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Keto Period Cramps

For Ladies Only: A Keto Guide

For Ladies Only: A Keto Guide

Shark week. Checking into the Red Roof Inn. Surfing the Crimson Wave. Getting a visit from Aunt Flo. The Red Badge of Courage. That time of the month. Whatever euphemism you use for it, women inevitably have to deal with menstruation and all the weird junk that goes along with it. We here at Ketovangelist get a lot of questions about keto and periods. A. Lot. So, at the behest of our coaches- and after much whining on my part- I’ve put together this little “what to expect” guide for women to help a sister out when it gets down to the issue of menstruating. You’re welcome. One thing to keep in mind: Your period is still your period. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a zillion times: keto is not magic. and it isn’t the cause of everything that will happen to you after you start eating this way. For the most part, your period is going to be your normal period while you’re keto. You might have cravings, you might cramp, you might be light or heavy, or early or late. All the same stuff you dealt with during menstruation pre-keto you will probably continue to deal with now that you’ve changed your food lifestyle. That being said, there are a few issues we do see pop up from time to time and I will address them, in no particular order: If you’re hungry, eat A direct quote, if I may, from our lovely coach, Mary Roberts: “Hormone hunger is real hunger.” And she’s right. Right after ovulation the body ramps up production of estrogen and progesterone, both of which can cause your body to feel hunger. The bottom line is that, as we all should know, our menstrual time is a stretch of a few days where hormones are screwy. We might be tired, we might be cranky, and we will probably be hungry. All of that is perfectly normal and you are not expected to sit an Continue reading >>

Females, Carbohydrates, And Hormones

Females, Carbohydrates, And Hormones

Oh, carbohydrates. Just like politics and religion, discussion on this macronutrient is not dinner table material. There are many strong opinions on just how many carbohydrates are “safe” to consume. Some advocate “high” carb, others prescribe a “moderate” amount, others “low” or even “very low”. And to mystify things further, what’s considered a low amount of carbohydrates to some, may be considered too high for others. Even the scientific literature doesn’t seem to agree on a common definition. See how it can get confusing? The purpose of this post isn’t to tell you which way is better. In fact, that is a decision you may never make. What works for some people, won’t work for others. What works for you now, may not work for you next week. If something is working for you, great! Right now, I want to explore one piece on the topic of carbohydrates that isn’t discussed often in this community. I bring up this topic because I personally struggled with finding the “right” amount of carbohydrates for my body. I want to make sure others don’t have to go through what I did. In the past, I’ve done damage to myself by going too low (almost on accident) and I want to stop you before it’s too late. If you’re in the same boat as I was, I’m hoping this will be an aha! moment for you. When I first started with my Paleo lifestyle, I realized just how amazing I felt going lower carb (probably in the range of 100 grams a day). The problem was, I was also doing high intensity workouts (kickboxing, interval training) multiple times per week. At first, I felt great. I was recovering like a champ, my sleep was perfect, I had a very stable, positive mood, and even though I knew I would probably benefit from more carbohydrates, I stubbornly went on Continue reading >>

Argg...my Period Is Much Worse On Paleo

Argg...my Period Is Much Worse On Paleo

I've been paleo/whole30 compliant since the first week of May of this year. Can anyone tell me why my period has been longer, heavier flow, worse cramps, severe breakouts, worse bloating, worse headaches - basically every common menstrual side effect has been made exponentially worse since being paleo and I have now had my period twice since starting. I have been eating HF/LC, a very wide variety of types of meats and veggies, staying hydrated... Any idea of why my body is reacting this way? I have had no other negative side effects and feel better than I ever have in my life and lost over 20 lbs (even went out and bought 2 new pairs of smaller jeans today). Any suggestions on how to combat this? Continue reading >>

Do Very Low-carb Diets Mess Up Some Women's Hormones?

Do Very Low-carb Diets Mess Up Some Women's Hormones?

