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Far from being a new "fad diet," the keto diet – a diet that is very low in carbohydrates and high in fat – has been used by doctors since the 1920s to treat patients with serious illnesses. In recent years, the keto diet has gained more and more attention, because of the way it promotes weight loss by causing the body to burn fat to get energy. More than ever, a wider audience is now considering trying the keto diet, including people interested in benefits other than weight loss. Examples include a reduction in the risk of diabetes, an increase in energy and protection against age-related neurological diseases. (1)
A problem with the keto diet, however, is that to date, research studies to study its efficacy and safety have concerned only humans or animals (mainly mice). Some have been skeptical while the keto diet can work just as well for women. Others wonder if it is a good idea for women to even try the keto, since their hormones tend to be more sensitive to most changes in diet and lifestyle.
According to some women's health experts, such as Dr. Anna Cabeca, expert in gynecology-obstetrics and regenerative and anti-aging medicine – following a alkaline The ketogenic diet can be one of the most useful lifestyle changes that women and men can make.
According to his experience, "a keto-alkaline diet respects the natural conception of our body". Dr. Cabeca has personally cared for more than 10,000 women through a combination of her online programs and in-office treatments, noting the results the alkaline diet can yield.
Does the Keto diet work for women?
The answer is yes! Since Dr. Cabeca uses the keto diet to help treat women, especially those who are perimenopausal or menopausal, she has almost never seen the diet fail. Her clients and patients have experienced weight loss, improved blood glucose control, improved sleep quality and reduced menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes or night sweats.
Dr. Cabeca proposed combining an alkaline diet with a keto diet after weighing the benefits of a very low carbohydrate diet on the one hand, with some of the negative reactions she received from clients of l & # 39; other. Although many of her clients have lost weight quickly and reliably while reducing their carbohydrate consumption, many have also reported side effects such as nausea, fatigue and constipation due to the keto diet.
The keto diet consists of absorbing up to 80% of daily calories from sources of healthy fat, a significant change for most of its female patients accustomed to consuming carbohydrates, caffeine and sugar to get it. ;energy. It became clear that something else needed to be adjusted to prevent the side effects associated with the keto diet. It was at that time that she had the idea of focusing primarily on the restoration of alkalinity.
Common questions about the Keto diet for women:
1. How does an alkaline diet fit exactly into a ketone diet? And why is it so important for women?
Although a ketogenic diet helps to normalize blood sugar levels (glucose) and can help you maintain or achieve a healthy weight, an alkaline diet is beneficial for its anti-aging effects, especially to reduce blood sugar levels. Inflammation, stimulate detoxification and promote hormonal balance, immunity and more. . Traditional ketogenic diets do not usually take into account the important alkalinity restoration factor. For many patients, the key is to achieve a Alkaline pH before you start keto to avoid feeling restless, anxious, uncomfortable or too hungry.
Running an alkaline diet An alkaline diet contributes to overall health, including reducing symptoms related to infertility, premenstrual syndrome or menopause, helping to balance your internal pH and increasing the absorption of nutrients. Eating foods rich in essential but not very acidic minerals can reduce common symptoms or disorders by promoting a more alkaline environment, the body's natural and preferred state. Research shows that maintaining a more alkaline pH in the urine can protect healthy cells and improve intestinal health. (2)
Also known as "alkaline ash-based diets", the reduction of acidity (coffee, caffeine, alcohol, refined cereals or processed meats) has beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system as it prevents the formation of plaque in the blood vessels and can help reduce kidney stones. helps maintain bone mass and is beneficial for reducing muscle wasting due to aging.
What kind of negative health effects can too acidic pH contribute? Some include: bone loss, muscle loss, and increased susceptibility to frequent infections and diseases. One way to check if your body is adapting well to an alkaline diet is to test the pH of your urine. The pH scale ranges from 1 to 14, seven being neutral and anything greater than seven alkaline beings. The goal is ideally to have an alkaline pH in the urine of between 7.0 and 7.5 (a slightly more alkaline than acid number).
2. Will an alkaline keto diet help prevent energy and other side effects experienced by some when trying to follow a low carbohydrate diet?
Probably likely, yes. One common finding is that focus on eating a alkaline diet in addition to one low carbohydrate keto diet will help dramatically reduce side effects for many women (and men too!). The reason is because of the high intake of nutrients, increased detoxification and reduced dependence on the "stalk" such as caffeine (some overdosing even caffeine) and sugar for weight loss. ;energy.
