Women & Keto

Women & Keto

May 16, 20216 min read

It isn’t news that men and women store and metabolize fat differently. This also means that women and men have different nutritional needs in order to build their hormones.

With the popularity of eating Keto (higher fat, moderate protein, and low carbs) some women and men are finding very different results.

The benefits of eating this way can give you so much energy, better mental clarity (brain fog gone), weight loss, and better sleep. Who doesn’t want these results? However, for some their hormones can feel these effects.

Let me explain, I am a component of eating a Keto diet with a few add-ons, such as Intermittent Fasting, rotating your diet, and having a few feast days of higher healthy carbs.

The idea of eating Keto is to lower your blood sugar levels and thus your insulin levels. Insulin is a hormone and what women have to understand is that we need insulin in order to make estrogen and cortisol levels need to be low in order to produce progesterone. As you can see there is a balance that needs to take place in order for the female body to have what she needs in order to function.

For some women who have been eating low carb for an extended period of time, they may start to develop symptoms such as, muscle loss, dehydration, leg cramps, frequent urination, constipation, irregular menstruation, mood swings, and low tolerance for alcohol.

So with these symptoms that may occur and with the complex female hormone system, how can women benefit from the Keto Diet and Fasting?


Do These 5 Things to Avoid The Pitfalls of Keto for Women


1. Eat Higher Healthier Carbs the Week Before Your Period

Progesterone is a very needed hormone between the days of 14 until a woman begins her menses. Progesterone helps with anxiety and depression, insomnia, PMS symptoms, ovulation, menstruation, and keeping the sex drive high.

When women eat certain foods the week before their menses, it will help maintain healthy progesterone levels. Though no foods contain progesterone, the following micro-nutrients can provide the environment needed to support your body to boost progesterone levels:

Vitamin C can boost progesterone. Eat foods such as sweet potato, kiwi, strawberries, oranges, papaya, and pumpkin. Many other veggies also boost vitamin C too, including broccoli, mustard greens, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, and lemons.

Magnesium – This important mineral helps to preserve progesterone levels by keeping you calmer.

Great sources are: Cashewsleafy greens such as kale and Swiss chard, pumpkin seeds, black beans, lentils, and other legumes, cacao, mackerel fish, and whole-grain brown rice.

Vitamin E –Research shows that vitamin E can help to improve luteal blood flow and raise progesterone levels in some women.

Good Sources: Sunflower seeds, almonds, and hazelnuts. In smaller amounts: avocado, sunflower seeds, red peppers, collard greens, pumpkin, asparagus, butternut squash, broccoli, and mango.

Vitamin B6 – Taking vitamin supplements of B6, can also help reduce levels of estrogen while boosting progesterone production.

Good sources: Russet potatoes, salmon, tuna, bananas, spinach, walnuts, beef, chicken, sweet potato, beans, and prunes.

I’m sure you are saying right about now, “That’s not on the Keto plan!” Your right. I firmly believe we need to go in and out of anyone’s particular eating plan and doing so the week before your menses is a great way to not have the Keto diet backfire with your hormones. The foods listed above will support your body in building progesterone and maintaining a healthy hormone balance.


2. Staying away from Prebiotic Fiber foods

What? On the Keto plan, they say to get lower than 20 grams of carbs a day. Veggies and fruits have carbs in them. Certain veggies contain prebiotics naturally, however, if your eating very low carbs you may be missing them. Prebiotics are a type of fiber. It’s a type of undigested plant fiber that feeds the probiotics or good bacteria in your gut. The best prebiotic foods are onion, garlic, leeks, chicory, artichokes, flax seeds, jicama, dandelion greens, asparagus, and banana. When I work with my clients I have them work toward 50 grams of net carbs a day. This is net carbs. To figure out net carbs, take total carbs and subtract the fiber to get the net carbs.


3. Lower Your Stress / Cortisol

Besides eating the foods listed above we can raise our progesterone levels by lowering our stress hormone cortisol. When we Intermittent Fast or do extended fasting or eat really low carb for an extended period of time, we cause stress on the body. This is another reason to have diet variation and change it up every so often. Remember, there are many really big benefits to the Keto Diet Plan and to Fasting. Once combined it’s so powerful.

So lower your stress/cortisol by meditating, being in nature, exercising, getting enough sleep, and having a healthy carb week the week before your menses. And don’t fast the week before your menses. Please understand the body heals, really heals, when we remove food, but it’s best for women to have the week before your menses be a week of higher healthier carbs.


4. Diet Variation is Key

Your body will adapt if we keep eating the same way over and over again. When I work with a client we work on a particular diet that is best for the client. Many times there is a big place for the Keto-type diet here. Once the client has been doing this for a while or has attained a certain result (it will be different for most) we will begin to vary the diet and their individual plan. We will use some testing modalities, fasting, varying the eating plan, and adding in more nutrients at varying levels. This is where individuality really comes into play and why it’s important to work with a trained practitioner.


5. Get Proper Nutritional Supplement Support

When we start eating the Keto Diet Plan, we lower our glucose and start to burn fat for energy. However, toxins are stored in our fat cells and our livers may have been congested from the days of eating excess sugar. When we don’t use proper nutrition support, our detox pathways get congested and bogged down. Which can cause symptoms such as, lower energy, fatigue, brain fog, etc. I recommend certain support supplements in order to reduce and eliminate these symptoms while supporting the detox pathways as your body is becoming metabolically flexible. What to use, is best determined with a Practitioner to determine your individual needs.


Now if you are a woman in menopause, there are a few other tips for you to consider. That will have to be for another post. If you are looking for more guidance to start your Keto and Fasting journey, I’m here to support you. See the offer below.

Remember, If you don’t make time for wellness, You will be forced to make time for illness.

Beth Schupanitz

Back to Blog