The ketogenic diet is prevalent these days among those looking to shed a significant amount of weight quickly. Given that being overweight or obese can lower your chances of getting pregnant or staying pregnant (excess body fat is linked to an increased risk of miscarriage), obese women who want to have a baby may wonder if a keto diet can help them slim down to down and increase fertility at the same time. The answer is a resounding “maybe”.
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Keto Fertility: The Possible Good News
The ketogenic diet — high in fat, moderate in protein, and low in carbohydrates — puts your body into a normal metabolic state called ketosis. By drastically reducing your intake of carbohydrates (its primary source of energy), your body is forced to become very efficient at burning fat for energy instead. Preliminary research suggests that this shift can temporarily promote weight loss, as well as help reduce systemic inflammation, which is important because “inflammation can reduce overall fertility,” says Kristen Kirkpatrick, RDN, health nutrition services advisor at the Cleveland Clinic. Wellness in Ohio. Furthermore, a properly followed ketogenic diet can help reduce insulin levels and possibly better regulate levels of other reproductive hormones, including testosterone, luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).
Diet can affect body weight, hormones, and ovulation
“Using a ketogenic diet to improve body weight can certainly help women who do not ovulate – release an egg – regularly, including women with PCOS. [PCOS]explain Rashmi Kodisiya, M.D., a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist at Houston IVF, CCRM Network Clinic in Texas. “If they lose 5 to 10 percent of their body weight, they may resume ovulating.” (For the record, PCOS, a metabolic and hormonal disorder, is a leading cause of female infertility.)
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Possible benefits of going keto for women with PCOS
In fact, some research suggests that besides helping women with PCOS lose weight, a ketogenic diet may help rebalance their hormones — and in some cases help women with previous infertility problems get pregnant on their own. in the small A study published in the September – October 2018 issue of the journal AACE Clinical Case ReportsIn the study, researchers followed four obese women with PCOS who were trying to conceive and following a keto diet, and monitored their progress monthly. Within six months, the four women had lost 19 to 36 pounds in weight, and had resumed regular menstrual cycles (they all had irregular periods before they started the diet). Kicker: Two of the women became pregnant spontaneously without the need for ovulation induction.
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The ketogenic diet may be sperm-friendly
Excess weight and a poor diet can affect male fertility, too. The standard American diet, which is full of refined carbohydrates and sugar, has been associated with poor sperm health, which negatively affects sperm motility and morphology. [shape]the number of shapes Will Coola chiropractor and functional medicine expert in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, and author of Ketotarian. (Even an ultra-fertile woman will have trouble conceiving if her partner does not have enough high-quality sperm.) “Conversely, diets rich in healthy fats, such as nuts, seeds, and fish rich in fatty acids, have been shown to improve sperm health. Dr. Cole adds.
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Reasons to worry about keto and fertility
While a ketogenic diet may help a woman who wants to get pregnant lose pounds quickly, it’s best to use it “to start a new healthy and weight loss routine” before trying to conceive, says Dr. Kodesia, because you don’t. You don’t want your body to be in ketosis around pregnancy (or any part of pregnancy). Cole also says, in order to have a healthy pregnancy and pregnancy, it’s important to eat enough whole foods that are rich in nutrients, rather than restricting calories. “Just because something is high in fat and low in carbs or keto doesn’t mean it’s necessarily healthy.”
In fact, it can be difficult to follow a healthy keto diet, as many people eat foods rich in saturated fat, such as butter and bacon, to stay in ketosis. Excessive intake of saturated fat can increase total cholesterol, which can strain the heart, according to American Heart Association. Not to mention, one of the health risks of the keto diet is nutrient deficiencies, registered nutritionists agree.
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Eating patterns that support preconception and pregnancy health
For these reasons, Rachel Malick, RDN, a reproductive nutrition specialist in Chicago, believes that following the Mediterranean diet, or so-called Dutch diet – which focuses on fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, whole-wheat bread (and cereals), and healthy fats – is a better approach to precognition because it has a more balanced distribution of macronutrients. “Glucose (a form of carbohydrate) is the primary source of fuel for a developing baby, so eating a balanced diet is important during pregnancy,” says Malik.
Carbohydrates are okay, especially in the pre-pregnancy period
So there’s no good reason to play the how-low-can-go game with healthy carbs, she says. In fact, Research published in March 2017 in the journal Nutrients He found that so-called low-carb diets — where less than 45 percent of your total calories per day come from carbohydrates (by contrast, a standard keto plan typically allows a maximum of 20 percent of calories coming from carbohydrates) — can May lead to improvements in reproductive hormone levels and regular ovulation in women who are overweight or obese.
Related Topics: A step-by-step guide to a low-carb diet
Carbs can be comforting and combat morning sickness and other pregnancy symptoms
Another concern: Malik says sticking to a restrictive diet like the keto plan can add to a woman’s stress while she’s undergoing fertility treatments, or it could have a negative effect on her relationship with food. “To deal with nausea during pregnancy, women often eat carbohydrates, such as plain crackers or pretzels,” she notes. (By the way, for the latter reason, the keto diet is not recommended for anyone with a history of eating disorders.) The keto plan would put these on a no-fly list; Even if a woman stops the ketogenic diet by the time she is pregnant, she may have a long-term feeling that these foods are not good for her and feel guilty about eating them.