The keto diet, which is characterized by low-carb and high-fat intake, has become increasingly popular due to its various health advantages such as weight loss, better blood sugar regulation, and decreased chances of heart disease. Lately, there has been a rising curiosity about its potential benefits for women suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome, also known as PCOS.
PCOS is a hormonal disorder that affects 1 in 10 women of reproductive age. It is characterized by irregular periods, high levels of androgens (male hormones), and small cysts on the ovaries. PCOS can lead to infertility, weight gain, and other health problems.
Let us examine the evidence behind the keto diet and its potential to improve PCOS symptoms.
What Is the Keto Diet?
The ketogenic diet, commonly known as the keto diet, is a food plan that focuses on consuming high amounts of fat and minimal carbohydrates. Its main goal is to push the body into a metabolic condition called ketosis, where it uses fat as its primary fuel source instead of carbs. This is accomplished by significantly cutting down on carbs and increasing the consumption of fats.
The typical keto diet consists of 70-80% fat, 20-25% protein, and 5-10% carbohydrates. This is in contrast to a standard American diet, which typically consists of 50% carbohydrates, 30% fat, and 20% protein.
Can the Keto Diet Help with PCOS Symptoms?
The research on the impact of the keto diet on PCOS is quite few. However, some studies indicate that it might be advantageous for women suffering from PCOS.
Weight loss is a common goal for women with PCOS, as it can improve hormonal imbalances and other symptoms. The keto diet has been shown to be effective for weight loss, as it reduces appetite and increases satiety.
Several research has shown that the ketogenic diet can result in considerable weight reduction for overweight or obese people. One study discovered that overweight and obese women with PCOS experienced significant weight loss after adhering to a low-carb diet (akin to the keto diet) for half a year.
Improved Insulin Sensitivity
PCOS often involves insulin resistance, which can result in increased insulin levels in the bloodstream. This can contribute to weight gain, high blood pressure, and other health problems.
The keto diet has been shown to enhance insulin sensitivity, which could be advantageous for women suffering from PCOS. A study published in Nutrition & Metabolism found that a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet improved insulin sensitivity and reduced fasting insulin levels in women with PCOS.
Reduced Androgen Levels
Elevated androgen levels, including testosterone, are a defining characteristic of PCOS and can result in symptoms like irregular periods, acne, and excessive hair growth. Some evidence implies that the keto diet could decrease androgen levels in women with PCOS. One study observed that a low-carbohydrate diet, analogous to the keto diet, significantly lowered testosterone levels in women with PCOS.
Improved Ovarian Function
PCOS can cause problems with ovulation, such as irregular periods or low progesterone levels. One study looked at whether a very low-calorie ketogenic diet could help improve ovarian function in obese women with PCOS. The women in the study had regular periods but low progesterone levels at a certain point in their cycle. After three months on the diet, their progesterone levels increased significantly on a specific day of their cycle, which helped improve their ovulation problems.
Although there is little research on the keto diet’s impact on PCOS, some studies indicate that it could be advantageous for women suffering from this disorder. The keto diet has demonstrated efficacy in weight reduction, enhancing insulin sensitivity, lowering androgen levels, and bettering ovarian functions.
Nonetheless, it’s crucial to acknowledge that the keto diet isn’t appropriate for everyone and may cause side effects like constipation, nausea, and exhaustion. We highly suggest speaking with a physician or healthcare professional before beginning any new diet or workout routine, particularly if you suffer from a medical issue like PCOS.
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