#47 Ketogenic Diets for Women - Friend or Foe?

The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast

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THE PODCAST

"When you're eating a ketogenic diet you're essentially restricting carbohydrate intake and eating a lot more fat instead. This helps with weight loss, as your body starts breaking down fat stores and converting them to glucose. But it's useful for so much more than weight loss, like the management of neurological conditions such as epilepsy, Alzheimer's, MS, traumatic brain injury, dementia, metabolic syndrome, and insulin resistance."

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SHOW NOTES

In Episode 47 of The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast, Natalie Douglas and Kate Callaghan discuss how the ketogenic diet works and the cost-benefits of a ketogenic diet for women.

  • What is a ketogenic diet?
  • The benefits of a ketogenic diet and who it is most suited to
  • Why keto diets don’t work for a lot of females of menstruating age
  • Keto & your menstrual cycle 
  • Is a keto diet bad for your thyroid?
  • The signs that keto is NOT working for you
  • Is there an “in between” when it comes to the keto diet?
  • Tips for transitioning from a keto diet to a more moderate carb diet
  • Is keto bad for your gut health? 

Intro 0:00
Welcome to The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast, where you’ll find the inspiration and answers to how you can become the healthiest, happiest version of you, using whole food nutrition, smart supplementation, movement, and lifestyle hacks. Your host, Natalie Bourke and Kate Callaghan, a degree-qualified Dietitians and Nutritionists, certified fitness instructors, speakers, and authors, with extensive knowledge and clinical experience in the wellness industry. So sit back and enjoy the show.

Natalie K. Douglas 0:38
Hello, everybody. Welcome back to the podcast. I was gonna say what episode it is, but I have now forgotten. Kate, what’s happening?

Kate Callaghan 0:46
I think we’re at 47, are we?

Natalie K. Douglas 0:49
I don’t know. I feel like it’s a good number 47.

Kate Callaghan 0:50
Well, I listened to your interview with Dr. Hot on the weekend.

Natalie K. Douglas
Yes.

Kate Callaghan
Far out, man. He’s good looking. Anyway.

Natalie K. Douglas 1:00
I know. I got a few messages like, oh my God. And I was like, I know.

Kate Callaghan 1:04
It’s inappropriate, inappropriately good looking.

Natalie K. Douglas
It’s very inappropriate. He’s very intelligent.

Kate Callaghan
He’s motivated me to look after my teeth.

Natalie K. Douglas
I know, right?

Kate Callaghan
But I think that was Episode 46.

Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah, that’s true.

Kate Callaghan
If anyone hasn’t listened to that, aside from the fact that he’s ridiculously good looking. It’s actually a really good interview. Really good interview, you asked really good questions.

Natalie K. Douglas
I thought so too. Thank you.

Kate Callaghan
You did. Well, right before you ask a question. And like, I really hope she asked this that you know about the oil pulling and things.

Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah.

Kate Callaghan
Yeah.

Natalie K. Douglas 1:32
I was like, it was. Well, I guess they’re all questions that I had already had myself and already asked him along, along the way. And I was like, I’m just gonna ask you every single question I can think of.

Kate Callaghan 1:44
No, it was really good. Well done.

Natalie K. Douglas
Nice. Thank you. Thank you very much.

Kate Callaghan
I’m motivated to look after my teeth better because you’re right. It’s a reflection of your overall health and it impacts your overall health so.

Natalie K. Douglas 1:54
Yeah, and you kind of, I don’t know, I just really never thought of it, like, for someone who is immersed in health. I really did not think much about it. I was like, yeah, brush my teeth twice a day but, is that it? I didn’t go to the dentist, like, scare the shit out of me.

Kate Callaghan
Yeah.

Natalie K. Douglas
Next minute. You just, I was just booking their own dentist.

Kate Callaghan 2:14
But you know, I don’t have a doctor hot here but I’m still motivated to going.

Natalie K. Douglas 2:18
Didn’t you have a really hot gastroenterologist one time?

Kate Callaghan 2:21
Yeah, I met this really hot gastro two minutes before he stuck a tube up my butt.

Natalie K. Douglas 2:32
Oh, that’s so good. I just, if I was ridiculous.

Kate Callaghan 2:35
No, it wasn’t. It wasn’t at all. Just put me in the now. Dress me up please.

Natalie K. Douglas 2:42
Yeah, I remember having scopes. And but my doctor was definitely not, not good looking. So, I was like, whatever you just, I’m fine with this. But it’s really, it’s a really strange feeling because it’s like three, four people standing. Although it was in at least in the room when I had my scopes. There’s a few people standing around. I was like, I’m actually getting put to sleep down. So, I’m gonna put a camera up my ass like this is so weird. And I’m giving them permission to do it.

