There are a few things you should never ask a woman:
How old are you?
Are you pregnant?
Do you eat carbohydrates?
If you are a woman, what emotions come up when you read this last question?
In some women, carbohydrates are linked to their sense of morality. They feel proud when they restrict their carbohydrates and guilty when they give in to their cravings for carbohydrates. Others, on the other hand, can’t imagine giving up their daily bread, their oatmeal in the morning, fresh fruit or potatoes.
The carbohydrate puzzle
Ever since the Atkins diet first appeared on the scene in 1972 and returned to fashion in 1992, the “low carb” trend has been a staple of the headlines, challenging low-fat wholegrain nutrition.
In recent years, the ketogenic diet from the twenties of the 20th century has become popular again and proponents of this form of nutrition claim that humans were created to use fat as their primary source of energy.
Many are already shying away from the mere thought of a sushi roll with rice or a banana before exercising. A typical ketogenic diet consists of 60-70% fat, 20-30% protein and 10-20% carbohydrates or less.
Even though a low-carbohydrate diet or diet has its critics, scientific research shows that ketogenic dietary forms can have benefits not only for weight loss, but also in:
- Prevention of Alzheimer’s and other diseases of the brain
- Diabetes management
- Increased athletic performance
- Increased metabolic rate
- Heart health
- With all these benefits, a ketogenic diet seems to be the answer to the nutritional form our society is looking for to improve the following:
- Health, brain power and fat-free body mass.
But what are the disadvantages?
The aim of this article is not to judge whether ketogenic diets and dietary forms are good or bad, but instead to take a broader look at their merits and disadvantages for women. So if you’re a woman, then you should read on.
Low carbohydrate for the rest of life?
A low-carbohydrate, ketogenic approach can work for fat loss. If you omit excessive amounts of sugar, which promote water retention and are stored in the form of fat, if you eat too much of it, your body will of course make positive adjustments in the area of body composition and as an added bonus you will Get rid of your cravings. A key factor in success with this system is consistent changes in habits.
As with most of the things in life that you really focus on, you can do it. But if you eliminate an entire food group (carbohydrates), which currently accounts for about 60% of the Western diet, then you will be forced to become consistent in eating in a different and new way.
It’s no secret that eating healthy fats won’t necessarily make you fat. In fact, consuming healthy fats between meals can make you fuller and more satisfied, reducing the roller coaster of blood sugar and insulin prey (also known as the fat storage hormone). In addition, the digestion of fat takes longer, which stimulates metabolism for digestion as part of this process.
But what about a long-term ketogenic diet? Or in phases where the target of fat loss has been achieved? And what if you reach a plateau with your efforts to improve your body composition? And what about long-term health in women?
Where do we find answers to our most burning questions in the field of science, medicine and nutrition? In scientific studies, of course. However, when it comes to studies on a ketogenic diet, the problem is that at least 90% of research studies have been conducted with men.
It is not rocket science that the anatomy and biological structure of the XX-(women) and XY (men) chromosomes like day and night are – completely different. That is why we cannot lead to the benefits that most studies in men show and certainly do not transfer to women. Why not? One word: Hormones.
And that’s where we women might get problems with a long-term ketogenic diet.
The 1 x 1 of hormones
Ladies, your carbohydrate intake could be a missing part of the equation when it comes to maintaining a hormonal balance, supporting your thyroid function, feeling energised, improving your mood, weight Lose fat and more. The many reasons for this include:
Elevated cortisol levels
Low carbohydrate diets and dietary forms have been shown to increase cortisol levels (i.e. levels of your stress hormone). If cortisol levels are elevated, then this completely messes up your other hormones. Unlike men, women have a more sensitive hormonal balance. If cortisol levels reach high levels and our estrogen and testosterone participate in this maturation (rising und/or falling levels), then failing menstrual cycles, infertility, “amok running” PMS, reduced libido, premature menopause, Poor mood, reduced energy, reduced appetite and unexplained weight gain come into play.
Without noticing, people who are convinced to eat ketogenic are actually maintaining a low-carbohydrate diet with moderate amounts of protein and fat. Eating fat freely and in abundance is part of the ketogenic equation and if you simply do not consume enough energy, then your body will move into a state of hunger. While consuming fat with most meals may seem like a strong shift compared to your low-fat dietary approaches from earlier days, you may still not eat enough fat to really “ketogenic” your ketogenic diet – qualify and if you don’t eat enough then your cortisol will do crazy things, which can lead to a hormonal imbalance in many areas.
An essential vitamin that everyone needs when it comes to a healthy, happy relationship with food is vitamin V – vitamin “pleasure.” If you lack pleasure and joy in the food you eat, or you are completely disconnected from your food, then the vitamin V levels drop. If you see another plate of chicken breast, broccoli and coconut oil or salmon, avocado and cabbage as a “chore” (rather than a delicious and nutritious food), then the reduced vitamin V levels impair the following:
Digestion: Instead of chewing the food thoroughly and tasting your food, you just sausage it down, leading to poor breakdown of food.
Internal peace: You are constantly stressed by having to keep your diet or achieving your goals.
Peace with food: Leaping dietary habits or behavioural patterns can occur, which can include occasional frescogies or excessive thinking about food.
It’s no secret our brains affect our bodies – through stress – and when we’re stressed then our hormones take damage.
Your unique approach
So the big question is this: Is the ketogenic approach right for you? Only your body can give you the answer to this question. However, there are some key components to consider before taking a ketogenic approach in the long term:
Understand the short-term benefits
As has already been mentioned, a targeted ketogenic approach may be beneficial for some when it comes to a consistency in fat loss or body fat targets. In addition, such an approach may even help to find a balance, as previously feared healthy fats are incorporated into the diet.
Don’t make the ketogenic approach a matter of morality (good vs. bad)
This nutritional mentality will make you fail in the long run as it decouples you from how your body really feels and what it needs and instead lets your dietary choices be based more on what your mind tells you.
Make sure you really keep a ketogenic diet
This means that about 60 to 70% of your diet consists of healthy fats and that you eat enough (please no unintentional dieting).
Enjoy your food
The world is still at your feet with options for healthy and delicious foods that fit your ketogenic approach. Buy your food thoroughly and start digestion while eating.
Find your individual balance
Just as you need a balanced balance of hormones, your body needs a balanced diet. And every body is different when it comes to what that balance looks like. It may well be that some women find out for themselves that they need more carbohydrates. While others will find they don’t need as many.
Here are a few “barometers” to help you determine if the ketogenic diet is right for you …
You probably need more carbohydrates if:
- Your period will not be
- You struggle with getting pregnant
- You have low thyroid function
- You suffer from adrenal exhaustion
- You are pregnant or breastfeeding
- You try to build healthy fat-free muscles
- You don’t feel energised
- You often think longingly of foods you lack
- You find it hard to eat so much fat
You probably need less carbohydrates and more fat if:
- You have a hyperactive thyroid gland
- You have been trying to lose weight or body fat unsuccessfully for some time or with only minor successes
- You have a veritable feeling
- You suffer from a fungal infestation or bacterial infection
- You don’t fear eating fat
- You run against a wall after the “carbohydrate shop” at your workouts
- You constantly have cravings on sweets and caffeine
There is no “universal” approach to nutrition that suits everyone! But if you’re a woman, then it might well be that a long-term ketogenic diet isn’t optimal. So some sweet potatoes, some rice or some fruit won’t hurt you. At the end of the day, life is all about the right balance – food, hormones, reason and everything in between.