Facts About Keto and Menopause

An increasingly popular diet craze involves eating all the foods you were once told to avoid: fatty meats, cheese, heavy cream, and more. If this makes you do a double take, you’re not alone. But the ketogenic diet, commonly known as keto, is a weight-loss plan that continues to gain adherents.

Some people advocate this eating plan or related versions of it for midlife women who want to drop pounds and improve their health during the menopause transition.

But experts urge women to proceed with caution.

It’s true that some midlife women have lost weight with this plan, but “the keto diet has the potential to create other health issues in the process,” warns Bonnie Taub-Dix, a registered dietitian nutritionist in New York City.

What Happens During Menopause?

Menopause is officially defined as the time when your menstrual cycle has stopped for a year, but many use the term to describe the transition process leading up to that milestone, and that period can begin years before.

Menopausal symptoms include difficulty sleeping, mood changes, vaginal dryness, and hot flashes. Many women lose muscle tone.

Weight Gain and Belly Fat Around Menopause

Lots of women complain that during the menopausal transition they put on pounds, even when they eat the same number of calories, says Nanette Santoro, MD, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora and a longtime menopause researcher.

What’s more, fat distribution often shifts away from the hips and thighs and toward the abdomen. “Virtually every woman gains at least some subcutaneous fat with the end of menses,” Dr. Santoro says, something that might make a woman feel heavier even if the scale doesn’t move.

This extra fat around the abdomen “seems related to hormones, but no known mechanism currently exists,” she says.

RELATED: 12 Ways to Beat Menopausal Belly Fat

A Look at the Premise of a Keto Diet for Midlife Weight Loss

This weight increase or change in fat distribution drives many women to seek out a new eating plan around the menopause years. Keto is one of those diets that may be recommended to women in midlife.

With our traditional way of eating, our…

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