Studies show that low-carb diets can cause weight loss and improve metabolic health (1). However, even though low-carb diets are great for some people, they may cause problems for others. For example, following a very low-carb diet for a long time may disrupt hormones in some women. This article explores how low-carb diets may affect women's hormones. Your hormones are regulated by three major glands: Hypothalamus: located in the brain Pituitary: located in the brain Adrenals: located at the top of the kidneys All three glands interact in complex ways to keep your hormones in balance. This is known as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. The HPA axis is responsible for regulating your stress levels, mood, emotions, digestion, immune system, sex drive, metabolism, energy levels and more. The glands are sensitive to things like calorie intake, stress and exercise levels. Long-term stress can cause you to overproduce the hormones cortisol and norepinephrine, creating an imbalance that increases pressure on the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal glands (2). This ongoing pressure may eventually lead to HPA axis dysfunction, sometimes controversially referred to as "adrenal fatigue" (3). Symptoms include fatigue, a weakened immune system and greater risk of long-term health problems such as hypothyroidism, inflammation, diabetes and mood disorders. Many sources suggest that a diet too low in calories or carbs can also act as a stressor, causing HPA dysfunction. In addition, some evidence suggests that low-carb diets can cause increased production of cortisol ("the stress hormone"), making the problem worse (4). One study found that, regardless of weight loss, a low-carb diet increased cortisol levels compared to a moderate-fat, moderate-carb diet (5). Eating too fe Continue reading >>

Low-carb Side Effects & How To Cure Them

Low-carb Side Effects & How To Cure Them

Are you struggling while starting out on a low-carb or keto diet? Do you get headaches, leg cramps, constipation or any of the other more common side effects? Use the information on this page to avoid them – and feel great while losing weight. The main solution to most common problems when starting low carb is to increase the intake of water and salt. It’s even better to do it preventatively during the first week. If you do, you’ll most likely not experience any of these problems, or they’ll only be minor. Use one of the shortcuts below for specific problems – or just continue reading for all of them. Top 6 common problems when starting Less common issues on low carb Low-carb myths Leg cramps Leg cramps are not uncommon when starting a strict low-carb diet. It’s usually a minor issue if it occurs, but it can sometimes be painful. It’s a side effect of the loss of minerals, specifically magnesium, due to increased urination. Here’s how to avoid it: Drink plenty of fluid and get enough salt. This may reduce loss of magnesium and help prevent leg cramps. If needed, supplement with magnesium. Here’s a suggested dosage from the book The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living by Drs. Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney: Take 3 slow-release magnesium tablets like Slow-Mag or Mag 64 a day for 20 days, then continue taking 1 tablet a day afterwards. If the steps above are not enough and the problem is bothersome, consider increasing your carb intake somewhat. This should eliminate the problem. The more carbs you eat though, the weaker the impact of the low-carb diet. Bad breath On a strict low-carb diet some people experience a characteristic smell from their breath, a fruity smell that often remind people of nail polish remover. The smell is from acetone, a ket Continue reading >>

Symptoms Of Ketosis:

Symptoms Of Ketosis:

If you are considering the ketogenic diet or have already started down this carb-free road, you may wonder what you can expect. Here’s the thing. Ketosis looks different for everyone, but I will share many of the most common symptoms with you today. If something other than what’s listed here is happening to you, just do a quick Google search for that symptom and keto. You should be able to find what you’re looking for! The Early Signs: The early signs of ketosis vary from person to person. The biggest impact on how quickly you notice the symptoms of ketosis will have a lot to do with how you ate before you started the diet. If your diet was very high carb, you might get hit pretty quickly and furiously with what we like to call the “Keto Flu.” This can last anywhere from 3 days to a week or more. Once your body has adapted to burning ketones for energy instead of glucose, you’ll be golden so don’t give up! Here’s what you can expect within the first 2-3 days of starting the Ketogenic Diet: Fatigue & Weakness (lack of concentration) Headaches Metallic taste or sweet taste in your mouth (I experienced this, and it tasted like blood in my mouth) Lightheaded / Dizzy upon standing Heightened Thirst Hunger / Sweet or Carb Cravings Dry Mouth possibly paired with “Keto Breath.” Stomach Discomfort / Mild Nausea / Cramping Trouble Sleeping or Staying Asleep (early waking) Water weight loss (perhaps an excessive loss of weight within the first two weeks) Frequent Urination Allergies or cold like symptoms may flair up For the ladies: Period issues: You may experience a longer, shorter, earlier, later period because of Keto. Seriously it causes all of that. Each woman is different, and I have experienced every one of those issues with my period since starting ket Continue reading >>

