We take a look at the Keto Diet and PCOS and discuss 3 ways the diet may help those who suffer from the syndrome.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) affects between 5 and 10 percent of the female population, but its impact can be overwhelming for the women who do suffer from the syndrome.
Many women who experience PCOS find that it contributes to infertility, irregular periods, increased risk for diabetes, abnormal hair growth and more.
While studies are still underway on the overall impact of PCOS and how to manage the disease, one way you may be able to take control is by practicing the Keto Diet.
Keto Diet and PCOS
When it comes to the Keto Diet and PCOS, these three effects may help you manage the syndrome. You may be able to help minimize the impact and severity of your PCOS symptoms without having to resort to surgery.
May aid in losing weight
PCOS often impacts women who are overweight or obese, but the initial weight gain may be a result of PCOS itself, as weight gain in women can be caused by an imbalance in of hormones, specifically, an increase in testosterone in the body, which is a known symptom of PCOS.
Unfortunately, once women gain the weight, it’s tough for many of them to lose it.
With PCOS, many women find that the weight they gain is visceral, which means it accumulates around the belly, and puts women at a higher risk for health problems, like sleep apnea and heart attacks.
Weight gain combined with increased insulin resistance, another symptom of PCOS, can lead to a type-2 diabetes diagnosis.
One of the ways you may be able to take control over your PCOS symptoms is by losing weight, which can be a challenge for women with PCOS, but the Keto Diet can help.
Because the Keto Diet causes the body to use stored ketones for energy, which are produced by your liver from stored fat instead of glucose from carbohydrates, women may find that the Keto Diet is the key to losing stored fat.
Once you switch from a high-carbohydrate diet to a low-carb, high-fat diet, your body naturally uses your fat stores for energy, which often results in fat loss.
Help manage your insulin levels
PCOS impacts your body’s natural ability to regulate insulin and, in some cases, makes your body resistant to insulin, which can lead to women developing type-2 diabetes.
When you eat a diet that is full of carbohydrates and sugar, your body needs to produce more insulin to regulate the glucose levels in your body.
With the Keto Diet, because you eat less sugar and carbohydrates (which are converted to glucose by your body and stored as fat in excess), you have less overall spikes in your blood sugar, and therefore the body has to produce less insulin overall.
Fat does not cause a massive spike in blood sugar and thus leads to less insulin production in the body, so when you eat a high-fat, low-carb diet, your body doesn’t have to combat it in the same way as it would with excess carbohydrates and sugar.
When your body has fewer insulin spikes, you may be able to manage your PCOS symptoms better as your body is enabled to maintain its testosterone levels more efficiently.
Abnormally high testosterone levels in women can sometimes lead to baldness, excessive body and facial hair, acne, infertility, and even depression.
When you have elevated insulin levels, or are insulin resistant, your body has a harder time managing its testosterone production, but the Keto Diet is low-carb and low-sugar and may make it easier for your body to keep its hormones balanced.
May improve your fertility
As a result of abnormally high testosterone levels in women with PCOS, women may experience irregular periods.
Some women with PCOS experience irregular periods while others suffer from extremely symptomatic menstruation (excess bleeding and horrible cramping).
When sex hormones are unbalanced in the body, they can impact a woman’s ability to menstruate correctly, which can make it difficult for some women to conceive as ovulation is less assured of happening.
One of the primary symptoms of PCOS is infertility, and the Keto Diet may help in this regard as it makes it easier for your body to regulate insulin levels, which allows your testosterone levels from being unbalanced and may lead to more regular ovulation and menstruation.
Helping women menstruate properly is a critical step in improving fertility.
While eating a Ketogenic Diet is no guarantee that you will become pregnant, it can contribute to your overall health by helping you lose weight and regulate insulin and hormone levels, which some people have found added to their ability to conceive.
Living with PCOS can be a challenge, but you may be able to make living with the disease easier on yourself by following the Keto Diet.
No matter what your PCOS symptoms are like, eating a healthier diet that moves away from refined grains and sugars towards a diet that emphasizes whole foods and good sources of fat can provide a multitude of health benefits for women.
Managing your weight and insulin can go a long way in alleviating your PCOS symptoms and, combined with the Keto Diet, women may find that it is easier to keep their weight within a healthy range.
If you are considering starting the Keto Diet and you have PCOS, be sure to consult with your doctor before starting the diet, as individuals with underlying health issues might find it’s best to have their doctor’s support.