Keto for Women: A Holistic Path to Weight Loss and Energy

Discover the Transformative Benefits and Risks of Keto for Women’s Health

Can Keto for Women Help With Weight Loss?

YES! Keto for women can be effective for weight loss. Achieving ketosis can be beneficial for women as it helps the body burn fat instead of carbs for energy.

Low-carb diets are popular for aiding weight loss and improving overall health. One such example is the keto diet, which entails consuming very low carbs and high amounts of fat.

The keto diet has potential benefits like weight loss, increased energy, and treating chronic illnesses. Considering the advantages, you might be wondering if the ketogenic diet is suitable for women of varying ages, lifestyles, and dietary needs.

We’ve got your back! We’ll provide all the info you need about keto for women, including its benefits and potential risks. Plus, we’ll give you some useful tips to get started. Let’s dive in!

A woman sitting in workout clothes holding a glass of juice and a bowl of fruits
A woman sitting in workout clothes holding a glass of juice and a bowl of fruits

Table of Contents

What is the Keto Diet?

A graph depicting the daily allowance for carbs, protein, and fats on a ketogenic diet
A graph depicting the daily allowance for carbs, protein, and fats on a ketogenic diet

The keto diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet where you get up to 75% of your calories from fat, 20-35% from protein, and less than 10% from carbohydrates. 

The body usually relies on carbohydrates as its main energy source since they can be easily converted into glucose. But when your body can’t get glucose from carbs, it starts making ketones from body fat through the liver. 

By increasing fat consumption and reducing carbs, your body enters a state of ketosis. During ketosis, your body switches from using carbs to burning ketones as its main fuel. The increased fat-burning can aid in weight loss. 

The ketogenic diet also reduces insulin spikes and helps regulate blood sugar levels, making it a popular choice for fitness enthusiasts looking to shed extra fat. Additionally, the keto diet offers advantages for chronic conditions such as diabetes and cancer.

Does Keto Work for Women?

A woman measuring the waist with a measuring tape
A woman measuring the waist with a measuring tape

One of the key motivations for women adopting the keto diet is to lose weight. 

It’s no secret that the female body faces more challenges when it comes to weight loss compared to its male counterpart. This is due to factors like metabolism, muscle mass, and hormone balance.

Studies suggest that the keto diet has the potential to increase fat-burning, reduce calorie intake, and tame those pesky hunger hormones such as insulin. When combined, these factors fuel the journey toward achieving fat loss goals!

However, the keto diet is a drastic change for the body and can cause hormonal havoc if not done carefully. Female hormones are affected by menstrual cycles, lack of sleep, and carb intake. Changes in diet and lifestyle can also affect them. 

Benefits of Keto for Women

The keto lifestyle has many potential health benefits for all sexes, but some may have more particular effects on women. 

Weight Loss

Women often turn to the keto diet primarily for weight loss, especially after trying other diets with limited success.

First, the keto diet eliminates processed foods and refined carbs that contribute to weight gain. Women frequently experience reduced hunger when following a keto diet, which can lead to less carb intake.

One study conducted on 45 women with ovarian or endometrial cancer revealed that women who adhered to a ketogenic diet for a period of 12 weeks had a significantly lower amount of total body fat and lost 16% more belly fat compared to women who followed a low-fat diet.

Research also reveals that a keto diet can help with effective fat loss in women with PCOS.

Scientific studies have shown that a low-carb, high-fat diet can aid rapid weight loss in women. However, there is limited research on the long-term effects of keto diets on weight loss.

Nonetheless, it may serve as an effective starting point before transitioning to a sustainable long-term eating plan.

Blood Sugar Control

Healthy foods for diabetes and blood sugar control
Healthy foods for diabetes and blood sugar control

The keto diet greatly reduces carb intake, leading to improved blood sugar and insulin response. As a result, it is a preferred choice for women with high blood sugar, including those with type 2 diabetes.

Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, which is then absorbed by your body. When glucose levels rise, insulin is released to transport glucose into cells for energy.

However, excessive glucose can result in weight gain, insulin resistance, and eventually, type 2 diabetes.

In a keto diet, carbs are kept so low that both blood sugar and the need for insulin drop significantly. 

A study conducted on 58 women with obesity and type 2 diabetes, revealed that a very low-calorie keto diet resulted in greater weight loss and reductions in fasting blood sugar and hemoglobin A1c compared to a low-calorie diet.

Potential Cancer Treatment

There is evidence suggesting that keto may provide benefits during cancer treatment. However, if you have cancer, it is important to consult with your care team before starting.

A study discovered that women with ovarian or endometrial cancer were able to maintain lean muscle while reducing fat and circulating insulin by following a keto diet. 

