The keto diet has changed many lives by helping people find direction in how they eat.

As you may well know, embracing a ketogenic lifestyle has more benefits than just losing weight. After all, dieting isn’t just about shedding pounds, it’s also about improving your dietary habits, having higher self-esteem, and feeling better.

The end goal of dieting is to be more healthy overall, but this doesn’t just relate to body fat percentage.

It’s important to be mindful of all health factors, especially as you age. Poor eating habits can lead to a variety of ailments, such as cancer, heart disease, and other unpleasant diseases with time and age.[1]

Among some of its many health benefits, going keto can even help with the symptoms of menopause.

Menopause is an uncomfortable stage for women during which they can experience weight gain, hot flashes, lack of sleep, low libido, mood swings, and irritation.

Luckily, these symptoms are manageable with a healthy, ketogenic diet. Let’s take a look!

What is Menopause, Exactly?

Menopause occurs in women usually over the age of 50 when they haven’t had a period in more than 12 months; it’s a clear indicator that all of the available eggs (ova) are now gone.

During menopause, key reproductive/sex hormone levels decrease (estrogen and testosterone) and it causes a myriad of symptoms that are not-so unpleasant.[2]

These symptoms can include:

  • Skin changes
  • Loss of libido
  • Night sweats
  • Insulin resistance
  • High blood pressure
  • Slower metabolism
  • Glucose intolerance
  • High cholesterol
  • Weight gain
  • Hot flashes
  • Mood swings

Doesn’t sound so fun, does it?

The reason for all of these occurring at once is that your body is a finely tuned system of hormones and chemicals and when one system decreases in functionality, there is a very noticeable ripple effect that occurs in reaction.

Maintaining a healthy diet has been known to at least stifle some of these symptoms.

Fortunately, our favorite diet fits this description. The low-carb, high-fat strategy of keto is perfectly suited to mitigate some of the symptoms of menopause.

Keto can help to balance changing hormone levels, which is the primary cause of menopause.

Outlined below are some of the ways that a Ketogenic diet can help you get through menopause.

Weight Loss

Weight gain during menopause is one of the most common and frustrating symptoms of the change.

During this time, it can feel like you are dieting correctly but still not experiencing positive results.

This can be really frustrating and demoralizing. What makes things worse is that a traditional, low-calorie diet can actually amplify the weight gain experienced during menopause instead of helping to control it.[3]

Maintaining a keto lifestyle is a perfect countermeasure to the weight gain that is common in menopause.

Cutting carbs and eating more healthy fats and protein will speed up your metabolism, increase satiety (and reduce food intake), as well as balance the endocrine system.[4]

Sex Hormones

Loss of libido can be another common symptom of menopause that the ketogenic diet is well-suited to combat.

Eating a low-fat diet, higher-carb diet has actually been shown to decrease the amount of testosterone and estrogen in your system.[5]

Since sex hormones are derivatives of cholesterol, limiting your fat intake deprives the body of the molecule it needs to produce things like estrogen and testosterone.

Eating a high-fat diet like keto can help ensure that you get enough of the nutrients that help support sex hormone production, which in turn can mitigate the symptoms of menopause.[6]

Energy Levels

During menopause, women can and often do experience a drop in energy. This is mostly caused by low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) resulting from a diet that is low in fat and predominantly carbohydrates.

On the keto diet, your body will be supplied with plenty of long-lasting energy from healthy fats to get you through the day. Fats and fibrous vegetables help slow the digestion of food, thereby keeping you fuller for longer and avoiding sharp swings in blood glucose after eating.[7]

Carbohydrates (especially simple sugars), on the other hand, can actually exacerbate the symptoms of menopause, particularly lethargy and mood swings, due to the yo-yo-like changes in blood glucose.

Hot Flashes

Perhaps the most famous of the symptoms of menopause is hot flashes. They’re annoying, frequent, and uncomfortable.

Hot flashes are at least in part caused by the estrogen imbalance, which contributes to regulating body temperature.[8]

This also has a lot to do with the hypothalamus and how it helps regulate body temperature (via thyroid production).

It is postulated that the keto diet and exogenous ketones can help protect and nourish brain cells, which could promote healthy hypothalamic function and reduce hot flashes. [9]

Insulin Control

As with many of the other symptoms experienced during menopause, insulin is highly intertwined with sex hormone levels. In fact, one study of postmenopausal with type-2 diabetes found that estrogen therapy improved their insulin sensitivity.[10]

Research also suggests that the ketogenic diet can improve insulin sensitivity.[11]

By improving your insulin levels, you will also affect your sex hormone levels and in turn, decrease weight gain and other symptoms caused by an endocrine imbalance.

Key Takeaways

For most women, menopause is an uncomfortable time of change and can quickly make your life unpredictable and unpleasant. It affects dozens of parts of your body (particularly the endocrine system), thereby reducing your overall wellness.

Luckily, there are steps you can take to help lessen the effects of menopause. One of those steps is to adopt the ketogenic diet.

Embracing the ketogenic diet can help alleviate many of the annoying and uncomfortable symptoms on menopause. If you’re thinking about changing up your diet, keto is a perfect choice!

Related:

Keto for Women: Top Health Benefits and 6 Tips for Success

References:

[1] Boeing, H. (2013). Nutritional epidemiology: new perspectives for understanding the diet-disease relationship?. European journal of clinical nutrition67(5), 424.

[2] Santoro N., Epperson C.N., Mathews S.B. Menopausal Symptoms and Their Management. Endocrinol. Metab. Clin. N. Am. 2015;44:497–515.

[3] Davis, S. R., Castelo-Branco, C., Chedraui, P., Lumsden, M. A., Nappi, R. E., Shah, D., … & Writing Group of the International Menopause Society for World Menopause Day 2012. (2012). Understanding weight gain at menopause. Climacteric15(5), 419-429.

[4] Paoli A. Ketogenic diet for obesity: friend or foe? International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2014;11(2):2092–2107.

[5] Ingram, D. M., Bennett, F. C., & Willcox, D. (1987). Effect of low-fat diet on female sex hormone levels. Journal of the National Cancer Institute79(6), 1225-1229.

[6] Goldin, B. R., Woods, M. N., Spiegelman, D. L., Longcope, C., Morrill‐LaBrode, A., Dwyer, J. T., … & Gorbach, S. L. (1994). The effect of dietary fat and fiber on serum estrogen concentrations in premenopausal women under controlled dietary conditions. Cancer74(S3), 1125-1131.

[7] Jenkins, D. J., Wolever, T. M., Leeds, A. R., Gassull, M. A., Haisman, P., Dilawari, J., … & Alberti, K. G. (1978). Dietary fibres, fibre analogues, and glucose tolerance: importance of viscosity. Br Med J1(6124), 1392-1394.

[8] Freeman, E. W., Sammel, M. D., Lin, H., Gracia, C. R., Kapoor, S., & Ferdousi, T. (2005). The role of anxiety and hormonal changes in menopausal hot flashes. Menopause12(3), 258-266.

[9] Maalouf, M., Rho, J. M., & Mattson, M. P. (2009). The neuroprotective properties of calorie restriction, the ketogenic diet, and ketone bodies. Brain research reviews59(2), 293-315.

[10] Friday, K. E., Dong, C., & Fontenot, R. U. (2001). Conjugated equine estrogen improves glycemic control and blood lipoproteins in postmenopausal women with type 2 diabetes. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism86(1), 48-52.

[11] Azar, S. T., Beydoun, H. M., & Albadri, M. R. (2016). Benefits of ketogenic diet for management of type two diabetes: a review. J Obes Eat Disord2(02).

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