Menopause is when menstruation stops due to a normal drop in female reproductive hormones. It may accompany mood swings, sleep issues, hot flushes, and other symptoms.
A straightforward method that could assist in balancing your hormone levels and reducing some menopause symptoms is altering your diet while receiving medical advice. For example, the ketogenic diet—high in fat and very low in carbohydrates —is frequently suggested as a treatment for menopause symptoms.
About the ketogenic diet and the state of ketosis
By following a ketogenic or keto diet, the body enters a condition of ketosis. This means that fat is converted to ketones by the body to use as fuel. The body then utilises these ketones instead of glucose. To enter ketosis, people must reduce their carbohydrate intake and replace it with fats, as described on PlanKetogenic. The ketogenic diet usually includes:
- 55-60% fats
- 30-35% protein
- 5-10% carbs
The effects of the ketogenic diet on menopausal women are discussed as follows.
The ketogenic diet may provide several advantages, particularly during menopause.
1. Increases sensitivity to insulin:
Your hormone levels can alter for several reasons throughout menopause.
Menopause can lower insulin sensitivity, damaging your body’s capacity to utilise insulin effectively and altering levels of sex hormones like estrogen and progesterone.
A hormone called insulin is in charge of delivering blood sugar to your cells, where it can be used as fuel. According to some studies, the ketogenic diet may enhance insulin sensitivity to support better blood sugar regulation.
Studies claim that cutting back on carbohydrates may lower insulin levels and correct hormonal imbalances, which may be especially helpful after menopause. Furthermore, research points to a possible link between insulin resistance and an increased incidence of hot flushes, a typical side effect of menopause.
2. Could stop weight gain:
Menopause symptoms, including weight gain, are frequently linked to altered hormone levels and slowed metabolism. Some women experience height loss after menopause, which may decrease caloric demands and increase body mass index (BMI).
Despite the lack of research focused on the ketogenic diet, some studies have suggested that reducing carb intake may help reduce weight gain related to menopause.
During the transition towards menopause, many women report having a greater appetite. According to several studies, the ketogenic diet may lessen hunger and appetite, which may be particularly advantageous during menopause.
Taking the ketogenic diet for nine weeks boosts levels of the hormone glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), which controls hunger, according to some studies. Another small study found that a low-calorie ketogenic diet reduced hunger and ghrelin levels, indicators of hunger.
More research is required to assess how the ketogenic diet may impact appetite in menopausal women.
3. Reduced cravings:
Your body may access a lot of stored fat while in ketosis to provide energy. Only when your body cannot use the fat you have stored as fuel, or when there is insufficient fat, do you get hungry.
Moreover, there is an increased production and release of adiponectin, a hormone involved in controlling blood sugar levels. This hormone would make you feel hungrier if its levels were higher. As a result, during ketosis, this hormone’s level dramatically decreases, reducing appetite.
Possible negative effects
While the ketogenic diet may benefit some women throughout menopause, there are also some negative effects.
1. An increased risk of heart disease is linked to menopause:
According to some research, the ketogenic diet raises LDL (bad) cholesterol and causes endothelial dysfunction, which causes the blood channels on the surface of the heart to shrink. Both of these could make menopausal women more susceptible to heart disease.
Additionally, research on obese, overweight, and high cholesterol patients has revealed decreased blood vessel health after adopting a ketogenic diet.
Researchers report a decline in flow-mediated dilation, a test of blood vessel health, after at least three weeks on a low carb diet, in studies looking at the effect of low carb diets on blood vessel health. The risk of future cardiovascular events like a heart attack or a stroke increases tremendously as a result of this decline in flow-mediated dilation.
2. People tend to consume fewer nutrients and fiber:
People following a keto diet tend to consume less calcium, folate, magnesium, manganese, potassium, thiamin, and vitamins D and E to fulfill recommended daily limits.
Furthermore, according to several studies, those who adopt a ketogenic diet tend to eat less fiber. In addition to protecting against cardiovascular disease and lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes and some malignancies, fiber is good for your stomach, immune system, and weight management.
Additionally, studies have shown that ketogenic diets typically have higher levels of saturated fat, linked to higher levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol.
3. The keto flu:
The keto flu is a term used to describe the collection of symptoms that appear as your body enters ketosis. It may worsen menopause symptoms, including fatigue, hair loss, insomnia, and mood swings.
However, keto flu symptoms can be reduced by drinking enough water and consuming a lot of electrolytes. They usually go away within a few days to a few weeks.
Remember that there isn’t enough information about the long-term health effects of a ketogenic diet.
4. Changing habits:
Even though the keto diet may cause temporary weight loss, many people frequently gain some weight back once they start eating normally again.
Before making any dietary changes, speak with a medical practitioner to avoid hurting your health and ensure you get the necessary nourishment.
Can the keto diet bring you out of menopause?
No, neither a diet, a supplement, nor a drug can delay or reverse menopause. When the body stops producing as much estrogen and progesterone, a new, normal stage of life begins. On the other hand, hormone therapy can replenish the hormones a person is losing and help with symptoms.
Other diets for menopause
For many people, the keto diet entails significant lifestyle adjustments, but other approaches can assist someone in achieving or maintaining a healthy weight. They are as follows:
1. Mediterranean eating:
The Mediterranean diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats like nuts and olive oil. It restricts alcohol, red meat, and saturated fats.
Researchers conclude that the Mediterranean diet isn’t as successful for weight loss as the low carbohydrate diet but that it was more beneficial than a low-fat diet. It has been linked to greater bone density and muscle mass in postmenopausal women, according to many studies.
2. Vegetarian diets:
Avoiding animal-derived foods and emphasizing plant-based foods are both parts of a plant-based diet. According to some surveys on peri-menopausal and menopausal vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores, eating more vegetables and less meat was associated with fewer distressing menopausal symptoms.
Similar findings have been obtained from other research targeting menopausal women, which concluded a threefold increased chance of losing weight and getting rid of menopausal symptoms like hot flushes and night sweats.
The ketogenic diet may assist menopausal women by improving insulin sensitivity, reducing weight gain, and reducing cravings. However, it might reduce the consumption of some critical nutrients and raise some cardiovascular disease risk factors. Additionally, while your body enters ketosis after the keto flu, menopause symptoms may momentarily get worse.
Although some women going through menopause may succeed with the ketogenic diet, it is important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all cure.
To determine what works for you, talk with your healthcare professional, set reasonable expectations, pay attention to your body, experiment, and try other natural treatments.