Nobody wants to deal with the symptoms of menopause. They’re inconvenient and don’t seem to come under control. But there might be a solution.
A ketogenic diet is proven to improve some symptoms of menopause. Symptoms such as weight gain, lower metabolic rates, and decreased insulin sensitivity are combated by the low-carb diet.
Before you dive into the diet, it’s a good idea to read up. Here is all the information you’ll need to start the keto diet to help with menopause.
What Are The Symptoms Or Effects Of Menopause?
Menopause is not fun and games. It has symptoms that transcend the boundaries of comfort into pain at times. But what are these symptoms?
- Despite the common myth that menopause leads to no periods, menopause starts with irregular periods.
- Since there is a drop in estrogen, there are symptoms of vaginal dryness.
- Hot flashes are a common and well-known symptom of menopause.
- Contrary to the hot flashes, there are also major chills.
- Due to hot flashes, night sweats are a common problem.
- A slowed metabolism is also linked to weight gain.
- Other common symptoms of menopause include thinning hair and dry skin.
- Breasts also tend to sag or drop in fullness during this time.
- There’s a significant loss in muscle tone.
- Since hormones are all over the place, mood swings are common.
- There’s also a lower sex drive.
What Are The Benefits of Keto For Menopause?
Keto can ease the variety of symptoms that come with menopause. A diet high in protein and fats and low on carbs may seem counteractive to symptoms such as weight gain, but here are the benefits.
Decreased Insulin Resistance
Many women dealing with menopause face a decreased sensitivity to insulin that can cause problems later down the road. A keto diet improves insulin sensitivity and advances certain hormone levels.
Insulin is responsible for the intake of sugar by the cells from the bloodstream to be used as fuel. Hence, it’s essential to keep your system functioning.
The research suggests that there is an increase in insulin sensitivity, so managing blood sugar levels becomes easier. A low-carb diet has been seen to improve hormonal imbalances that improve the symptoms of menopause.
Prevents Weight Gain
Fluctuating hormones and a slower metabolism can lead to weight gain. The decrease in calories can also lead to height loss! So, when it comes to it, the BMI of a person in menopause goes higher.
However, the keto diet is said to reduce or prevent weight gain. A study on 88,000 women saw that the decrease in risk of weight gain was proportional to a decrease in carbs. On the other hand, a low-fat diet was shown to promote weight gain.
Helps Reduce Cravings
Much like a period, women going through menopause experience cravings and hunger. Everything from chocolate to burgers is appetizing. However, a keto diet can reduce these cravings and therefore prevent extra weight gain.
After some time, people on a keto diet tend to stop craving carb-heavy foods. The same goes for women experiencing or transitioning to menopause. A 95-person study showed an increase in peptide 1. The hormone regulates appetite, and the increase was mostly in women!
What Are The Side Effects Of Keto?
No diet as rigid as keto comes without its side effects. In regular circumstances, there are reports of an effect on the liver and kidneys and keto flu. Here are the corresponding symptoms of menopausal women on a keto diet.
If you didn’t already have it, then heart disease is a possibility for women going through menopause on keto. Many studies have shown an increase in LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) and endothelial dysfunction that can increase the risk of heart problems.
Keto restricts your diet to just a few nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. The human body still requires fiber and vitamins such as D and E. The nutritional deficiency and lack of fiber in a keto diet make it unreasonable to sustain for a long period of time.
Fiber is essential to maintain gut health, and it protects against cardiovascular disease. The lack of fiber in a keto diet severely affects gut health.
The keto flu is a common symptom for anybody that undertakes the ketogenic diet. It happens as the body adjusts to burning fat for fuel and entering a state called ketosis. All the symptoms of the flu can worsen the menopause symptoms.
Some of the effects could be:
- Excessive fatigue
- Hair loss
- Reduced sleep quality (sometimes reffered to as keto insomnia)
- Mood swings
You can treat the symptoms of the keto flu by increasing your water intake and electrolytes.
