The Ketogenic diet waltzed into my world sometime last year. Everyone was talking about it; social media pages were springing up and sharing tips on how to join the keto movement. It was attractive, but I wasn’t looking to lose weight and, importantly, I didn’t know anyone who had tried.
It was so intriguing not only for me, but others on this platform that one of our members asked our then Healthy Living Partner, Temi Awoyemi, what she thought about the diet. She was not in support of it, or any diet for that. Rather, she promoted adopting a healthy lifestyle rather than fad diets.
It was after this that I found someone, Tina, who had started the diet. Within weeks, she was gushing over the effects of the diet, especially as it related to her PCOS symptoms. Tina termed the diet, the magical pill. Even though it was not an easy change for her, she was dedicated to overhauling her lifestyle, as she had been given a timeline to get within a certain weight range.
The weight melted away before her eyes. Some of her symptoms started to disappear, and something else happened which turned her into a staunch member of the keto cathedral – Tina got pregnant.
It was totally unexpected, but absolutely welcome. A pregnancy hadn’t been her goal when she started. She had simply wanted to lose some weight, before her doctor would know what next to do. Well, there was no need for that as she got pregnant while waiting to pregnant…literally.
Tina has gone on to have her baby now. She had to stop her diet after her pregnancy was confirmed, but as soon as it was decent after childbirth, she went back to her keto diet and again, the weight loss was just as dramatic.
Seeing that it worked the first time, Tina is hoping it actually works for her when she wants to try for a second baby.
So, what is the Keto Diet really?
A keto diet is a high fat, low carb diet, which forces the body to produce ketones in the liver, which is used as energy instead of the usual glucose.
Often, while on a high carbohydrate diet, the body will use glucose as the main form of energy. By lowering the intake of carbs, the body is forced into a state known as ketosis.
According to scientists, ketosis is a natural process that the body initiates to help us survive when food intake is low. During this state, the body produce ketones, which are produced from the breakdown of fats in the liver.
Keto diet is often referred to by many other names – ketogenic diet, low carb diet, low carb, high fat diet.
A pilot study titled The Effects of a Low-carbohydrate; Ketogenic diet on the polycystic ovary syndrome done in 2005, showed that, indeed, the keto diet has an impact on PCOS.
During the study, some women who had been diagnosed with PCOS, were placed on the Keto Diet for 24 weeks.
At the end of the study, there was an overall improvement in the women’s weight loss routines, their hormones; testosterone, LH/FSH ratio, and insulin readings too were better. Two of the women also ended up getting pregnant during the study, while they were on the diet.
Moving on to a more recent study, a keto diet revealed that a high fat, or ketogenic, diet not only increases longevity but also improves physical strength.
In addition the Ketogenic diet increased memory and motor function of those on the diet. It also prevented an increase in age-related markers of inflammation.
For Anu, who is not actively TTC, but just wanted to get her symptoms under control, the Keto Diet has come in handy. Anu started this year, and has been pretty faithful to it, even though there have been times she fell off the wagon, but she has always gotten right back on.
Some of the benefits she enjoyed include a more regular period, compared to the past. Her period is also not as painful as before.
Even though she had lost considerable weight, it was her hormones that seemed to be balancing out that really wowed Tina.
Between February and now, she had been able to get off the Pill, something she’s really happy about, as it messes up her moods.
Hair growth in the unnecessary places is also reducing, which is another reason for her to be happy.
In all of these personal stories and studies, one thing is common – Insulin; the one hormone which only a high fat diet is able to get under control.
When the body utilizes fat for energy instead of glucose, blood sugar levels and insulin resistance are significantly lowered.
The presence of glucose in the body means more work for insulin. With less glucose, insulin sensitivity is improved and every other PCOS symptom right along with it.
Lastly, to get the best out of a Keto diet, you need to have this at the back of your mind; nutrient intake should be 70% fats, 25% protein, and 5% carbohydrate.
Honestly, this is one diet that’s totally worth the stress that comes with it.
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