3 Ways Ketogenic Dieting Is Different for Women

It seems young, male bodybuilders are ubiquitous in the world of ketogenic dieting, which advocates keeping carbohydrate intake very low (typically 50 grams or less per day). If you’re a woman embarking on this way of eating, you may feel a bit underrepresented. Rest assured that there are women out there doing keto. But for us, specifically those of us in our child-bearing years, the experience isn’t quite the same.

It’s harder.

You cut the carbs, you go through keto flu, you finally hit your stride, and then bam! Suddenly you find yourself with horrible cravings for pizza and brownies. Because Aunt Flow is on her way and her friend PMS is letting you know about it. Luckily, there are great ketogenic recipes out there for pizza crust and fat bombs, but if you want to stay in ketosis (and grain free) your days of saying "screw it" and ordering Domino’s are in the past. If you cheat and knock yourself out of ketosis, you have to go through the process to get back in. Instead, put in extra effort every month to make sure you stay on track. You can do it.

Your reproductive system will probably have a little party.

Speaking of Aunt Flow, being in ketosis can mess up your monthly. Big time. If you have amenohrrea due to PCOS, you may start having periods again. If you have a normal cycle, you may find yourself frequently very late or very early. You could have double periods where you stop menstruating one week and start again the next. This is because ketosis causes fat loss, and when you lose fat, all the estrogen that was bound up in your fat cells is also released. Extra estrogen means some interesting effects on your period. The good news is this does tend to be temporary. If things get too crazy, consider seeing your doctor.

Your fertility could be affected.

Being in ketosis could lead to your periods stopping altogether. If you want to get pregnant, consider Primal or Paleo or even regular low carb as an alternative to a ketogenic diet. On the other hand, if you’re one of those aforementioned PCOS ladies who finds yourself suddenly having periods since going into ketosis, you’re likely to also find yourself suddenly able to conceive. Again, see your doctor if any of this is a concern for you.

Despite the sometimes very inconvenient quirks of keto that we experience (that men don’t), it can be a fantastic way of eating. It can help you shed pounds, give you higher energy levels, and even help with certain medical conditions. I firmly believe the decision to embrace ketogenic eating is one each individual has to make for herself.

Happy ketoing.

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