Is the Keto Diet Right for PCOS?
There’s been a lot of chatter in the PCOS community about whether the keto diet is the best option. Before I get into my thoughts and reasonings, I would like to be clear and make a disclaimer that you need to choose what is right for you and your body. While some women have had success with this diet, it might not be the best choice for everyone.
What is the keto diet and how does it work?
The keto diet is a very high fat, moderate protein, and low carbohydrate diet. The goal is for your food intake to be 70- 75% fat, 10- 15% from protein, and 5 -10 % from carbs. Most people will say that your net carbs should be about 20 grams. To simplify it, the keto diet is basically when your body gets its fuel from fat. When your body burns its fat storage instead of glycogen stores or energy, your body enters a state of ketosis. For the keto diet to work, you need to get to and stay in ketosis which can be very difficult to do.
What you need to know before attempting the keto diet:
1. The keto diet is very restrictive.
If you’re someone who has trouble eating healthy and making smart choices, I think trying to follow something very strict will be challenging. If you don’t have willpower and motivation, this diet will be your foe. Plus, it can be exhausting trying to stick to something that is rigid, if you do fall off the wagon, you are more likely to fall off HARD!!!
2. There are no long-term studies about how it affects people’s health long-term.
I don’t know about you, but this makes me uncomfortable. I want to know how this will affect my health. Will this lead to heart disease? How will all this fat affect my gallbladder and cholesterol? Am I more likely to regain weight? What is this doing to your gut microbiome? There are just too many unknowns.
3. The keto flu is real.
People are known to get the keto flu when they start this diet and their bodies are transitioning into ketosis. Its symptoms include dizziness, headaches, feeling faint, nauseous, poor sleep, fatigue, constipation, and difficulty exercising. This is due to the lack of carbs. The keto flu can last several days to weeks. It is no joke!
4. It can lead to disordered eating.
When you are very restrictive, you can become obsessive and develop negative emotions towards food. This is no bueno! You shouldn’t feel guilty when it comes to food. And if you are someone who already has an unhealthy or negative relationship with food, you definitely should not be doing keto.
5. It isn’t nutritionally balanced.
This type of diet is very limiting when it comes to fruits and vegetables. And we know that fruits and vegetables provide vital nutrients, minerals, and fiber that we need. Fiber helps to keep everything moving along in the digestive tract as well as keeps us hydrated and feeling full longer. You need to have a diet that is evenly balanced and cutting out healthy foods like fruits and vegetables just doesn’t seem right. And for anyone trying to get pregnant or breastfeeding, this is not a safe diet because you are missing key nutrients.
6. You can develop brain fog.
On this type of diet there are cognitive symptoms including headaches, confusion, memory loss, and slower processing. The keto diet might also increase depression and anxiety in individuals who are already susceptible.
7. Loss of fluids can lead to electrolyte imbalances.
You lose a lot of fluid on this diet and this can cause an electrolyte imbalance. An electrolyte imbalance can lead to muscle cramping, fatigue, irregular heartbeat, and slower cognition. If you become severely dehydrated, you could even develop kidney stones.
8. Be prepared for smelly breath.
Your breath will smell like nail polish because once the body gets into ketosis, your body is breaking down acetoacetic acid. All I can say is yuck!
9. You have to test your ketone levels.
If you truly want to be in ketosis, you need to check your ketone levels. One way to do this is by testing your urine. You can purchase ketone strips at your local pharmacy. Achieving ketosis is a very delicate balance, and if you aren’t in the exact range you won’t be reaping the benefits.
It is my personal belief that you should have balance and that you really shouldn’t restrict too much of anything except the really bad junk food like processed sugars etc. Moderation is key to living a healthy and happy life. I believe in eating the rainbow and incorporating healthy fats, proteins, and carbs. Mindful and intuitive eating are the way in which I have had success.
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