Keto Diet Not Effective, Causes Blood Sugar Problems In Women

Ketogenic diet or keto diet has been widely known for its benefits that could help shed the extra weight without requiring a strict and extremely limited meal. Some people also found the approach effective in improving blood sugar control.

However, the trend may change in the future, particularly for women. A new study shows that females do not actually benefit from the high-fat, very low-carbohydrate diet. 

The findings, presented at the Endocrine Society's recent ENDO 2019 meeting in New Orleans, La., suggest that women are less likely to lose weight when following the keto diet. Researchers also found that such approach could cause problems in their blood sugar control, EurekAlert reported.

"These results may help explain discrepancies in this diet's success rates across the sexes," Jesse Cochran, study lead researcher and a research assistant at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, said in their presentation. 

The ketogenic diet was originally introduced to help treat people with epilepsy. It limits consumption of carbohydrates and proteins, which encourage the body to switch from burning carbohydrates for energy to burning stored fat. 

For the latest study, the researchers analyzed how the diet affects both male and female mice. The team first fed the animals with either a ketogenic diet or a regular diet as a control. 

The control diet provided 7 percent fat, 47 percent carbohydrates and 19 percent protein by mass, while the keto meal gave 75 percent fat, 3 percent carbohydrates and 8 percent protein by mass. 

After 15 weeks, the female mice on the keto diet showed no changes in weight and had impaired blood sugar control. Meanwhile, male mice that received the same diet appeared with decreased body weight and maintained blood sugar control.

The researchers also tried to remove ovaries of some female mice to see if estrogen plays a role in how the body responds to the ketogenic diet. Results show that the mice without ovaries and on a keto diet had lower body weight and body fat.

"This finding suggests that postmenopausal women could potentially experience better weight loss outcomes with the ketogenic diet compared to younger women," Cochran said.

Despite being conducted in an animal study, the team suggested people should consider meeting a doctor or an expert to discuss plans to follow a keto diet as the same problems found in mice may also occur in humans.