Today’s podcast is a topic I feel very strongly about: does keto help you get pregnant, and this post is borne from the comments and posts we receive in the Fertility Warriors Support + Chat Facebook group.
Literally every week I see a post where someone asks for advice on the best diet to help you try to conceive, and the comments advocating the keto diet roll in.
I feel very strongly about diet. Many of you don’t know, but when I first started in the online world, I was posting recipes and talking about my health. Back in 2011, I actually saw a Naturopath (who I totally did NOT vibe with) who pushed me onto a keto diet. The results were pretty freaking average.
I lost a little bit of weight, but following that, despite exercising my guts out and focussing every day on my macronutrients (fat, protein and carbs), my weight plateaued. Every week, I’d feel so disheartened, and in trying to keep my body in ketosis, I’d be eating all of these Atkin’s Bars and drinking all of these protein smoothies. My gut instinct told me that it was completely out of alignment with what I knew deep inside was healthy.
About six months later, I changed Naturopaths and found someone whose idea of health was so much more aligned with mine, who didn’t constantly try to sell me processed food bars, and who helped me enter a period of health–not that it was a goal, but my weight dropped without having to try so hard, and I felt healthier than ever, despite continuing with a fairly regimented fertility diet, without that obsessiveness.
Bottom line: our bodies are super intelligent and your gut instinct is right. Wholefoods should always win, and our bodies prefer to work from carbohydrates for a reason.
I don’t believe trying to trick our bodies into ketosis is smart for our fertility or long term health, including when we’re dealing with conditions such as PCOS.
The following is why I don’t believe that the keto diet is the best diet to increase your fertility and your chances of conceiving.
We need to understand what the keto diet is.
It’s not just a low carb diet, it’s not just a paleo diet, it is where you get 75% of your calories from fat. The keto diet only advocates eating about 25 grams of carbohydrates, which is really hard to do. You’re going to be eating lots of cheese, bacon, butter etc. When you strip everything back to the core elements of health, does that strike you as a healthy long term diet solution? To my mind, the answer is absolutely not. To me, a healthy diet includes lots of vegetables. Vegetables are the cornerstone of health.Trust your common sense here when it comes to diets. With keto, you’re going to be eating a lot of cheese. When it comes to fertility, a lot of people have issues with dairy.
See previous episode about Dairy Products and Fertility and why I believe dairy products are not benefitting your fertility.
Lack of vegetables
We have our macronutrients which is essentially fat, protein and carbohydrates. Then we have micronutrients, which is when we have a look at selenium, iron, and calcium etc. If you want to go proper keto, you need to measure your macros. When you look at that, you can’t include too many vegetables otherwise it’s going to tip you over your 25g of carbohydrates. Not only do vegetables provide us with a powerhouse of micronutrients, but they also include fibre and bulk, which you won’t find in dairy products or steak and because they’re an animal product, they’ll contain a lot of cholesterol. Vegetables are the number one thing that you should eat.
Look at the My Missing Piece Membership, which includes the 21-day cleanse. A nutritionist and naturopath approved cleanse, based on nine cups of vegetables a day. You’re not really going to get anywhere near that when you’re doing a keto diet. I really feel like that’s going to make an impact on your health.
It’s not great for long term health
The keto diet can put a really big load on the parts of our bodies that help us detox (like our pancreas and liver) and because it’s high in cholesterol, it can start clogging up our arteries. We really want something that’s going to benefit our long term health and that’s going to help us rectify issues in the long run. A lot of the time when I see people go on things like keto diets, I can understand where you’re coming from. It might be women who have PCOS, due to their hormones and have issues such as disordered eating, which is caused by their hormones being so out of whack, it causes an increased appetite and decreased impulse control. That can make going on a keto diet really really hard because you’ll feel like bingeing on something like sugar. We need to look at what’s going to give you long term and sustainable health and wellness in our diet. When we go on something like a keto diet, that can become really stressful when we’re in the midst of our fertility treatment. If you undertake a keto diet for a long period of time, you may also end up with deficiencies in things that are really important if you want to conceive.
It can throw off your gut health
We need prebiotics to support our gut health. Prebiotics is what feeds the probiotics. Prebiotics come from things like grains, starches and vegetables. By cutting them out, you throw your gut health out of whack. I’m here to support you with your long term health and your long term health requires a really healthy gut microbiome, which is the environment your gut lives in.
Those are all the reasons why I do not feel the keto diet is the best diet if you’re trying to conceive. I want you to have amazing long term health and I want you to fall pregnant sooner but I also want you to have the confidence to overcome any eating issues or issues around food if you have them.
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