Keto Diet for Women: The Good and the Ugly

Keto diets are the new definition of healthy living in many forums online and offline. Keto diets are famed for weight loss and other benefits.

However, studies on the benefits of keto diets have not been without a bit of gender imbalance, focusing more on men.

In this post, I’m going to provide an overview of the keto diet for women, the benefits, side effects, and other details you need to know before going low carb.

Keto Diet for Women

What is keto?

Keto refers to ketogenic diets that push the body to produce tiny fuel molecules known as ketones. These molecules are used as the body’s source of energy instead of glucose.

That happens when you eat low-carb diets which have come to be known as keto diets.

The liver is the part of the body tasked with synthesizing ketones from fat. On a keto diet, your body will entirely rely on fat as its primary source of fuel.

Eating fewer carbs leads to low insulin levels prompting the body to burn more fat for energy. This state is known as ketosis.

A state of ketosis is akin to fasting, but in this case, you are surviving on high protein and high-fat diets. Benefits of ketosis span from weight loss to improved brain function and cardiac health.

Keto diets are also helpful for women in the menopause and perimenopause stages. However, hormones get to have a big say on how effective this diet works in women.

To find out more about the Keto Diet check out my article The Ketogenic Diet – The ultimate beginners’ guide to Keto.

If you’re looking for a keto diet program check out the 28-day keto challenge and the 3-week keto diet. Both of these provide you with meal plans which will help you out.


The Benefits of Keto Diet

1. Weight Loss

It is almost guaranteed. As you eat fewer carbs and as your body burns fats you are bound to witness significant results in weight loss.

However, scientists have for a long time spotted differences in the efficiency of a keto diet on weight loss between the sexes.

Recently, a new study showed that estrogen might prevent young women from losing weight using the keto diet.

When concluding the study, the researchers removed ovaries from the lab rats. That caused the female mice to experience the same weight loss as seen in male mice.

It is, therefore, safe to say that when it comes to weight loss, post-menopausal women can benefit more from keto diets than young women.

Weight Loss

2. Reduces Acne

Hormones are the most significant cause of acne in women. Particularly, androgen changes in adolescent girls and estrogen fluctuations during the menstrual cycle can trigger acne lesions.

High blood sugar levels tend to spur on the acne breakout. A keto diet, on the other hand, reduces many cases of acne.

3. Help to Reduce Cancer

Recent studies show that keto diets can help in the treatment of cancers when used in combination with chemotherapy. Ketosis causes oxidative stress on cancer cells, inhibiting their growth.

Ketosis also creates a hormonal balance in our bodies, helping to reduce ovarian cancers and other cancers related to the endocrine system.

4. Improves Cardiac Health

Studies show that a woman is more likely to suffer from heart complications than a man. Keto diets are a lifeline in this case. Keto diets promote heart health because they decrease bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase good cholesterol (HDL).

5. Reduces PCOS

This Syndrome affects many women of childbearing age. The condition often causes ovaries to enlarge with cysts. The result is a disrupted menstrual cycle with periods lasting longer or not happening at all.

Studies show that a keto diet can help to reduce PCOS.

6. Reduces Cravings

Uncontrolled cravings are usually the reason why many women find it hard to lose weight. The cause of the craving is likely due to upset insulin levels.

When on a standard diet, your insulin levels climb and drop rapidly. During the lows, your body longs for sweet things to get the insulin level back up.

When you satisfy the craving, the cycle starts again. A keto diet is consistently low carbs, helping to stabilize insulin levels and therefore makes cravings a thing of the past.

7. Calms a Ravaging Appetite

A keto diet made of proteins, fats, and vitamins can help you stay satisfied for longer. If you are suffering from uncontrollable hunger, ketogenic diets could be what you need.

The body gets used to using fat for fuel making it easy to vanquish hunger pangs.

8. Improves Sleep and Mental Health

Studies show that a keto diet directly affects the brain. The keto diet could have neuroprotective advantages.

That means that you get to stay free from sleep disorders and mental conditions such as Alzheimer’s. Keto diets also improve cognitive performance.

Health Tips

Side Effects of Keto Diets

To reap all the advantages listed above, you will need to stick to a low-carb diet for a long time. It might take a week for your body to get into the ketosis state when you first start.

However, because of the nutritional limitations of the diet you are likely to experience dizziness, stomach discomfort, fatigue, and bad breath among other side effects.

1. The Keto Flu

Most people start feeling sick when they go on a keto diet. This keto flu as it is called is asymptomatic with lethargy, exhaustion, and gastrointestinal distress.

However, this flu often passes in a few days. The keto flu is a sign that your body is learning to burn fat for energy when your glucose levels are low.

The transition will make you feel tired for a couple of days. You can minimize the severity of the keto flu by staying hydrated and getting enough sleep.

2. Keto Diarrhea

Diarrhea is also a side effect of keto diets. Scientists speculate that an overwhelmed gall bladder causes keto diarrhea.

This organ is responsible for producing bile to help in the digestion of fat. The other cause is low fiber in the diet.

