Women with PCOS often ask this one question, whether a diet change can help reverse their condition. Yes, various factors contribute to the reversal of your PCOS, but diet plays a major role. Women with PCOS can also suffer from type 2 diabetes, caused by insulin resistance, where their body doesn’t respond appropriately to the hormone insulin, which helps to regulate blood sugar levels and fat storage. The Keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet which is why it is often chosen as a go-to diet for improving insulin resistance for people with type 2 diabetes, it may also provide some benefits for people with PCOS.
What Is the Keto Diet?
Keto or “Ketogenic” is a term for a low-carb diet. The idea behind this dietary approach is for you to get more calories from protein and fat and less from carbohydrates. It requires you to cut back on certain carbs like sugar, soda, pastries and white bread. After 3 to 4 days of cutting down on your carbs, your body will start to break down protein and fat for energy, which can make you lose weight. This is called ketosis. Remember that the keto diet is a short-term diet that focuses on weight loss for certain health conditions and less on the pursuit of health benefits. What most people do not know is that the ketogenic diet can not only help with weight loss, but it can help manage certain medical conditions, like epilepsy, too. It also may help people with heart disease, certain brain diseases and even acne, but there needs to be more research in those areas. Talk with your doctor first to find out if it’s safe for you to try a ketogenic diet, especially if you have type 1 diabetes.
Potential Benefits of the Keto Diet for PCOS
As mentioned before the primary benefit and purpose of the ketogenic diet is to make you lose weight rapidly. Restricting carbohydrates from your diet for days helps your body go through ketosis and leads to both a significant reduction in body fat and an increase or retention of muscle mass. Various research has shown that ketogenic diets can achieve high weight loss over an extended period.
Blood Glucose Control
Another huge symptom of PCOS that can be controlled through a keto diet is the imbalance in your blood glucose levels. This diet can lower and stabilize your blood sugar levels because you cut off carbohydrates, this is the nutrient that causes a rise in your blood sugar the most. PCOS women with other types of diabetes, such as type 1 diabetes and LADA, can also experience drastic reductions in blood sugar levels and an improvement in control. If this improvement in your blood glucose control is long-term, it can reduce the risk of complications occurring. It is important that anyone who is on insulin, or at risk of having diabetes and is considering going for the keto diet, speak with a nutritionist first.
High Blood Pressure Control
PCOS warriors often have to keep an eye on their blood pressure, as high blood pressure tends to come with this condition. High blood pressure can also lead to a range of health conditions such as heart disease, kidney problems and stroke. Various studies have shown that a ketogenic diet can decrease blood pressure levels in women with PCOS who are overweight or have type 2 diabetes.
The sugar in your body is only used by your body as fuel with the help of the hormone called insulin. Keto diets help you to burn through this fuel quickly, so you don’t need to store it, thus leading to your body needing less insulin. When these insulin levels go down your body becomes eligible to give you protection from some kinds of cancer or even slow the growth of cancer cells.
As mentioned a keto diet drops insulin levels in your body and that can also help stop acne breakouts. But there are some debates regarding this benefit since there is a lack of enough studies and research.
Even though the ketogenic diet is fat and protein-based, surprisingly it can rain good cholesterol in your body and reduce bad cholesterol. With a rise in good cholesterol in your body you are less likely to have high blood pressure, hardened arteries, heart failure and other heart conditions. It’s unclear, however; how long these effects last.
Things To Consider Before Changing Your Diet
- If it is your first time following a keto diet make sure that you know what foods have mostly carbs, fat and protein, so you can make the right choices. Many people have the misunderstanding that only bread, pasta, chips, cookies, candy and ice cream contain carbs in them. Beans may contain protein, but they’re also very high in carbohydrates. Fruit and veggies also mostly contain carbs. The only foods that don’t contain any or many carbs are meat (protein) and surprisingly pure fats like butter and olive oil.
- Fat is not your enemy at least not all of it is. Various studies suggest that when you replace the saturated fats in your diet with polyunsaturated fats, it lowers your risk of having heart disease. Every single food item that you consume is a bouquet of nutrients, so it is important to discuss this with your health care provider before you discard an item from your diet.
- Another common misconception about the keto diet is that you can consume as much protein as you’d like. But the truth is you have to keep your protein intake moderate, just like your carbs and fat intake. The reason behind protein check is that it can be converted into glucose, and therefore overeating protein can take your body out of ketosis.
- Portion control is a very important aspect of the keto diet, it is a very important aspect of any diet you follow to reverse your PCOS.
Consult a Professional for Personalized Guidance
When your body burns stored fat, it can be hard on your kidneys. And starting a ketogenic diet — or going back to a normal diet afterward — can be tricky if you’re obese because of other health issues you’re likely to have, such as diabetes, a heart condition or high blood pressure. If you have any of these conditions, make diet changes slowly and only with the guidance of your doctor.
Learn More With Veera
At Veera Health, we take your diet very seriously because we know it plays a pivotal role in reversing your PCOS. Our care managers will assess your nutritional needs and inform you whether you need a keto diet or not.