3. What other factors should influence, in addition to a person's diet, those that can affect their pH level?
Although this is an extremely important factor, your diet is not the only variable that affects your pH level and your hormones. In addition to the foods you eat, alkalinity is also influenced by: the level of stress you are subjected to daily, the amount of sleep you get at night, the degree of exposure to the sun and the degree of environmental toxicity you suffer. exposed to.
4. Intermittent fasting (IFM) is often recommended in combination with a ketogenic diet. But many wonder if the IMF is recommended or not for women.
According to Dr. Cabeca, "Fasting is an essential part of a healthy diet and has many anti-aging effects." In particular, Dr. Cabeca recommends fasting in women during or after menopause because of its anti-aging effects. -age. For example, a 2016 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that when women went 12.5 hours between dinner and breakfast (a common form of fasting), fasting overnight seemed to help improve the functioning of the immune system to the point of reducing the risk of breast cancer. (03)
Why is intermittent fasting beneficial for women, especially if they are perimenopausal or menopausal? Fasting allows the body to break with digestive functions and focus on essential repair work and enjoy the many other benefits of rest. In other words, during fasting, the body's energy resources go to restorative work (such as tissue repair and hormone balancing) rather than digestive processes like the production of stomach acid to break down foods.
She found that when women refuse to eat a lighter dinner, then abstain from eating for about 13 to 15 hours between dinner and breakfast, their weight, their blood sugar level, their control of blood sugar, etc. s & # 39; improve. 20h or try to eat only two meals a day, with tea or broth between meals to help reduce hunger. Another option is to skip dinner 1 to 2 days a week. For most women, when trying to use IMF, it is not advisable to nibble between meals unless the woman is very active (athlete in training, for example) or deals with a hormonal problem such as exhaustion of the adrenals..
5. How long should an alkaline ketone diet be followed?
It is best to address this change in diet as a way to feel better and be healthier, rather than as a "fad diet" or miracle solution to weight loss. Dr. Cabeca recommends giving him six months to test the effects, keeping in mind that trials and errors are expected during the process. The diet should ideally be approached in stages, focusing on alkaline before adding fasting and keto appearance.
4 ways to overcome the side effects of Keto
1. eat more alkaline foods
How exactly can women have an alkaline diet that keeps them in ketosis? Are there foods on the list of keto foods to avoid, even if they are technically "low in carbohydrates"?
Dr. Cabeca believes that it is essential to add to a ketogenic diet abundant choices of alkalization (fruits and vegetables) with low carbohydrate to maximize benefits and prevent side effects. She particularly recommends foods rich in nutrients like avocado and dark leafy greens.
Here is a list of foods with no carbohydrate to moderately low carb that women (and men too) can include in an alkaline keto diet:
- Greens such as kale, Swiss chard, beets, dandelion, spinach, wheatgrass, alfalfa grass, etc.
- Other non-starchy vegetables or herbs such as mushrooms, tomatoes, avocados, radish, cucumber, jicama, broccoli, oregano, garlic, ginger, green beans, chicory, cabbage, celery, zucchini and asparagus.
- Ideally, try to consume a good portion of your raw or lightly cooked products (such as steamed) as raw foods can help provide high levels of alkalizing minerals.
- Add to that other superfoods like maca, spirulina, sea vegetables, bone broth and green powder blends containing chlorophyll.
- Healthy fats, such as coconut oil, MCT oil or virgin olive oil. Fats found in wild-caught fish, grass-fed beef, caged eggs, nuts, seeds and grass-fed organic butter are also good additions to your diet. food.
- Smaller amounts of starchy plants such as sweet potato, turnip and beets may also be included in the diet, although these should generally be kept to a minimum because of their sugar and carbohydrate content.
- If possible, try to consume alkaline water. Alkaline water has a pH of 9 to 11, making it a better option than tap water or purified bottled water plus acid.
- To reduce your consumption of toxins and chemicals, it is best to buy organic products whenever possible and pay extra for free-range and grass-fed animal products. Plants grown in organic, mineral-rich soils tend to be more alkalizing and offer the best value for money.