Common Ketosis Side Effects And Treatments

Common Ketosis Side Effects And Treatments

There are many awesome benefits with come with adopting a low-carb ketogenic diet, such as weight loss, decreased cravings, and even possibly reduce diseases risks. That being said, it’s also good to talk about possible ketosis side effects so you know fully what to expect as you start this new health journey. Not everyone experiences side effects when starting a ketogenic diet, and thankfully, those who do don’t usually experience them for very long. It varies with the individual, but just to make sure all your bases are covered, we’re going to breaking down each possible side effect and go over ways to manage and alleviate them if needed. KETOSIS SIDE EFFECT 1 – Frequent Urination As your body burns through the stored glucose in your liver and muscles within the first day or two of starting a ketogenic diet, you’ll be releasing a lot of water in the process. Plus, your kidneys will start excreting excess sodium as the levels of your circulating insulin drop. Basically, you might notice yourself needing to pee more often throughout the day. But no worries; this side effect of ketosis takes care of itself once your body adjusts and is no longer burning through the extra glycogen. KETOSIS SIDE EFFECT 2 – Dizziness and Drowsiness As the body is getting rid of this excess water, it will also be eliminating minerals like potassium, magnesium, and sodium too. This can make you feel dizzy, lightheaded, and fatigued. Thankfully, this is also very avoidable; all it takes is a little preparation beforehand. Focus on eating foods that are rich in potassium, such as: Leafy greens (aim for at least two cups each day!) Broccoli Dairy Meat, poultry, and fish Avocados Add salt to your foods or use salty broth when cooking too. You can also dissolve about a teaspoon of regu Continue reading >>

16 Ways Keto For Women Is Different + Doesn’t Need To Suck

16 Ways Keto For Women Is Different + Doesn’t Need To Suck

As a female, we have to tinker the keto diet a little more than our male keto-ers do. For example, during shark week I can’t eat meat or I’ll end up on the couch in agony, with a heating pad, wanting to tear my ovaries out. So, I have to opt for things that are more easily digestible to my puffy, unhappy insides. Keto for women is just different. For one week every month we have brain-consuming cravings, we weigh more, have a hard time digesting, we get headaches and cramps and dammit we just want a blanket, some chocolate and a tub of icecream. end OK, but you get it. We also have other things to think about, like vaginas and boobies. For these two special things, we need to make some alterations too. You can’t just cut out some things. How to make keto for women easier and less grouchy Here are some tips I’ve cooked up over the past year that I’ve been told have been really helpful, enjoy! Eat yogurt. The diet says no, but I SAY YES. Men don’t need to care about the Lactobacillus acidophilus in yogurt, but a good healthy vagina does! Dannon makes a Light & Fit “Diabetic Friendly” vanilla yogurt that’s only 3 carbs per cup. Take cranberry supplements. Additionally, we need cranberry to ward away pesky urinary tract infections if we ever plan on forgetting to pee after sex again. So, take a cranberry supplement every day, and accept the carbs that come with it. Prepare for the lady in red. When the red devil is in town and you “need” sweets, opt for a handful of dark chocolate chocolate chips. The gourmet ones, real dark chocolate ones have the least carbs. The Milk Chocolate Almond Bars from Meleleuca only have 7 carbs for the entire bar, 9 for the DHA-enhanced dark chocolate ones which is also awesome. Remember that meats take more Continue reading >>

Ketosis And Menstrual Function: A Canary In The Mine?

