So, let’s dive in and learn more about how the ketogenic diet can affect women’s health and well-being!
Health Benefits of Ketosis for Women
Ketosis is a metabolic state where your body primarily uses ketones for energy (rather than glucose).
Ketones are produced when your body breaks down fat for fuel. This optimized when carbohydrate intake is low enough to deplete glycogen stores in the liver. Carbohydrate intake of 20-50 grams per day, is typically low enough to induce ketosis within just a few days.
And while most of the benefits of ketosis apply to men and women, several that are particularly relevant for women. Here are a few of the primary benefits:
• Weight Loss & Body Composition Improvements: The most well-known benefit of ketosis is weight loss, and studies show women can experience significant weight loss and body improvements on keto. One 12-week study of obese women on keto, showed that the women shed 10.2% of their total body weight, compared to 5.5% in the control group. That’s almost double the weight lost!
• Improved Insulin Sensitivity & Blood Sugar Control: Insulin resistance and blood sugar imbalances are common issues for women, particularly those with conditions such as PCOS. Keto has been shown to significantly improve blood sugar metabolism and hormonal balance and to reduce and sometimes eliminate symptoms of PCOS.
• Reduced Inflammation & Oxidative Stress: Inflammation and oxidative stress are associated with a range of chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Keto has been shown to markers for inflammation and oxidative stress in both men and women.
• Enhanced Mental Clarity & Focus: Many people report improved mental clarity on keto, which is particularly beneficial for women with brain fog or other cognitive issues. In a study of healthy adults, those who followed keto for six weeks showed improvements in processing speed, working memory, and attention.
• Improved Energy Levels & Exercise Performance: Keto also improves energy levels and exercise performance, particularly in endurance sports. In a study of trained cyclists, those who followed keto for four weeks showed improved endurance with no decrease in power output.
• Enhanced Thyroid Function: Research shows keto can benefit people with thyroid issues. One study found that a very low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet improved thyroid function in healthy adults, with increased levels of thyroid hormone T3 and decreased levels of reverse T3 (rT3). Another study found benefits for people with hypothyroidism by increasing gene expression related to thyroid hormones reducing inflammation in the thyroid gland.
• Optimized Cholesterol Levels: Some research has suggested that following keto long-term may increase cholesterol levels for some people. The keto diet is high in fat. And this can lead to an increase in LDL or so-called “bad” cholesterol. However, it also helps to raise HDL “good” cholesterol and significantly improve the overall cholesterol ratio. Furthermore, keto has been shown to significantly reduce dangerous triglycerides and increase weight loss, especially for women with existing blood sugar control issues.
When it comes to your cardiovascular system, it’s really about the health of your cholesterol… not the amount. To optimize your cholesterol on a high-fat diet, make sure you are consuming healthy fats in the right ratios.
Focusing on saturated and monounsaturated fats from grass-fed meats, and omega-3 fats from wild seafood, like wild Pacific salmon, sardines, wild shrimp, and scallops. And beware of “dirty keto” foods that may be ketogenic in their macronutrient profile but loaded with unhealthy fats (like canola and soybean oils) or inflammatory fibers (like soluble corn fiber and inulin).