Keto and PCOS – How safe is it? - PCOS UK (Verity)

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Keto and PCOS – How safe is it?

Nickib90
Nickib90

Everywhere you look for information about PCOS the word “Keto” soon follows. It is impossible to miss and quite frankly everything you read makes it sound like the holy grail. So I like most Cysters, began to look into this craze.

One of the first articles I found was from Women’s Health. It spoke about how Keto diet was actually created for patients suffering with seizures and these patients then began to see huge drops in their weight. Reading through the article I started to discover that even for patients it was intended for, Keto is so hard to stick to that it is not considered a long-term solution and that actually some carbs are needed so in the long run…it isn’t even that healthy for you. ……. Got you curious yet?

So now the real digging commenced. Here is what I have learnt…..

Keto is good for weight loss this fact is true. If you want to lose weight quickly, this seems like a great option. But you aren’t looking at the full picture.

Your brain runs on carbs – for your brain to function correctly it needs a certain amount of carbs to do so, Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences states that our human brain requires 130 grams of carbohydrates a day minimum. To me this raises a bigger question ……..Is brain fog a symptom of PCOS or is it that patients are all carb cutting and causing brain fog? Food for thought on that one.

You are damaging your kidneys – by forcing your body into ketosis you are actually putting huge pressure on your kidneys which can cause kidney failure.

Them bones need calcium – following a keto diet forces your body to crave and leech calcium which then puts your bones in great risk of brittlness and osteoporosis.

Fat of the heart – by eating a high fat diet you are missing the fact you are eat far high saturated fat than you should be. This increases the risk of heart disease, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Your thyroid needs you – did you know your thyroid needs insulin to function properly? By cutting out carbs, you could be causing more damage to your thyroid which can lead to much bigger problems.

Yes Keto will help you lose weight quickly, yes it may help balance out hormones……but it also does a heck of a lock of damage to the rest of your system that actually means that keto is not a long term solution.

This may seem super negative but quite frankly people need to be aware that although they can see more short-term improvements, the negative impact it can have on your long term health are bad enough to take a step back for a minute and really think and research what you are doing.

Follow my PCOS journey here: onepolycysticovaryatatime.w...

9 Replies
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Hidden
Hidden

You're confusing one specific diet with a more broad term. Nobody uses the seizure diet that I know of. "Keto" is such a broad term it encompasses a range of diets. Most people I know on it use a relaxed carb count of around 100g a day. The seizure diet wasn't meant for long term use, no.

Nickib90
Nickib90
in reply to Hidden

Sadly from having a blog I can see a lot of my followers who are on VERY strict carb count of trying to stick to 20g a day. People do use the seizure diet and that is a scary thing as it can cause problems when sticking to it long term. More a point on take a step back and consider what you are doing to your system.

Hidden
Hidden
in reply to Nickib90

I also run a blog. This article is a bit confusing for people not subjecting themselves to the Atkin's version. Perhaps you should clarify between the 20/40/40% carb/fat/protein that is recommended for PCOS and the original seizure diet.

Nickib90
Nickib90
in reply to Hidden

The whole point is whatever version you are doing, whether ranging from 20 to 50 net carbs, you are still purposefully cutting down a food group.....so you need to be conscious that this has longer term implications on other aspects of your health. My only recommendation in this piece is to consider that there are some negative affects in the long run so look at all aspects of keto before jumping in.

Hidden
Hidden
in reply to Nickib90

I'm just going to reiterate you need to clarify in your OP there. 20% of the diet being carbs gives you around 100g, which is sustainable and enough to reduce the high insulin levels and insulin resistance PCOS and high carb diets cause. And historically speaking, before agriculture, humans did not have a high carb, grain based diet. That's literally blink of an eye as far as evolutionary standards are concerned.

Nickib90
Nickib90
in reply to Hidden

By the sounds of it you have found the right support to know that 100g carbs is what is needed. Think about the thousands upon thousands of women reading online that to go keto you need to be at 50g or below? So many women get such bad support medically for PCOS that the internet become almost a sole source of information. I've done a few of the macro calculators across the web for pcos and keto diet and it coming out with recommendations of 25g a day which is really really dangerous advice. We also now live far longer than previous generations which will take a toll on bodies too. Anyways.....best of luck with your journey x

Hidden
Hidden
in reply to Nickib90

Sorry, I hadn't realized you weren't using a general "you" there and addressing me direct. I agree we get generally bad support, which is why I suggest to others to do their own research and to check their sources, usually preferring PubMed. I rather discount the idea that "thousands upon thousands" are getting bad advice considering most of us generally join support groups and get straightened out pretty quick.

And actually, as an anthropologist I have to state that we do not "live longer." Our medicine has advanced and we can medicate or cure diseases that used to be death threats and avoid accidents that used to be common, thereby raising our average life expectancy, meaning more people reach the upper limit of human lifespan. I think you are confusing, as most people do, an average life expectancy historically and contemporary with longer lifespan in general, the second of which isn't supported by research. You will find individuals in the archaeology record who are 90+ across hundreds of thousands of years. The upper range of human lifespan has been around 120 years (at maximum and based on theoretical research, however there are people living right now that is close to that age) for eons.

In historical records, average life expectancy takes a selection of individuals from different walks of life during a select era/year. Let's pick an imaginary year, and say one man may have died at 90, another at 30, and a child at 1. To get an average you combine 90 + 30 +1. 121. Divide that by the number of individuals. 3. Which is 40.3. The average lifespan of our imaginary year is 40 years. If we consider this across a whole population instead of just three we could expect to see a significant amount of people die around age 40 of various causes in our imaginary time and place. That does not mean people keel over and die of old age at 40 or 60, there are extenuating circumstances involved such as disease, accidental death and genetic disorders which are not included in the average. Life expectancy is an individual's expected life range based on their genetics, medicine, culture, lifestyle, diet and other trends.

I have done the keto diet for 6 months and lost 4 inches off my waist and 3 off my belly button and some back fat but hadnt measured - I only lost a stone though. For me it worked and I was pretty much carb free but now I am low carb instead (no longer high fat either) and am maintaining it - I personally didnt like the diet that much but it works - lots of scientific evidence that it is safe to do as well (which I was quite surprised about)

I couldn't get along with the generic "Keto" diet at all - honestly, I only tried it because I was intrigued and I wondered what kind of effect it would have. The draw of having ready access to high fat foods very quickly lost out to my craving for fruit, which is obviously difficult to balance on a very restricted low-carb diet. I can see how it would work for a lot of people, and I respect the right for everyone to choose how they eat, but I just felt a bit trapped! Different bodies process these things in different ways, of course, but knowing the potential bad side-effects does give you pause for thought. Very interesting post, thanks for the summary.

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