You have probably heard of the keto diet. It’s a low-carb, high-fat diet that has never been more popular than now. Of course, this diet revolves around the switch from burning carbs to burning fat. This fat becomes the ‘fuel’ of our bodies. Instead of using carbs, the body starts burning fat for fuel. Voila, there it is, weight loss process starts and lasts as long as the body is in the state of ketosis. This change of things in the human body isn’t so easy, and many wonder what effects it has, especially when it comes to ladies. To be precise, some are concerned that it causes hormonal imbalance. Is that so? Take a look.
How Carb Reduction Affects the Body
Carbs are important; they have nutrients, important vitamins, fiber, and more. Female bodies need a good amount of carbs as well as fats and protein in order to maintain a healthy hormonal level. Simply put, when women don’t get the carbs they need, a shift in serotonin levels ensues, and there’s also a shift in progesterone and insulin. You can probably tell that all this mumbo jumbo causes stress. Basically, cutting carbs means an increase in cortisol which is the ‘stress’ hormone. That’s why it is important to pause with the workouts while the body adapts. Or at least tone down the intensity of your workouts. The body will adapt to the keto state and everything will go back to normal.
Ketosis and Hormones
Let’s just say that keto does not cause the imbalance! There is this current negative myth that concerns the keto diet and it, basically, states that being in the state of ketosis messes with women’s hormones. Of course, the ketogenic diet is not for everyone, and it can cause various health issues among both men and women. Even though some women experience weakness, weight gain, mood swings, etc. it doesn’t mean that ketosis is the culprit. There is no biological mechanism that would explain how exactly the state of ketosis affects hormones. All evidence of the keto diet causing hormonal balances is anecdotal. Nutrition changes can cause hormonal problems no matter what.
Another point we need to cover here is the HPA gland issue. There is a popular belief that ketosis isn’t good for a lady’s HPA axis. The gland in charge of producing hormones is called the hypothalamus. Many assume that keto diets mess with this gland. Well, according to various studies, the energy balance is controlled by processes outside of the normal hypothalamic pathways. All in all, ketosis functions on the hypothalamus in a different way compared to a non-keto diet, but there is no proof that supports the thesis that this reduces or does anything tangible with the hormonal activity in the HPA axis. We’ve covered some prominent issues and myths that needed to be debunked. The internet is a huge place where one bad piece of information can cause a landslide of criticism that is completely incorrect and undeserved.
The Concerns of Overtraining
We’ve talked about things that do not cause the imbalance. However, have you asked yourself if you are training too much? Maybe that can be the cause of the imbalance? Are you combining really intense workouts with keto? Bear in mind that you are overdoing things if you’re putting in more than 3 HIIT workouts per week while on the keto diet. Overtraining leads to cortisol levels skyrocketing. On top of that, it causes other problems that concern hormones. If you practice hard, combining a keto diet with your workouts might not be a good idea. Take a look at some symptoms of hormonal issues that come as a result of overtraining. You could experience menstrual cycle changes, low mood, weakness, fatigue and thus low energy.
Don’t trust everything you read online. That’s the gist here. Keto diet isn’t for everyone but that doesn’t mean that one should stay away from it. Listen to your body and see if you can handle HIIT workouts with a keto diet. On the other hand, if you’re just following this diet and not training, there is no major reason for fear.
About the Author
Sean L. is fitness and keto addicted; also the managing editor at Dream Keto. He likes everything that is green, from spinach to beautiful nature landscapes. Each day, he gives his best to stay in ketosis and exercise. Sean also enjoys cooking healthy meals, traveling and playing with his German Shepherd.