Diets – Do or Don’t?

Let’s talk about diets!

Some people love them, some people hate them, but almost everyone has tried them.  Women choose to diet for many different reasons including wanting to get healthier (I see you queen!), wanting to try out the latest fad (Which one is Gwyneth on right now?) and of course the obvious reason, wanting that number on the scale to go down. 

There are so many diet options out there that it’s almost impossible to choose the one that’s best for you and your overall health. However, there are three diets that are very popular and talked about frequently. And whether you are currently dieting or looking to start a diet soon, it’s important to know how your go-to diet may affect your cycle. 

We gotcha with the details below!

 

The Low-Carb, High-Fat Diet: Keto

Taking the world by storm, the Ketogenic Diet has become the new, hip diet trend. Celebrities including Gwyneth Paltrow, Halle Berry and even the Kardashian sisters are reportedly fans of this diet which is centered on replacing carbs with high-fat foods. Here’s the gist: by reducing the intake of carbs, the body enters a metabolic state called ketosis and begins to burn fat for energy. Ketogenic diets can reportedly cause massive reductions in blood sugar and insulin levels.

But wait! There are many fans of this diet out there. And, while all the above sounds almost too good to be true, it is (sort of). It is important to note that one of the major side effects often reported from following this diet is irregular periods.

A 2018 study published in The Journal of Obesity and Weight Loss Therapy notes that the keto diet caused disruption to women’s hormonal systems. Additionally, some women find it hard to conceive while on this diet. When the body doesn’t feel like it can sustain itself, the hormones that impact fertility and menstruation will be compromised and won’t be able to support the growth of another human.

It’s also worth mentioning that many women have reported actually gaining weight while adopting the keto diet into their everyday lives. 

 

The Plant Based Diet: Vegan

Adopters of this diet think of it more as a lifestyle then a food choice. The vegan diet excludes all animal products including meat, eggs and dairy. People choose to be vegan for many different reasons including the desire to improve health and because of ethical or environmental concerns centered around animal exploitation and cruelty. Plant-based diets are becoming more popular in the United States. Approximately 1 to 2 percent of the U.S. population identify as vegan.

However, people who do not eat meat products in their diet often fall short in important nutrients including iron which is most important for blood production (who would’ve guessed, right?).

There isn’t a lot of evidence linking meat in a diet with changes to the menstrual cycle. However, low iron can lead to decreased physical and mental performance, weakened immune system, and increased risk of pregnancy complications. Additionally, low iron can cause shorter periods and could impact your period flow. Rapid weight loss for new adopters of veganism may see their periods shorten or disappear entirely. 

Vegan diet followers should be sure they are getting adequate iron in their diet to avoid the possibility of iron deficiency anemia. 

 

The Whole Foods Diet: Paleo

Designed to resemble what human hunters and gatherers ate thousands of years ago, the paleo diet is centered around the consumption of whole foods. The diet includes foods like meat, fish, vegetables, seeds and spices. People following this diet plan avoid processed foods, sugar, salt, most dairy products, legumes and more. Getting its name from the Paleolithic era, paleo dieters believe that the human body isn’t genetically matched to the modern diet that came about from farming. Many of your favorite celebrities enjoy this diet plan including Miley Cyrus, Matthew McConaughey, and more. 

When following a paleo diet properly, blood sugar is kept under control which can sometimes help alleviate PMS symptoms. A paleo diet focused on whole grains and healthy fats may not have an effect on your period length or flow. However, this diet plan can lead to quick weight loss. Any sudden weight loss or gain can often have an effect on your menstrual cycle. As weight drops, so do estrogen levels. 

 

Do or Don’t?

So here it is, a nutrient dense diet filled with healthy carbs, fats and proteins is the best diet for achieving healthy and balanced hormones.

But, this doesn’t mean that you can’t try out a new diet trend or plan!

When choosing whether to follow a new diet, it is important to consult your doctor about all of the many options out there. Be sure to track and watch how your period changes over the course of your dieting and make changes if you see your period change or stop completely.

You got this girl!

 

Sources:

https://paleoleap.com/paleo-menstrual-cramps/

https://www.wellandgood.com/keto-and-hormones-women/

https://www.firstforwomen.com/posts/diet/keto-diet-and-menstrual-cycle-164985

https://www.healthtoempower.com/how-extremity-can-make-even-the-best-diet-fail/

https://medium.com/clued-in/no-meat-no-problem-the-effect-of-veganism-and-vegetarianism-on-the-menstrual-cycle-d78cb32a5245

https://helloclue.com/articles/cycle-a-z/no-meat-no-problem-effect-veganism-vegetarianism-on-menstrual-cycle

https://www.everydayhealth.com/ketogenic-diet/diet/your-period-how-keto-may-affect-your-cycle/