Ketosis And Menstrual Function: A Canary In The Mine?

In the 1920’s, researchers at the Mayo Clinic used a ketogenic diet to treat adults with ideopathic epilepsy. In 1930, Dr. Clifford Barborka published a paper detailing their findings with their first 100 patients. Among other findings, Barborka notes that 20% of the women involved in the study experienced complete cessation of menstruation during treatment, which didn’t return until a normal diet was resumed. He only reported on menstrual cessation, but given more contemporary research on the subject we can reasonably speculate that many more women experienced menstrual irregularities that stopped short of complete cessation. Subjects were eating appropriate calories to maintain their weight, so weight loss was not a confounder here. He speculates that it may have been related to a vitamin B or E deficiency, but has no clear explanation. (Note that this was many decades before the discovery of Leptin and it’s role in hormonal regulation.) In 2003, researchers published their retrospective study of 45 adolescents aged 12-19 treated for epilpsy with a ketogenic diet over 8 years. They noted that 45% of the girls involved in the study reported menstrual irregularities, most (2/3) of whom experienced complete cessation of menstruation (the other 1/3 were reported as experiencing delayed puberty or menstrual irregularity). Most resumed menstruation after ending the diet. 2 were treated with hormone therapy to induce and regulate menstruation. A majority of the girls did not lose weight on the diet, so again, weight loss was not a confounder in most cases. Researchers speculated that: “The diet may mimic the menstrual side effects seen in starvation and certain female athletes.” In 1999, a group of researchers published a review of a small group (9 women, 2 men) of Continue reading >>

The Keto Diet Podcast Ep. #042: Optimizing Your Menstrual Cycle On Keto

The Keto Diet Podcast Ep. #042: Optimizing Your Menstrual Cycle On Keto

Interview with Alisa Vitti, a functional nutritionist, women’s hormone expert, best-selling author and founder of floliving.com, chatting about how to adjust the ketogenic diet to compliment your menstrual cycle, heal your hormones, and boost energy and vitality… every day. For podcast transcript, scroll down. SHOW NOTES + LINKS TIMESTAMPS Fats that cause PMS (14:34) FREE hormone testing from the comfort of your home (33:43) Eating to support your cycle (50:56) PARTNERS OF THE KETO DIET PODCAST 100% grass-fed & finished FERMENTED beef sticks with 1 billion naturally-occurring, gut-healing probiotics! Go to Paleovalley.com for 20% off. The podcast is partnered with Wolfe Clinic Royal Flora, my choice in soil-based probiotics. Get 20% off your soil-based probiotics with the coupon code GUT at checkout. Use the coupon code HEALTHFUL all in caps, no spaces, for 15% off your first Perfect Keto order at perfectketo.com/hp. Once you’ve loaded up your cart, use HEALTHFUL for 15% off your first order. Again that’s HEALTHFUL at perfectketo.com/hp for 15% off your first order. TRANSCRIPT FOR THIS EPISODE Leanne Vogel: You’re listening to Episode Number 42 of the Keto Diet Podcast. Today, we’re chatting about fats that cause PMS, free hormone testing from the comfort of your own home, and eating to support your cycle. So, stayed tuned. Hey, I’m Leanne from HealthfulPursuit.com, and this is the Keto Diet Podcast, where we’re busting through the restrictive mentality of a traditional ketogenic diet to uncover the life you crave. What’s keto? Keto is a low-carb, high-fat diet where we’re switching from a sugar-burning state to becoming fat-burning machines. All listeners of the podcast receive a free seven-day keto meal plan complete with a shopping list and everyt Continue reading >>

