Every year new diet programs and weight loss strategies flood the American marketplace. Some gain significant traction with various media outlets and retailers who do their best to cater to individual needs. As time goes on some of these diet plans have the staying power to remain popular. Some fade a little yet still remain, while a significant portion eventually fall so far out of favor that they become forgotten by the time we turn to the next calendar year.
One increasingly popular weight loss strategy that has gained significant traction is the ketogenic diet. It is largely embraced by individuals who are looking to lose a substantial amount of weight in a relatively short period of time.
Benefits Of Weight Loss For Conception
While this is certainly a key component of combating chronic health problems like diabetes and heart disease, it can also be a factor in a person’s fertility and chances of conception. At the same time being significantly overweight or obese can also increase a woman’s chances of miscarriage, as well as the chances of developing gestational diabetes.
The foundational principles of the ketogenic diet focus on a low carb diet that is also high in fat, with only a moderate protein intake. The idea is to put the body into a natural metabolic state which is known as ketosis.
When you dramatically reduce your carbohydrate intake, your body is essentially compelled to become more efficient at tapping into your fat stores to get the energy it needs to operate. There is a growing body of research that also suggests that this shift can help enhance natural weight loss in the short-term while also helping to reduce systemic inflammation.
This is especially important when it comes to fertility as inflammation can have a negative impact on your chances of conceiving. There are other factors a ketogenic diet has shown to help:
- Reduce levels of insulin
- Help regulate levels of key reproductive hormones
- Regulate testosterone and the luteinizing hormone
- Aid in the production of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH)
A Ketogenic Diet May Help With Ovulation
Bodyweight and hormone regulation are certainly key factors that also contribute to ovulation as well as a decrease in conditions that can affect the health of the ovaries. There is some early research that suggests that a ketogenic diet strategy can help improve body weight which can help women who do not ovulate. This includes women with polycystic ovary syndrome. In some cases, women with PCOS who lost between 5-to-10 percent of their body weight resumed ovulating.
There is additional research that suggests the ketogenic diet can further help with balancing hormones for women with PCOS. In some instances, women who had previous infertility problems were able to become pregnant on their own.
Men May Also Benefit From A Ketogenic Diet
It’s worth bearing in mind that excess weight gain and poor dietary choices can also affect the health as well as the fertility of men. Indeed, the average American diet is often full of excess sugars and other refined carbohydrates that can lead to poor sperm health. This can also affect sperm motility, shape, and overall sperm count.
Even if the woman is highly fertile, the couple may still have problems conceiving if the male cannot provide high-quality sperm. At the same time a diet that is rich with healthy fats from things like nuts and seeds, as well as omega fatty-acids from things like fish, can also improve sperm health.
Implementing A Ketogenic Diet For Improved Fertility
When you embrace any new diet or positive lifestyle change, there are always things you can do to improve your chances for success. This also bears fruit when it comes to implementing a ketogenic diet for improved fertility as well as general health.
In a scenario like this, it’s better to fully embrace the ketogenic diet lifestyle change in advance of trying to conceive. Because while it can help you lose body fat quickly, you also don’t want your body to be in ketosis around the time of conception, or while you are pregnant.
During pregnancy, it’s best to eat nutrient-dense whole foods, rather than calorie restriction. A diet that is high in fats and low in carbs may not provide the ideal nutrient profile that a developing fetus needs. At the same time, it can be difficult to follow a ketogenic diet strategy, which could potentially lead to nutrient deficiencies.
Carbs Can Help With Pre-Conception
While lowering carbs can help with weight loss and hormone balancing, as well as ovulation, it isn’t necessarily ideal for the preconception stage. After a woman loses weight by ketogenic dieting, it may be better to adopt a nutrition strategy that is more in line with the Mediterranean diet or a Dutch-style diet, where an increased emphasis is placed on consuming fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, and whole-wheat which includes breads and cereals. It also calls for consuming healthy fats. This is especially important because the carbohydrate glucose is the primary source of fuel for a growing baby.
Source – Everydayhealth