Keto For Women: What You Need to Know Before Starting

Are you a woman who is looking to start the keto diet?

The ketogenic diet has been proven to be one of the most effective ways for women to lose weight.

It’s also an excellent way for women with PCOS, endometriosis, or other hormonal imbalances to manage their symptoms. But before you dive in head first, there are some things you should know about this low-carb, high-fat diet.

This article will cover everything from how it works and what foods are allowed on the keto diet to why it might not be right for everyone (including pregnant and breastfeeding women).

We’ll also discuss common concerns like whether or not keto is safe and what to do if you’re struggling with weight loss.

Read more to find out about how the ketogenic diet can work for you if you’re a woman looking to try it out.

What Is The Ketogenic Diet

The ketogenic diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet that shares many similarities with the Atkins and low-carb diets. It involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat.

This reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. When this happens, your body becomes incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy. It also turns fat into ketones in the liver, which can supply energy for the brain.

Clinical studies show that ketogenic diets can lead to massive reductions in blood sugar and insulin levels. This reduction often leads to lower HbA1C levels, improved insulin sensitivity, and reversal of prediabetes.

Now, keto isn’t for everyone. People with severe kidney disease or a history of disordered eating should definitely consult their doctor before trying keto.

For those who do decide they want to try it, ketosis can have many benefits. These include weight loss, improved energy levels, better mental clarity, and more.

The Benefits Of The Keto Diet For Women

The keto diet can have many benefits for women, including rapid weight loss. As we mentioned above, this may be particularly helpful for women with PCOS, as keto can help reduce insulin levels in the body.

The ketogenic diet also improves insulin sensitivity in women with metabolic syndrome. It may also increase HDL cholesterol levels and improve other health markers in these women, such as blood pressure, blood sugar, and triglycerides.

Other potential keto benefits for women include a lower risk of heart disease, improved mental clarity, better overall mood, increased energy levels, and more.

How To Start A Keto Diet If You’re A Woman

If keto sounds like something that could be beneficial to your health, then there are a few ways you can try it.

The ketogenic diet is a very low-carb, moderate protein, and high-fat based diet. Carbs should account for just 5% of calories in a ketogenic diet. Protein makes up 15% to 20% of calories. Then, fat is the main energy source at 75% to 80% of calories.

For keto to be effective, you must restrict carbs and sugars. Reducing carbs will prevent your body from getting into a state of ketosis. So keto really will only work if you cut out all sugar sources, including fruit.

Eating keto is simple, but you should aim to be as prepared as possible.

Here’s a checklist of things you should utilize when starting the ketogenic diet:

  1. Food scale. Use this to ensure foods are weighed accurately.
  2. A journal or notebook. For tracking food and exercise and keeping your thoughts in check. Ketosis is not a regulated diet, so it can be easy to take make some mistakes. We recommend you write down everything that happens to you throughout the day, including what meals you eat and how much water you drink.
  3. A calorie tracker app. This is to keep track of your diet and calories if this is a concern of yours.
  4. Ketone testing device. While urine tests are cheap, they can be inaccurate. Blood test kits are more expensive, but they also provide accurate readings.
  5. A healthy fat to add to your meals. Each day you should consume about 70% of your daily calories from fats, which is significantly higher than in a low-fat diet. Good fats can be found in coconut oil or other sources such as olive oil, almonds, avocado, and grass-fed butter.
  6. Exercise. The keto diet is a great weight loss tool for many people, but it may not be enough for you if you’re looking to build muscle or increase performance in your athletic endeavors. That’s where exercise comes in.

What Foods To Avoid On Keto For Women

The ketogenic diet is designed to allow the body to produce and burn fat for energy.

If you want to follow this eating style, you’ll need to remove some common food groups from your diet.

  • All grains. This includes wheat, rice, oats, quinoa, corn, and more
  • Sugars. All added sugars, including honey, agave, maple syrup, and more, should be avoided. The only exception to this is stevia, a natural sweetener that can be used in small amounts.
  • Juice. All fruit and vegetable juices are eliminated because they tend to be high in sugar and other carbohydrates.
  • Beans or legumes. This includes all beans such as black beans, kidney beans, lentils, and more. Peas can also fall under this category but are much less problematic.
  • Sugar-free sweeteners. These can be high in artificial sweeteners that will hinder weight loss and lower blood sugar levels. Sugar substitutes are often unhealthy, even if they’re calorie-free.  They can also disrupt normal gut bacteria, which can hurt overall health and metabolism.