Temporary Weight Loss
There’s nothing like losing weight and immediately regaining it. When you’re going on and off keto, this is a distinct possibility. Since keto is such a restrictive diet, overeating and overconsumption of carbs can lead to weight gain.
To keep the weight off, you will need to increase your carb intake carefully and slowly. It’ll also require a lot of exercise and healthy eating.
Does Keto Work Long-Term?
Multiple myths follow the ketogenic diet. While the weight sheds off easily, it’s not as easy to keep the weight off. Since you can only sustain the ketogenic diet for about 3-6 months without dire consequences, learning to maintain this progress is necessary.
Apart from weight gain, it has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity. However, these effects aren’t long-term. They can help with transitioning into menopause but won’t help you through the process.
Keto-friendly diets can aid the immediate reduction of symptoms, but any long-term effects won’t be visible until maintained.
Keto-Friendly Foods For Menopause
There are multiple keto-friendly options out there. If you’re young and athletic, it is not a hardship. However, when you’re transitioning into menopause, watching what you eat is necessary, especially when starting keto.
So, here is a list of four types of food that you can definitely eat on keto while transitioning to menopause.
Fish are known to be high in omega-3 fatty acids and have several other important nutrients and vitamins. Salmon and other omega-rich foods are known to help reduce inflammation that comes with hormonal imbalances!
Omega-3, in particular, helps deal with mood swings that also come with hormonal imbalances during menopause.
It seems like a wide category, but it isn’t when you start looking for options. Since menopausal women tend to be anemic or low on iron, replenishing it is necessary. But you can’t do that with iron. Instead, iron-rich foods such as the ones listed below can help:
- Organ meats (liver)
- Grass-fed red meat
- Salmon and Tuna
All those rumors you’ve heard about green tea are partly true. It does contain an antioxidant known as epigallocatechin (EGCG). It improves metabolic rates and lowers any inflammation caused by hormone imbalances. There’s also a chance it’ll regulate insulin levels.
Phytoestrogens are similar to estrogen, so they’re great for women going through menopause. While everyone on the keto diet can’t eat them, it’s especially great for menopausal women.
The foods in this category include:
- Pumpkin seeds
- Soy sauce
Ketogenic diets have a bad reputation. However, they can be very useful for menopausal women. Since they’re so high in healthy fats and low in carbs, there are lesser mood swings, greater weight loss, improved hormone imbalances, and overall, an easier transition into menopause.
Despite not being able to keep it up for a long time, the diet can help ease the transition into menopause, which is a hard change.
Are you ready to try it yet?
We recommend to stay at least 3-6 months on the ketogenic diet to see the best results. After the three to six-month period, you can decide to continue dieting or to reintroduce carbs to your diet slowly.
Keto is known to help regulate irregular period cycles. It has a positive effect on ovulation and pregnancy chances. However, since the keto diet helps with weight loss, it helps maintain estrogen levels rather than increase or decrease them rapidly.
Yet when taken in the correct dosage, there should be no concerns about the safety of exogenous ketone supplements.
The keto diet helps women over the age of 50 in several ways, including weight loss, insulin sensitivity, and improved mood swings. But, like any other diet, it can have its side effects. Staying on keto for too long is also a bad idea for anybody, but especially women over 50.
It can lead to nutrient and vitamin deficiencies that can have debilitating effects.
So, it’s best to check in with a health professional before getting on the ketogenic diet. They can provide a solid meal plan and accommodate any existing conditions.
According to the dietary guidelines, carbs should make up at 10 percent of your total daily calorie intake when you're on a keto diet. Roughly about 30-50 grams of carbohydrates, if you eat 2,000 calories a day, is necessary.
However, some people eat only about 5% of carbohydrates a day on a keto diet.
Mostly, women have reported having fewer and more infrequent hot flashes when on the keto diet. According to the accounts provided, the reduction in hot flashes and night sweats is long-term!
While a keto diet can’t cure a hormone imbalance, it can definitely help. The improved insulin performance improves hormone levels leading to fewer mood swings, hot flashes, and a host of other issues!