Why is Keto Not Working for Me?
TOP 3 things you need to know about Women and Keto and Why Is Keto Not Working For Me!
I will be the first to tell you that I LOVE the keto diet for myself and many of my clients. Here are a few of the benefits that I personally experience:
- Less food prep, when you cut out the entire macro category of carbohydrates there is just less food to worry with.
- Fats are easy to find and fill in to hit your desired numbers
- Energy levels, once past the initial energy drop where the body shifts from using carbs (glucose) to using fats (ketones) as its primary energy source.
- Zero hunger. For many folks trying to lose weight, hunger is something they battle from sun up to sundown. This depends on how insulin sensitive the individual is to the release of insulin. This can be daunting for most people, it's difficult to deal with hunger and cravings because of this the diet results never last long term. It's rare that a human can adapt to the feeling of constant hunger. The Keto diet quiets down insulin since you're ingesting very few carbs. Fats also take approximately 9 hours to fully digest, leaving you feeling much more satiated.
- Increased brain function. This was my favorite benefit of the Keto diet. Healthy fats and increased amounts of Omega 3 are brain fuel to the max.... you will notice serious brainpower on keto. Emerging research even shows Keto protecting the brain from Dementia and Early Alzheimer's
If your reasons for utilizing Keto are for any of the above benefits then rock on and continue what you're doing. The list above is powerful enough to hop on board.
However, with all of these benefits, there is a group of people that Keto just doesn't work for in the weight loss category.
Let's talk about a few reasons to consider skipping Keto for weight loss for the time being.
Why Is Keto Not Working For Me #1
Are you under severe amounts of stress? Do you have high cortisol? Have you been told you have HPA axis dysfunction? If your answer is YES to one or all of these then proceed to the Keto train with caution. I want to explain this in a way that's easy for you to understand, so hang with me here.....
The HPA axis refers to 3 glands that are the 'masters' of keeping our hormones in balance. The hypothalamus, pituitary, and adrenal glands, because they work in synergy, are referred to as the HPA axis. HPA AXIS CONTROLS VITAL FUNCTIONS LIKE MOOD, EMOTIONS, DIGESTION, LIBIDO, AND ENERGY LEVELS! These glands are sensitive to calorie intake, stress and exercise levels. (1)
Long term stress can cause you to overproduce cortisol and norepinephrine (fight and flight hormones)
Long term HPA axis imbalance is often termed "adrenal fatigue". Adrenal fatigue weakens the immune system and poses long term risks such as inflammation, hypothyroidism, diabetes, and mood disorders.
I realize that you're still asking, LV, what's the problem here with relation to the Keto diet?!?
Well, here it is. These stress hormones help you run from the bear or lift the car off of your child. These hormones lower insulin levels. Leaving your blood sugar high so that you have the energy (glucose) needed to run form the bear and lift the car.
When stress is high for long periods of time.... Cortisol & norepinephrine is high... insulin lowers (the natural Roomba for sugar gets turned off) ... making it nearly impossible to get into and stay into ketosis. Our bodies are still burning glucose for fuel versus fats. (4)
(LV NINJA TIP TAKE AWAY)
If you're under major stress, skip the keto diet for now, focus on a balance of healthy real living whole foods, get quality rest and continue to lower stress levels...
Why Is Keto Not Working For Me #2
2. THYROID HEALTH:
If you're unsure if your thyroid is healthy or you have a family history of thyroid imbalance you may consider some updated thyroid labs before hopping on a Keto plan.
The thyroid gland produces two hormones: T4 (thyroxine) and T3 (triiodothyronine)
These two hormones control the balance of the nervous system, body weight, cholesterol levels, menstrual cycle, heart rate, and more.
T3, the active thyroid hormone is sensitive to calorie and carb changes. If calorie or carb intake is too low T3 levels drop and (rT3) reverse T3 levels increase. (2,3) Reverse T3 works exactly as it sounds, it blocks the action of T3. One study notes the drop in T3 by 47% within 2 weeks from a control group not consuming carbs but the same amount of calories. This same study shows NO decrease change in T3 levels as long as at least 50 grams of carbs are consumed daily (with the same calorie intake).
Low T3 and high reverse T3 slows metabolism resulting in weight gain, fatigue, and low mood.
(LV NINJA TIP TAKE AWAY)
If your thyroid function is questionable, low carb/keto diets may cause a drop in thyroid gland function OR consider bolstering thyroid function on Keto by supporting the conversion of T4 to T3 by taking 200 mcg of selenium & 30 mg zinc
Why Is Keto Not Working For Me #3
3. MENSTRUAL IRREGULARITIES:
Not eating enough carbohydrates may take your periods for a wild ride.
Amenorrhea is when a woman's menstrual cycle is absent for 3 months or more. Dysregulation is when a woman's cycle is thrown forwards or backward a bit. The most common cause of this is a drop in calories, extreme exercise, too few carbs, or too much stress.
The hypothalamus is the region of the brain that is responsible for the release of GnRH, LH, FSH, estrogen, progesterone, & testosterone. As discussed earlier, these nutrition shifts can put extra stress on the HPA axis.
Another reason is due to low levels of Leptin which is a hormone produced and released by the fat cell. Leptin can shift in women who are lean, or underweight and on a low carb diet for a long period of time.
One study followed 20 women on a keto diet for six months. 45% of them experienced menstrual dysregulation and 6 of that 20 experienced amenorrhea.
(LV NINJA TIP TAKE AWAY)
If you are trying to get pregnant, or stabilize hormones, skip the keto diet for the time being.
Certain Women do better with moderate carbs (100-150grams) while others can thrive off of low carbs (under 100). Every BODY has different needs for different reasons.
The Keto diet normally maintains below 20 net carbs and these 3 main points that women should consider before they go bathing in MCT oil and bacon grease. LOL
Have questions? Drop them below... Know a friend considering keto, share this!
Completely confused about where to begin with your nutrition??