Kate Callaghan 3:09
Yeah. A little meander around. Oh, yeah.

Natalie K. Douglas 3:18
Real fun doing what you want. Okay, any other announcements or anything before we kind of jump in?

Kate Callaghan
No, not yet. No.

Natalie K. Douglas
Well, I have one. Thanks for asking. So, I finally.

Kate Callaghan
Sorry. Go, go, you go.

Natalie K. Douglas
So, I finally launched my new website and new business. So, NatalieKDouglas.com. And for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet? Well, please go and have a look because it’s really cool. Well, I didn’t actually create it. My partner is the brains behind the design. But anyway, there’s a free thyroid symptom checker quiz there that you guys can do. So, jump on and give that a go. It doesn’t take very long and it will give you a score out of 20 something and it’s fun. Who doesn’t like taking quizzes, right?

Kate Callaghan
I love a good quiz.

Natalie K. Douglas
Yes, love a good quiz. Anyway. That’s all for announcements. We are actually talking about ketogenic diets in women, in women? Ketogenic diets for women would probably make more sense because it was a topic that has come up as a request quite a number of times, and particularly because ketogenic diets are very popular at the moment. So we thought why not weigh-in, in terms of what we think of them. But before we do, Kate, for those of who like, for those people listening, who maybe aren’t aware of what a ketogenic diet is, can you briefly explain what it is?

Kate Callaghan 4:51
Yeah, so basically, a ketogenic diet is a really, really high fat, low carb diet. So, you’re looking around 80% fat in the diet or up to 80% fat in the diet. So, it’s incredibly low carb. And what this does is, so it’s restricting your carbohydrates or restricts the available glucose to that your body has to burn for energy. So, then your body instead burns fat, and this produces ketones. And so then you get in this state of ketosis, which it can be, it can be very healing for many conditions, which we’ll talk about. And it’s, it’s kind of a deferred pathway. And yeah, if you don’t have the carbs, then you’re gonna burn ketones instead. So, it’s a normal metabolic process that your body can do but that ketogenic diet is just kind of pushing it more towards using ketones for energy rather than glucose in burning extra fats. And most people do it for weight loss but we’ll talk about the other benefits as well.

Natalie K. Douglas 5:54
Yeah. Yeah. So, I guess the, like, good explanation. And I think like as Kate said, they are, we aren’t anti keto, we are aiming to try and discuss the pros and cons of it today in the context of being a female. But let’s start off with all the positive things. So, in terms of benefits, and who it’s kind of suited for. I would say the main benefits of a ketogenic diet, in my opinion, lie in the application of them in the management of neurological conditions such as epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, MS, traumatic brain injury, dementia, can also be used in metabolic syndrome or insulin resistance, and in weight loss when you are quite significantly overweight because it’s being kind of driven by metabolic syndrome. So, that’s why that’s working. So, as Kate kind of explained that normally in the body, carbs that we eat are converted to glucose. And then that glucose is used for energy. And in certain physiological states like fasting or carbohydrate restriction, which is the case for a keto diet, we no longer have that really easy accessibility to carbohydrates, or glucose rather. So, what will end up happening is you will use fatty acids as the primary source of fuel instead, as Kate explained, so the liver will actually convert fat into both fatty acids and ketone bodies. And the fatty acids themselves can actually cross the blood-brain, blood-brain barrier, but the ketone bodies can. And this then becomes the main energy source for the brain, basically, and one of the main reasons why keto diets are beneficial in neurological conditions is because generally speaking, there’s some degree of impaired brain glucose uptake even when there’s plenty of it to go around in in those kind of in those conditions. And so the brain cells are kind of starved of energy if you like, because, although there’s fuel, like there’s fuel there, they can’t access it. So, it’s like being given the address to a house, but the key doesn’t fit in the lock, so you can’t get in. However, then stay with me, your trusty neighbor, Mr. Kurt Ketone comes along.

Kate Callaghan
Kurt Ketone.

