Facts about keto and menopause

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The increasingly common diet craze involves eating all the foods you were once told to avoid: fatty meats, cheese, heavy cream, and more. If this makes you do double duty, you’re not alone. but the Ketogenic dietKnown as keto, this is a weight loss plan that keeps gaining followers.

Some people advocate this eating plan or related versions for middle-aged women who want to lose pounds and improve their health during menopause.

But experts are urging women to proceed with caution.

It’s true that some middle-aged women have lost weight with this plan, but “the keto diet has the potential to create other health problems in the process,” he warns. Bonnie Taub Dixa registered dietitian dietitian in New York City.

What happens during menopause?

Menopause is officially defined as the time when your period stops for a year, but many use the term to describe the transition process that leads to this milestone, and that period can start years earlier.

menopause symptoms These include difficulty sleeping, mood changes, Vaginal drynessand hot flashes. Many women lose muscle tone.

Weight gain and belly fat around menopause

Many women complain of gaining pounds during menopause, even when they eat the same number of calories, she says. Nanette Santoro, MDprofessor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora and a senior researcher on menopause.

Moreover, the distribution of fat often shifts away from the hips and thighs towards the abdomen. “Almost every woman gains at least some subcutaneous fat by the end of menstruation,” Dr. Santoro says, something that can make a woman feel heavy even if the scale doesn’t move.

This extra fat around the abdomen “appears to be related to hormones, but no mechanism is currently known,” she says.

Related: 12 ways to beat belly fat after menopause

A look at the introduction to the keto diet for midlife weight loss

This increase in weight or change in fat distribution leads many women to seek a New eating plan About the menopausal years. Keto is one of those diets that might be recommended for middle-aged women.

With our traditional way of eating, our bodies use glucose from digested carbohydrates to fuel themselves during the day. The basis of the keto diet is to deprive the body of carbohydrates, and therefore glucose, forcing it to turn to a different fuel instead.

That fuel: fat stores. This fat is broken down in the liver, resulting in a condition known as ketosis And allowing the body to use this to fuel itself instead of glucose.

Foods to Eat — and Avoid — on the Ketogenic Diet

There is no single official ketogenic diet, so there are some differences in what people on the diet are advised to eat.

In general, 70 to 90 percent of your daily calories on a keto diet come from fat. This is a significant increase from the 25 or 30 percent recommended by most nutritionists and the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, in Medline.

On this diet, about 5 to 15 percent of calories come from protein and only a tiny amount come from carbohydrates.

Galveston Menopause Diet vs. Keto Diet

One diet that sets itself apart for menopausal women is Galveston diet. Like the keto diet, this diet provides the majority of your daily calories, about 70 percent, from fat, with the rest 20 percent coming from lean protein and 10 percent from carbohydrates.

Galveston is not technically a keto diet, its originator Marie Claire Haver, MD, an obstetrician-gynecologist in Texas. This is because her meal plan distinguishes between healthy fats like olive oil, walnuts and avocado, which the diet focuses on, and highly saturated fats like those in cheese and red meat, which are included in smaller amounts in the Galveston diet.

Taub Dix, author of the book Read it before you eat it – it takes you from poster to tableAnd the He says that while focusing on healthy fats over heart-damaging saturated fats is a good thing, any carb-based diet is problematic. “Carbohydrates provide the most readily available source of energy and fiber,” she says. Carbohydrates also fuel the microbiome, the organisms that populate the gut and skin, the vaginamouth and other parts of the body.

Plus, when fats make up a large part of the diet, they crowd out beans, colorful vegetables, and nutrient-packed fruits, she says.

Does the keto diet help people lose weight?

Canadian researchers evaluated several studies that compared the keto diet to low-fat eating plans in Research published in 2018 in Canadian family doctor. They found that when only the high-quality studies were evaluated, there was no difference in weight loss between the two plans.

else Research review on keto, published in March 2020 in Reviews in Endocrine and Metabolic Disorderslow calorie, keto dietThis results in a significant reduction in calorie consumption. It was found that such a diet helped people reduce their body mass index, waist circumference, total cholesterol, and Triglyceride levels and blood pressure. However, such severe calorie restrictions are not typical of most keto eating plans, and researchers have not been able to assess whether aspects of keto or just the dramatic reduction in calories are behind the results.

Does keto help in fluctuating menopausal hormones?

No studies have looked at whether the keto diet helps estrogen levels and other menopausal hormones.

Some people who diet say that hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms help them, but others complain that the diet makes these symptoms worse.

Women who start the diet often have symptoms that can be similar to those of menopause. known as “keto fluThis can include headaches, fatigue, trouble sleeping, and heart palpitations.

Some women worry that keto can lead to menopause, but there is no research or evidence to suggest this.

Related: Predict the length of the menopause transition, and when you will reach menopause

Safety Considerations for the Ketogenic Diet for Postmenopausal Women

Heart disease is such a serious problem for middle-aged women that once women enter menopause they lose the heart protection that estrogen provides.

This is why following the keto diet allows people to eat large amounts of it Saturated fat Top Dix says it looks especially dangerous for middle-aged women.

Experts warn that cutting out food groups and eating small amounts of vegetables and fruits can lead to nutrition Shortcomings If the diet is followed for a long time.

Many people who eat keto suffer from a lack of fiber due to a lack of fiber Constipation.

How long can you stay on keto?

Most keto studies follow dieters for a limited amount of time, which means there is no good research on how long it can be safely eaten this way. Experts usually advise people who want to try this diet Look at keto as a short-term way to eat Instead of a lifelong eating plan.

Taub-Dix says this is another of its drawbacks. The best diet “You have to be able to adapt to your life permanently,” she says. “This is not that kind of diet.”

Bottom line: Is keto a good diet for menopausal women?

You can lose weight on the keto diet, but a better approach may be to eat a healthy diet with a little bit of it Processed foods. Taub-Dix is ​​preferred by many nutritionists Mediterranean diet.

Exercise is essential to lose weight

Santoro asserts that there is no magic diet that will lose weight in postmenopausal women. For women of this age or any age, “the best thing to help prevent or reduce weight gain is physical activity,” she says.

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