First Week: Top 3 Keto Conundrums

First Week: Top 3 Keto Conundrums

The low carb lifestyle is known to sculpt some serious fat off your body. Many followers of the keto diet experience rapid weight loss, low hunger levels, and good energy levels. Since you cut out most of the high sugar foods, controlling your calories becomes a breeze. Sounds like an easy plan to success, right? Those who joined the ketogenic army can attest that the early weight loss comes with a toll. The first week of low carb living can be daunting, both mentally and physically. As your brain and body are adapting to a life without glucose, you may become outright miserable. Don’t go shoving cake down your neck just yet – the misery passes. To have an idea what you’ll go through, check out these common side effects that most go through when switching to a keto diet. Usually they only last for the first few days to a week, but preparing yourself for what might come will always help. Mental and Physical Fogginess The first major sign – coming 2 or 3 days into your ketogenic transition – will be the fogginess. You’re brain likes to take it easy and it if had a choice, would run on only glucose. As your body is switching from glucose to ketones as its main source of energy, your body will continue to burn the last stores of glycogen. This results in a foggy haze that might make it hard to concentrate. You might find yourself staring into space or feeling lethargic, but have no fear – it will pass. Headaches might pound at your door, nausea can pit in your stomach, muscle cramps can ruin your day and irritability can spark arguments, but knowing this can help you plan. Switch your diet in the middle of the week, so you will have the weekend to fully rest and recover from your transition. What we suggest is to go super low carb for the first week, which mea Continue reading >>

Low Carb Diets And Endometriosis

Low Carb Diets And Endometriosis

This post was half inspired by another instagram question, and half by my own life experience. The other day, another lovely girl inquired about low carb diets and endometriosis, and if I have any experience with this. Fun story – I do. The TL;DR is that a low carb diet is the way to go here. But, I’ll explain below with the actual details… Most of the articles I’ve found online about endometriosis and diet link the type of diet that is correlated with the existence of endometriosis. Well, that doesn’t help us at all. If you’ve already got endometriosis, you don’t need to know what kind of diet or lifestyle is related to maybe not getting the condition. Even then, if you want to follow that advice to see if a statistically and theoretically preventative diet will help you manage symptoms, the articles tend to focus on things NOT to eat – don’t consume meat, or dairy, or alcohol. Okay, cool. So, we’re left with a dearth of articles actually focusing on what to eat if you have endometriosis. So, let’s get into it. Spoiler – low carb diets and endometriosis were meant to be. What is endometriosis? Just in case you aren’t wholly familiar with this situation, let’s take a look: endometriosis is a condition where the tissue that lines your uterus (the endometrium), grows outside of your uterus. It’s commonly considered to be an auto-immune condition. It’s also important to note that this is the tissue that grows that nice little blood cushion, egg bed every month. So, that same little cushiony egg bed that was totally fine inside of your uterus, now grows outside of it, too. This contributes to symptoms like lower back pain, severe cramping, heavy periods, fertility issues, often painful bowel movements or IBS, and period pain that is so bad yo Continue reading >>

When Not To Be On A Ketogenic Diet

When Not To Be On A Ketogenic Diet

When Not To Be on a Ketogenic Diet A ketogenic diet is a very low carbohydrate, moderate protein and high fat based nutrition plan. A ketogenic diet trains the individual’s metabolism to run off of fatty acids or ketone bodies. This is called fat adapted or keto adapted, when the body has adapted to run off of fatty acids/ketones at rest. This nutrition plan has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation. It also improves cellular healing and mitochondrial biogenesis which supports stronger and healthier cells. All of this leads to reduced risk of chronic disease as well as improved muscle development and fat metabolism (1, 2). Where Ketosis Can Be Extremely Beneficial There are certain cases, where I typically recommend a ketogenic diet as the research appears to support that ketosis significantly improves the functionality of these individuals. Overweight or Obese Neurodegenerative Conditions such as dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Most Cancers but especially those of the brain, nervous system and blood (leukemia) Chronic Pain Seizure Disorders Non-Elite athletes or individuals looking for higher mental & physical performance The final one is the area that I and many others who have pursued a state of ketosis fall into. At this point in my life, I have no chronic diseases, I feel great 99% of the time, but I am always looking to improve my productivity and performance. I have found being in mild-ketosis to be one of the best ways to improve my energy, mental acuity, creativity, physical strength and overall life performance. There is no one diet that works perfectly for everyone. Ketosis has the potential to benefit everyone, but under unique circumstances it would not be warranted. Here are a list of special cases where long-term st Continue reading >>