What Foods You Can Eat On Keto

  • Healthy fats. This includes avocado, olive oil, and other sources. Unsaturated fat and saturated fat are encouraged on a ketogenic diet, as well as omega 3s like those found in fatty fish such as salmon. Omega 3 supplements are also recommended if you are unable to meet your needs with food.
  • Vegetables. While many vegetables are low in carbs, there are some high-carb veggies you should avoid or limit on keto. These include corn and peas. On the other hand, mushrooms are technically a “plant,” but they’re very low in carbohydrates so that they can be eaten in small amounts.
  • Meats. Meat is encouraged on the keto diet. You can eat red meat, white meat, and more in moderation while following this eating plan.  If you eat too much meat, however, your weight loss may stall. So be conscious of how much protein you’re consuming daily.
  • Water. Water is an important beverage to consume while on keto. You can also drink coffee and tea, but they must be unsweetened.
  • Seasonings. You can use salt, pepper, garlic, and other spices in cooking. When adding them to your meals or using them as a garnish, make sure they are fresh.
  • Cheese. Cheese is acceptable on the keto diet in small amounts. However, it’s best to stick with naturally low-carb options, like cottage cheese, ricotta, and others high in fat content.

Takeaway

If you want to follow this eating style, you’ll need to remove some common food groups from your diet. A ketogenic diet might be a tough adjustment, but it could have excellent results if followed properly.

Do Keto Diets Work For Women?

A keto diet can be a great option for women if they are looking to lose weight, improve their health, or reach other fitness goals.

While there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to the keto diet (or any type of diet), it’s important to understand what ketosis is and how you can take advantage of it to reach your goals.

The keto diet works when you restrict your carbohydrate intake to under 50 grams per day.

When you do this, it makes your body produce ketones to fuel itself. As a result, your body is “burning fat for fuel,” which leads to the creation of ketones and weight loss.

During the first few days of keto dieting, your body is still using stored glucose as a source of fuel. This keeps happening until new mitochondria are created in your cells.

Mitochondria are needed to use fat for energy.  A process called ketogenesis happens when you switch fuel sources, and it causes your body to start using ketones for energy rather than glucose.

This is when you’re in a state of “ketosis,” which causes the weight loss that often comes with this diet.  

Once your body is used to burning ketones for fuel, it’s common to see the weight loss increase, and that process speeds up.  This causes women on the ketogenic diet to reach their weight loss goals very quickly.

Potential Risks And Side Effects For Women On The Keto Diet

When it comes to the keto diet for women, one of the most challenging (yet important) aspects of making this lifestyle change is understanding the potential risks and side effects of going “keto.”

The ketogenic diet has been shown to help people lose weight, lower blood sugar levels, improve energy levels, and even boost brain function.

However, that doesn’t mean it’s a miracle diet without potential side effects or risks, especially for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have any pre-existing health conditions.

That’s why it’s important to consult with a certified health professional before starting the keto diet.

Before you begin, these are some of the potential side effects and risks to know about:

Disrupted menstrual cycle. Taking your body into a state of ketosis might result in you having irregular periods (this is especially true if you are new to the diet and haven’t adapted to using fat as an energy source). When you eat fewer carbs and more fat, your body changes the way it uses thyroid hormones, which impacts hormone levels and results in irregular periods.

It’s important to note that ketosis is typically not recommended if you’re breastfeeding as it could affect the quality of your breast milk.

Constipation. Because of the lack of fiber in the keto diet, some people experience constipation issues, especially when they are transitioning to this new way of eating. You can counteract this by increasing the amount of fiber you consume, which will also help raise your good cholesterol levels and improve heart health.

Not following a plan that works for you. If you’re trying to make a lifestyle change, it’s important to know that ketosis is different for every person. That means there isn’t going to be a “one size fits all” approach to keto; everyone’s diet will be different depending on your goals, lifestyle, and health concerns.

Tips To Practice Keto In A Healthy Way

If you want to make sure you’re practicing keto in a healthy way, these tips will really help:

  • Learn your macros. It’s important to understand how many carbs, protein, and fat you should be eating per day. This will help ensure that you’re not consuming too much or too little of each nutrient.
  • Stay hydrated. Because keto can cause constipation, it’s important to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Aim for at least half your body weight in ounces of water each day.
  • Stay active. Although the keto diet can help you lose weight, that doesn’t mean it’s okay to live a sedentary lifestyle. You will need to exercise to keep your metabolism up and make sure you’re burning those calories you’ve consumed.
  • Stay positive. As with any new lifestyle change, you will experience challenges along the way. The key is to focus on your success instead of the scale and keep learning from each day forward.

Summary

The keto diet revolves around eating a high-fat, low-carbohydrate, moderate protein intake. This means cutting out any carbs that come from sugar or grains and instead focusing on food that is high in healthy fats.  

A person goes into ketosis when their body starts to use ketones for fuel rather than glucose which has many benefits, including increased weight loss.

The ketogenic diet does have some potential side effects and risks, though, as it can disrupt your menstrual cycle if you’re new to the diet or cause constipation issues.

Therefore, it’s important to consult with a certified health professional before starting this lifestyle change.

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