Keto For Women: How Does Keto Affect Your Hormones

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/31/2023

Have you ever wondered what the effects of keto for women are? Find out how the ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting (IF) provide benefits to your overall health below.

RELATED: Keto Will Not Work Without IF

How Keto for Women Affects Health

The Common Perception About the Keto Diet and IF

I want to talk about keto, women, and hormones. You might have heard on the Internet and in the news that keto and IF are bad for women because the diets mess up women’s hormones. I’m going to clarify that with these six different points.

1. Decreasing Fat Storing Hormone Levels Promotes Fat Burning 

When you reduce Fat Storing Hormone by doing IF and keto for women, you are instantly enhancing certain fat-burning hormones. Fat Storing Hormone is a fat-making hormone and has the power to prevent the fat-burning process. It is a dominating hormone, and in the presence of Fat Storing Hormone, it nullifies all the fat-burning hormones. 

Just by lowering Fat Storing Hormone levels in your body, you enhance the thyroid hormone (a fat-burning hormone), growth hormone, glucagon (also a fat-burning hormone), and adrenaline (to burn more fat).   

2. Consuming More Healthy Fat Increases Bile Production

Young and happy woman eating healthy salad sitting on the table | Keto For Women: How Does Keto Affect Your Hormones | ketogenic diet women

Because you are consuming more healthy fat, you are also increasing bile production. Bile helps you convert the T4 hormone (the inactive form) to the T3 hormone (the active form). As a result, your thyroid takes control over your body's metabolic process, which is the control system for your mood, concentration, sex drive, energy levels, and weight management. If your estrogen levels increase, the thyroid activity decreases as your glands try to balance things out. 

Going for a high-fat diet increases bile and the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, like Vitamin A, D, and E. These fat-soluble vitamins are vital for the hormone function, especially Vitamin E, in relation to the pituitary gland and to prevent hot flashes during menopause. The vitamin can also help the conditions associated with menopause like weight gain, heart disease, and depression. 

3. Increasing Dietary Fat Promotes the Production of Steroid Hormones

By increasing dietary fat in your low-carbohydrate diet meal plan, you're providing the raw material for your steroid hormones. To make estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and cortisol for your adrenal glands, you need cholesterol—you need fat. The ketogenic diet for women gives you that. If you are doing a low-fat diet, you are going to starve those hormones. 

4. Decreasing Fat Storing Hormone Decreases the Symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)  

Decreasing Fat Storing Hormone also decreases the symptoms of PCOS. This is a condition where women have too much androgen, which is a male hormone. As a result, they are getting facial hair, deeper voice, gut problems, no more libido, among others. This is due to the high levels of Fat Storing Hormone. If you decrease your Fat Storing Hormone levels, you are going to automatically improve this condition, which also improves your overall hormone profile.

RELATED: How Much Is Too Much Fat On Keto

5. The Keto Diet and IF Support Brain Health 

Young and happy woman eating healthy salad sitting on the table | Keto For Women: How Does Keto Affect Your Hormones | ketogenic diet women

Running your body on ketones, which your brain loves, and doing IF, greatly support the brain. Ketones are neuroprotective. When you do IF, you have these genes that turn on, and your brain starts to go into repair mode. This allows you to grow more brain cells.

Guess what else is in your brain? The main master glands, which are the hypothalamus and pituitary. These are the glands that send the information down to the rest of the body. When you go into the keto high-fat diet and IF, you also improve the autonomic nervous system, which is an added benefit. 

6. The Keto Diet for Women Prevents Pancreatic Stress 

Going on a ketogenic diet for women takes the stress off the pancreas. This allows the pancreas, which is an endocrine gland, to finally come back and work effectively. The pancreas not only regulates blood sugar levels, but it also plays an important role in the digestion process. So, a lot of women who go on a healthy ketogenic lifestyle end up increasing their fertility and libido, too.

Mistakes You Might Be Doing While on Keto and IF

There are things that can happen that can hinder the beneficial effects of nutritional ketosis and IF. For example, if women on keto feel cold, lose their period, do not have a regular menstrual cycle, or their libido goes down, it may mean they are doing IF too fast. So, you have to go about it at a gradual pace. 

You may be decreasing carb intake drastically, too. The female body requires a certain amount of grams of carbs along with fats and protein to sustain healthy levels of women’s hormones. If you don't get carbohydrates, you experience a shift in Fat Storing Hormone metabolism, progesterone, and serotonin. When the shift happens, it can spike up Fat Storing Hormone that can lead to Fat Storing Hormone resistance, and this affects your keto journey and overall health. 

Another thing is the type of keto diet for women you're doing might be unhealthy, which can lead to weight gain. If this is the case, I recommend doing the healthy version of the keto lifestyle to help you lose weight effectively. I have a booklet called Healthy Keto & Intermittent Fasting that can serve as your guide on your low-carb diet and IF.       

Keto Foods You Can Include in Your Diet

A comprehensive list of foods that are healthy and approved by Dr. Berg can be found in our keto diet food list.

Keto, ketogenic diet, low carb, high good fat , healthy food | Keto For Women: How Does Keto Affect Your Hormones | keto diet and hormones

If you are still confused about what to include in your low-carb ketogenic diet, here is a list of foods you can try eating to boost your healthy fat intake with only very few net carbs:

  • Butter and cream

  • Olives

  • Berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries)

  • Nuts and seeds (sesame, pumpkin, chia seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts, pistachios, pecans, macadamia nuts cashews, brazil nuts, and almonds)

  • Olive oil

  • Coconut oil

  • Eggs

  • Meat and poultry

  • Avocados

  • Low-carb, non-starchy vegetables 

  • Seafood (squid, oysters, octopus, mussels, and clams)

Understanding how keto for women works is important to maintaining good health, especially when you reach the menopausal stage. The high-fat, low carb requirement of the diet works wonders on your hormones that keep your body functioning properly. It’s also essential that you pair keto with IF as fasting does a great job in maintaining a good level of blood sugar to keep you away from various health issues. There’s really no better way to stay healthy and lose those extra pounds in your weight loss journey.   

Are you ready to see the keto diet work in your life? Have you also tried other diet for women in the past? Do share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below!

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Disclaimer: Our educational content is not meant or intended for medical advice or treatment.

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