Low-carb Diet And The Menstrual Cycle

Low-carb Diet And The Menstrual Cycle

While there's no evidence that a low-carb diet can help you better manage your menstrual cycle, as a diet rich in whole foods, it's a source of nutrients that may help with cramps and bloating. The low-carb diet is also low in sodium, which may help with premenstrual bloating. If you're considering limits on your carb intake and you need some guidance, consult a registered dietitian. Video of the Day Low-Carb Dieting for Women A low-carb diet is more than just skipping bread and potatoes. It limits your total carb intake to 50 to 150 grams a day because you eat mostly no- and low-carb protein foods and veggies. And some plans start you off on even fewer carbs -- 20 to 50 grams a day -- to get you into ketosis, which is when your body is forced to burn fat for energy due to a lack of glucose from your limited carb intake. The low-carb diet not only helps your body burn fat but also seems to help keep a lid on hunger, making it easier for you to follow the plan to lose weight. A 2007 study published in JAMA found that a low-carb diet was more effective at helping premenopausal women lose weight than other popular weight-loss plans, including the Zone and the Ornish diets. This study also found that the low-carb diet improved blood sugar and blood lipid levels in the women. Manage Symptoms With Nutrients From Whole Foods While no particular diet is recommended for women to help them better manage their menstrual cycles, there are nutrients that help alleviate symptoms such as bloating and cramps. Omega-3 fats, for example, found in carb-free salmon and tuna and low-carb walnuts and flaxseeds, help reduce the production of prostaglandins, according to Columbia University. These hormones are linked to cramping and pain during menstruation. With food choices such as chicken, Continue reading >>

Does A Ketogenic Diet Affect Women’s Hormones?

Does A Ketogenic Diet Affect Women’s Hormones?

Does a ketogenic diet affect women’s hormones? Yes—you can count on your nutrition to affect your hormones. Does it ruin or destroy your hormones? No. The unfortunate part is that if women rely on hearsay and don’t source better information about ketosis and their hormones, they lose out on the benefits of ketosis, especially those who suffer from PCOS, endometriosis, and uterine fibroids. Women with these conditions can benefit significantly from the ketogenic diet. [1] In this post we’ll discuss the ketogenic diet’s impact on your thyroid and the HPA axis, then look at ways to evaluate your hormones, how you feel, and what adjustments to make. The Ketogenic Diet and Your Thyroid Is ketosis bad for your thyroid? No. Let’s break it down: It’s true that low-carb diets (like the ketogenic diet) and calorie restriction lowers T3, the thyroid marker hormone. [3] [4] T3 make your cells use more energy. Because of its function, scientists have hypothesized that “a reduction in T3 hormone may increase lifespan by conserving energy and reducing free-radical production.” [4] Together with T4, these hormones regulate your metabolism, heart rate and body temperature. Most of T3 binds to protein and some free T3 circulates in your blood. But a lowered T3 doesn’t mean you get thyroid dysfunction or hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is often a case of high levels of TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) and low levels of free T4. The pituitary gland tries to get your thyroid gland to produce T4: high levels of TSH. But the thyroid isn’t responding: low levels of T4. When T3 is reduced, the thyroid is called “euthyroid.” A normal thyroid. For a more in-depth look at what a low-carb diet does to T3, T4 and TSH levels, read Dr. Anthony’s article on ketosis and women Continue reading >>

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