating, mood swings, autoimmune disease, skin disorders and estrogen dominated cancers like breast and ovarian. As I say often ‘if you're in a rut, love on your gut', because as Hippocrates taught us ‘you’re only as healthy as your gut is'.
🙁 MAIN OVARIAN IMBALANCE SYMPTOM = menstruation & menopause symptoms
SECONDARY symptoms = ovarian related diseases such as PCOS
 
Less than 10% of Americans get the daily recommended dose of fruits and veggie (fiber/prebiotics) so you can see why we're not only in Deep $hit but feel like $hit too!
 
I follow Chris Kresser, who's references are listed below.  His mentor is Paul Jaminet, who recommends a minimum of 20% to 30% of energy intake coming from carbohydrates. (19) For a moderately active woman eating 2,000 calories per day, that’s 100-150 grams of carbohydrate from fruits, starchy vegetables like potatoes and sweet potatoes, white rice, and some dairy if tolerated.  For the 3 main reasons listed in this blog post as to WHY WOMEN NEED CARBS AND SHOULD NOT HATE THEM.  
BOTTOM LINE:  instead of cutting your carbohydrate intake back to 5% of your total caloric intake as the Ketogenic recommends, aim for a minimum of 20% to 30% of energy intake coming from carbohydrates (the healthy kind)

REFERENCES:

  • Is a Low Carb Diet Ruining your Health? – https://chriskresser.com/is-a-low-carb-diet-ruining-your-health/
  • Why we need Carbs/Resistant Starch to Feed Good Gut Bacteria – https://chriskresser.com/how-resistant-starch-will-help-to-make-you-healthier-and-thinner/
  • How much Carb/Resistant Starch should I eat? And fun recipes – https://www.mommypotamus.com/resistant-starch/

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