Another study involving women with cancer found that the keto diet helped decrease food cravings while enhancing energy levels and physical function.

However, it’s important to understand that the ketogenic diet is highly restrictive and lacks sufficient high-quality research. As a result, it is not recommended as a treatment for most cancers.

Potential Risks of Keto for Women

There are several risks associated with keto dieting:

Keto Flu

Headaches, brain fog, constipation, and muscle cramps are common symptoms when transitioning to keto, often called keto flu. Luckily, there are effective strategies to avoid these keto flu symptoms and make your keto transition smoother.

Increased Risk of Heart Disease

Some individuals following the Keto diet may experience elevated LDL cholesterol levels, which can increase the risk of heart disease. It is advisable to collaborate with your doctor to closely monitor your cholesterol levels while on the keto diet.

A doctor checking a woman's heartbeat with a stethoscope
A doctor checking a woman’s heartbeat with a stethoscope

Estrogen Imbalance

The keto diet may affect estrogen balance. When fiber is eliminated, estrogen levels can rise, worsening estrogen dominance. Fiber is crucial for the efficient removal and detoxification of estrogen from our bodies. 

Additionally, estrogen plays a critical role in maintaining healthy gut bacteria, which helps balance your hormones. Balanced hormones are important for various reasons, and if you’re looking to lose weight, disrupting estrogen levels is not beneficial.

Menstrual Cycle

Since keto can affect your hormones, it may have a negative impact on your menstrual cycle. When you experience excessive weight loss or nutrient depletion, your body may signal reproductive functions to shut off, leading to a missed period. However, this doesn’t happen to every woman who follows keto. 

Some women actually experience benefits, such as improved PMS symptoms. It all depends on how your body responds. If you notice any irregular changes in your cycle, it’s a sign that your body is under stress.


If your hormones are imbalanced, the keto diet may affect fertility and make it harder to conceive. Your body recognizes when it’s undernourished, creating an unsuitable environment for pregnancy.

However, certain studies suggest that keto could potentially benefit women with insulin resistance, particularly those with PCOS, in their journey to conceive.


Perimenopause and menopause can be ideal periods to consider adopting a ketogenic diet.

As fertility and the menstrual cycle are no longer concerns, it is important to address blood sugar imbalances and weight gain that tend to increase with declining estrogen levels.

Research indicates that insulin resistance is also associated with hot flashes. Therefore, adopting a low-carb diet to regulate blood sugar levels may offer a natural approach to managing these symptoms.

It’s important to consider that research indicates menopause raises the risk of heart disease. Therefore, the potential impact of cholesterol, as mentioned earlier, should be assessed on an individual basis.

Tips to Start Keto for Women

Going keto doesn’t have to be intimidating or overwhelming. With the right mindset and dedication, you can totally make this transition!

We’ll share some easy-to-follow tips to set you up for success on your journey. Stay consistent and determined, and you’ll soon be reaping the health benefits of this popular diet.

Eat More Healthy Fats

Plant sources of healthy fat
Plant sources of healthy fat

A crucial part of the keto diet is consuming healthy fats, unlike other diets that consider fat as an enemy. Incorporating more healthy fats into every meal helps you stay full for longer periods.

When you start relying on healthy fats as your main source of fuel, it’s important to monitor and control your fat intake. If you’re experiencing a weight-loss plateau, reducing your dietary fat intake might be helpful.

Get Enough Protein

Whole food sources of protein
Whole food sources of protein

Maintaining strong muscle mass is crucial for women on a keto diet. One effective method is to increase protein intake. Proteins contain amino acids, such as leucine, which serve as building blocks for healthy muscles.

Protein not only helps prevent muscle loss, but it also has a higher thermic effect compared to other nutrients. This means it boosts your metabolism and reduces the production of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, helping you feel fuller for longer!

Avoid Added Sugars

Different types of sugar arranged on a table
Different types of sugar arranged on a table

To achieve your weight-loss goals and improve your overall health, it’s important to be mindful of your sugar intake. Consuming sugary treats such as candy, soda, and desserts can hinder your progress in reaching your weight-loss goals.

Even artificial sweeteners, such as sucralose, can cause strong cravings, making it challenging to stick to the plan. It is crucial to carefully read labels and be cautious of ingredients that are commonly concealed sources of added sugars. Choose natural sweeteners instead.

Prioritize Nutrient-Dense Food

Eating keto-friendly foods that are rich in nutrients is a great way to support weight loss and overall well-being. These foods are packed with essential nutrients, which can help keep you energized and satisfied.

For example, avocado is packed with healthy fats, fiber, and potassium. Nuts and seeds not only provide protein but also contain a significant amount of beneficial fats. Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce inflammation and promote cardiovascular health. 