Reducing your intake of foods like whole-grain bread or pasta reduces the number of fibers your body gets. For that reason, it is recommended to eat plenty of vegetables when on the keto diet.

3. Reduces Physical Activity

For a healthy life, you need a regular workout routine like a morning run or spending some evenings at the gym.

However, jumping aboard the keto bandwagon can significantly reduce your performance. During ketosis, your body gets into an acidic state which reduces its ability for peak performance.

You may have to take the first week off from training.

If not careful, reduced physical activity can lead to weight gain.

4. Ketoacidosis

All people with diabetes need a doctor’s guidance and approval before starting a keto diet. This is because the food directly affects blood sugar and glucose levels.

In people with diabetes, keto diets can lead to ketoacidosis, a condition that involves the body storing too many ketones.

It damages the kidneys, liver, and brain. Signs of ketoacidosis include frequent urination, bad breath, nausea, dry mouth, and breathing difficulties.

5. Weight-Regain

As mentioned before, the low physical activity caused by ketosis can lead to weight regain. Some Doctors advise that keto diets should not be long-term, there will always be mixed opinions.

You need steady foods in between every few weeks of keto diets. Most people often regain the weight they lost when they start eating carbs.

6. Bad Breath

Bad breath is another side effect of low-carb diets. The ketosis state means that your body is burning more fat than before.

Fat metabolism often releases byproducts such as acetones, acetoacetate, and beta-hydroxybutyrate. These byproducts are removed from the body through urination or exhalation – they are responsible for bad breath or smelly urine in some cases.

The bad breath has distinct smells depending on the number of byproducts your body produces in ketosis.

The smell of the breath is very dissimilar to what you will experience in a healthy diet. Foul breath can be a bummer for keto divas.

The other cause of bad breath whenever you switch to a keto diet is the increased protein metabolism. The metabolism of proteins often produces ammonia.

The increase in protein metabolism means that more ammonia gets produced. That raises the amount of the odor in your urine and breath as well.

I wrote an article what is keto breath? Causes and solutions.

Keto Diet Affect Your Menstrual Cycle

7. Can Affect Your Periods

Most women get irregular periods when they try the keto diet. Some other women report that their periods disappear when they start keto.

This side effect is a significant cause for alarm. In a recent study, 45 percent of the female participants reported menstrual disruption when on keto diets.

Even as you enjoy keto advantages such as weight loss and improved cardiac health, for instance, cycle irregularities can mess up with your reproductive health.

Changes in the menstrual cycle, scientists have found, are directly related to weight loss. For a regular period, one needs to have a sufficient release of hormones.

Weight loss is a stressor that affects hormone release, therefore, leading to irregular periods. The important hormone here is estrogen, which regulates the menstrual cycle.

An increase in weight loss leads to a decrease in estrogen levels. I wrote an article does the keto diet affect your menstrual cycle.


There is no denying the immense health benefits you get when you adopt a keto diet once in a while. These include weight loss, better cardiac health, reduced cases of acne, reduced cravings, and the possibility of preventing cancer.

Nonetheless, keto diets also have side effects that can be nasty. These include the keto flu, bad breath, and irregular periods.

It is advisable to proceed with moderation when it comes to keto diets. The diet needs to include plenty of vegetables and fruits.

Lactating mothers and those with conditions such as diabetes need a doctor’s guidance and approval before adopting a keto diet.

A lot of women fid the keto diet one famous woman is Jeanna Jameson. Why don’t you check out my article Jenna Jameson keto diet Plan?

If you’re looking for a keto diet program check out the 28-day keto challenge and the 3-week keto diet. Both of these provide you with meal plans which will help you out.

References Used in This Article

  1. Long-term effects of a ketogenic diet in obese patients.
  2. Glycogen serves as an energy source that maintains astrocyte cell proliferation in the neonatal telencephalon.
  3. Anti-oxidant and anti-Inflammatory activity of ketogenic diet: New perspectives for neuroprotection in Alzheimer’s disease.
  4. Ketogenic diet in cancer therapy.
  5. History of the ketogenic diet.
  6. Beyond weight loss: a review of the therapeutic uses of very-low-carbohydrate (ketogenic) diets.
  7. Novel ketone diet enhances physical and cognitive performance.
  8. Ketosis and appetite-mediating nutrients and hormones after weight loss.
  9. Fat intake is associated with serum estrogen and androgen concentrations in postmenopausal Japanese women.
  10. Alteration of insulin sensitivity by sex hormones during the menstrual cycle.
  11. The effect of low carbohydrate diets on fertility hormones and outcomes in overweight and Obese Women: A systematic review.
  12. Mechanisms of action for the medium-chain triglyceride ketogenic diet in neurological and metabolic disorders.
  13. The effects of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet on the polycystic ovary syndrome: A pilot study.
  14. Luteal-phase estradiol relates to symptom severity in patients with premenstrual syndrome.
  15. Weight loss and menstrual cycle: a clinical and endocrinological evaluation.

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