Although they may be good from time to time, it is generally not recommended to eat a lot of fruits or vegetables rich in carbohydrates that have a very sweet taste to maintain ketosis. While trying to achieve a more alkaline ketogenic state, try to minimize or exclude these foods:
- All sources of added sugar
- Grains (whole grains)
- Most dairy products (sometimes small amounts of yogurt / kefir fat or cheese may be suitable)
- Try to have only eggs, lentils and nuts, like peanuts, in small amounts because they are more acidic than other proteins. Avoid processed meats, including cold cuts or factory-raised meats, which promote acidity.
- Other processed foods containing a lot of sodium, sugar, synthetic ingredients and fillers (see our list of fast foods in a pinch of keto)
2. Try "Crescendo Fasting" (or other types of cyclists)
There are different ways to intermittent fasting on keto, some of which are less likely to cause side effects such as fatigue or cravings. Crescendo Fast gives you a break from fasting throughout your week, but is still very helpful in getting the benefits of the IMF. Dr. Cabeca and other experts, such as Amy Shah, M.D., advise their patients to check their urinary ketone levels (using ketone strips) and aim for a positive test for ketones approximately three days a week.
Work towards fasting days of fasting for fasting 2 to 3 non-consecutive days per week (for example Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday). Stick to light exercise or yoga on a fast day to reduce the feeling of exhaustion or hunger, while maintaining higher intensity activities for your non-hungry days. -young. This approach allows for more "moderation" of food and lifestyle, because the goal is not to eat 100% "perfectly" all the time.
3. Manage stress and get enough rest
Addressing the main sources of physical and emotional stress in your life is essential for healing underlying hormonal imbalances and fertility issues. Try to sleep between 7 and 9 hours each night to reset your hormones daily. Lack of sleep can really affect your digestion, your appetite and your energy level!
There are different ways to handle stress: moderate movements and exercises, yoga and / or meditation, slow walks outside, journaling or reading, being more social by joining a group or team, resting more, praying, etc.
4. Prevent constipation with more fiber and water
If your body is struggling to adapt to a keto diet, try eating more vegetable fiber, nuts or seeds and drinking enough water to help hydrate the intestines and relieve constipation. Dr. Cabeca recommends starting the day with a large glass of warm water with lemon and a pinch of cayenne pepper.
During the rest of the day, try to drink half your weight in ounces of water a day (for example, 65 ounces or a little over 8 glasses if you weigh about 130 pounds). Taking probiotics is also a good idea because it helps replenish the intestine with healthy "good bacteria".
Precautions about Keto diet for women
In addition to constipation and carbohydrate cravings or sugar cravings, other side effects that you may experience when switching to an alkaline keto diet (especially if you are starting fasting as well) may include symptoms of "keto flu" such as menstruation, adrenal or thyroid problems, fatigue or lack of energy.
Although sometimes, the symptoms worsen before they improve, but these symptoms should disappear a few weeks to a few months after following the advice and the program mentioned above. This is especially true if you are trying to stay active (walk, ideally outside, at least 20 to 30 minutes a day), sleep well and reduce stress. Drink lots of water, herbal tea or bone broth to prevent dehydration and exercise in moderation if you feel hungry.
It should also be mentioned that if you have a history of irregular menstruation, any type of eating disorder or thyroid disorder, it may be best to start this type of diet program only with the help of your doctor. or a nutritionist. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should not start the keto diet to be safe. A professional can help you to adopt an alkaline keto diet in a moderate and safe way if you do not know how to do it on your way, giving you information so that the diet does not interfere with the production of normal hormones, to appetite or sleep. or mental concentration.
Final Thoughts on the Keto Diet for Women
- According to most studies, women are more responsive to dietary changes, including reductions in carbohydrate consumption. Side effects on the keto diet (a very low carb and high fat diet) can include fatigue and hunger. However, combining the ketone diet with an alkaline diet can reduce these symptoms for most women and men.
- An alkaline diet includes whole foods that have positive effects on blood and urine pH by reducing acidity. A keto-alkaline diet is beneficial for women by promoting weight loss, detoxification, heart health, stronger bones, decreased inflammation, and reversal of nutritional deficiencies.
- Foods that are put forward as part of an alkaline keto diet include non-starchy vegetables, raw foods, green juices, lean proteins and lots of healthy fats. Foods high in sugar, carbohydrates and acids that should be avoided include: added sugar, high sodium foods, processed cereals, too much animal and animal protein, milk and dairy products, Alcohol and caffeine.