Supplement Electrolytes

Green leafy vegetables as supplement to electrolytes
Green leafy vegetables as a supplement to electrolytes

Maintaining a balanced electrolyte level is crucial for overall health, especially on the keto diet. Three essential electrolytes – sodium, potassium, and magnesium – play a vital role in various bodily functions like nerve and muscle function, hydration, and energy production.

If you don’t consume enough electrolytes daily, it can cause fatigue, weakness, and muscle cramps.

One of the easiest ways to get electrolytes is by including more leafy greens, nuts, and seeds in your diet. However, if you prefer a different approach, there are also various electrolyte supplements to choose from.

Get Adequate Sleep

Getting plenty of good quality sleep is crucial for overall health and weight management. Lack of sleep can lead to higher levels of ghrelin, a hormone that increases appetite and can cause weight gain.

Sleep allows our bodies to rest and repair damaged cells from the day. Be sure to get 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night to ensure quality rest.

Establishing a bedtime routine and creating a comfortable sleeping environment are crucial for achieving optimal rest.

To improve your sleep, avoid caffeine or heavy meals before bedtime, and limit screen time to minimize exposure to blue light, which can disrupt deep sleep.

Exercise Regularly

A young woman working out with a gym equipment
A young woman working out with gym equipment

Incorporating physical activity into your routine is crucial for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Exercise not only aids in weight loss but also provides additional benefits like uplifting mood, increasing energy levels, and enhancing sleep quality.

For optimal health benefits, it is recommended to incorporate a combination of cardio and strength training exercises such as running, cycling, or swimming. This will help enhance your cardiovascular endurance.

Additionally, strength-building exercises are an excellent method to increase muscle mass, boost metabolism, and burn more calories even at rest.

Manage Stress

Stress hampers weight loss, so it’s crucial to effectively manage stress levels. When you’re stressed, your body releases cortisol, which activates the fight-or-flight response in your brain.

This reaction can slow down metabolic processes and other bodily functions by temporarily pausing them. While cortisol is important for survival, excessive levels can be harmful as they lead to increased cravings for unhealthy foods such as sugary snacks or fatty salty meals that are not compatible with a keto diet.

To manage stress effectively, it’s important to take regular breaks and engage in relaxation activities like meditation or going for walks.

Try Intermittent Fasting

For centuries, people have practiced intermittent fasting (IF) as a healthy method to take regular breaks from eating. It aids weight loss by reducing calories and lowering the risk of heart disease and blood sugar levels. Additionally, it promotes longevity, reduces inflammation, and offers numerous health benefits.

While fasting can be beneficial, it’s important to be cautious with longer fasts. Start with a 16:8 fast and then try 20:4 fasting to ease into the process. Remember to consult your doctor before making any significant dietary changes.

Keto for Women FAQs

Can Keto for Women Affect the Menstrual Cycle?

Yes, the keto diet can potentially affect the menstrual cycle in some women. While research on this topic is limited, anecdotal evidence suggests that adopting a ketogenic diet may cause changes in the menstrual cycle.

These changes can include irregular periods, changes in menstrual flow, or temporary absence of menstruation (amenorrhea). The impact on the menstrual cycle may be due to the body adjusting to the metabolic shift caused by the diet, changes in hormone levels, or fluctuations in energy availability.

Is Keto for Women Good or Bad for Fertility?

Some studies suggest potential benefits like improved insulin sensitivity and hormonal balance. However, there are concerns about the long-term effects of carbohydrate restriction on reproductive hormones. If you’re trying to conceive, it’s crucial to consult with healthcare professionals before adopting the keto diet.

Is Keto for Women Good or Bad for PCOS?

The keto diet has been researched and proven to be beneficial for PCOS due to its low insulin-releasing food choices. Studies indicate that the keto diet can improve various symptoms associated with PCOS, such as infertility, emotional disturbances, excessive hair growth, obesity, and menstrual irregularities.

Final Thoughts

Keto for women presents a compelling approach to losing weight and improving metabolic health. By focusing on a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet, people can unlock the powerful advantages of ketosis. This includes increased fat burning and better control over appetite.

It’s important to note that the keto diet can affect women’s menstrual cycles, potentially causing changes in regularity. Individual responses vary when it comes to dietary changes, so it’s crucial to prioritize monitoring one’s health.

Although the keto diet has potential, particularly for weight management, it’s important for women to stay in touch with healthcare professionals. This ensures their nutritional needs are met and any potential risks are addressed.

In general, a well-informed and mindful approach to the keto lifestyle can help women reach their health and wellness goals, taking into account their unique physiology.