Natalie K. Douglas
Kurt Ketone. He lends you his key, which fits like a glove, and hence, the ketones get into the brain and act as an alternate energy source. So, there’s also evidence actually around using ketones in type 1 diabetes to improve cognitive functions or brain function and also in improving memory loss in people with mild cognitive decline, which feels a bit like me at the moment, because yesterday, after my very lack of sleep from the like, the crazy full moon. I can never sleep when there’s a full moon, like ever, like not even at all. Anyway, I was like, on serious struggle straight and I lost my glasses, and I found them in the fridge, like the fridge, what the hell. And it’s not the first time. I, like it, seems whenever I lose my glasses they are in the fridge but I don’t understand why, why they would be there. Anyway, and there’s also, to point out, there’s also a lot of anecdotal evidence around improved concentration, more stable energy levels, and better focus for some people. And you know what? I do believe that from an ancestral perspective, we probably did cycle in and out of ketosis, naturally. At least in some regions, and in some cultures, depending on kind of food availability but however, drumroll, and to the modern lifestyle, filled with stressors like negative people around you, traffic, financial stress, sleep deprivation, work stress, chemical stress, you know, you know, the glorification of business stress and the highlight reel of that of social media. And, you know, of course, comparisonitis, then whack a long-term ketogenic diet on a female of menstruating age. And then Kate, what perhaps could possibly go wrong and and why do we see that for, I guess a lot of menstruating females like, why? What kind of happens to your cycle when that happens? And yeah, what’s your opinion and thoughts on that?

Kate Callaghan 10:29
Disaster. The end. No, so there’s a few things that can happen. So, obviously, when you’re eating a keto diet you’re restricting carbohydrates. Now, let me preface this by saying, I, back in the day, when I first started eating a paleo diet I did without kind of trying, I was kind of going down more of the ketogenic pathway. I was eating about 70% fat, 20% protein, 10% carbs. And so that’s, that’s pretty, pretty ketogenic. On top of that I was, you know, having lots of high-intensity interval training workouts in my life and lots of cardio, and lots of exercise in general. And I was studying full time, and I was working part-time, and I was planning a wedding. So, it was really, just really crazy.

Natalie K. Douglas
You must have felt so good.

Kate Callaghan
Really crazy time.

Natalie K. Douglas
Loving life.

Kate Callaghan
Loving life. So, there’s no surprise that my cycle went completely missing in action. So, I, that’s when I went into that state of hypothalamic amenorrhea where my period just went away because I was stressing my body out too much. And I wasn’t supplying my body with the amount of carbohydrates that it needed to adapt to this lifestyle that I had. So, I needed those carbohydrates for the exercise that I was doing that high-intensity interval training and the cardio and the weights. I definitely needed more than 10% carbs, you know, to have a little slice of sweet potato. I look back on my meals, and I think it was so pathetic. What was I thinking? How can you? How can you stop at that small amount of sweet potato?

Natalie K. Douglas 12:09
Yeah, I have a serious issue with sweet potato. I can’t, that’s like my fave sweet potato chips. Oh, my God, stop it.

Kate Callaghan 12:16
Yeah. Yeah. So, we need carbohydrates for that high-intensity activity, because what we what we say that kind of activity is also known as glycolytic activity. So, we burn glucose in glycolytic activity. So, without that, your body is going to have to try and make its own glucose. Now, this is kind of the low carb camp argument for no one needs to, needs to eat carbohydrates, because our body can make them when it needs them, and it does this. The reason why it’s problematic is because it does this by releasing cortisol, your stress hormone, to break down stored glucose from your liver and your muscles. And now this is the problem in our modern stressed society because cortisol is already up. And so we’re just kind of pushing it up a little bit further from the adrenal glands and really driving up our stress hormones, which is simultaneously going to deplete our sex hormones, which is going to have that impact of messing with your period, directly via lack of production of sex hormones from your adrenal glands, but also that cortisol is going to tell your brain that you’re in that stressed fight or flight state. So, it’s just going to stop talking to your ovaries to have a healthy menstrual cycle. Does that make sense? Kind of in a roundabout way?

Natalie K. Douglas 13:30
Yes. No, it does make a lot of sense. And I think, like something to really highlight is that sure a ketogenic diet can be a positive stress for some people some of the time. But when you and I like and there is the argument of yes, ancestrally, this is probably the way we were. But you have to also recognize that, as Kate pointed out, you know, we have so many more chronic stressors now, as opposed to back then they might have had sporadic acute stresses, but it wasn’t a constant chronic stress, like chronic kind of high cortisol. It was just acute and went away. And it’s, you have to always think about stressors in the body as and a thing that accumulates. So exercise, for example, is a stress. It can be a positive, like it’s a positive stress when it’s done in the right amounts but if you go and you kill yourself running marathons, you know, every weekend and do CrossFit five days a week on top of that, then it becomes negative. And there’s lots of other stressors that can be positive. But again, it needs to be taken into the context of your whole life. And Kate’s personal story was a perfect example of that. Could a keto diet have been okay for her if she wasn’t exercising like crazy, you know, probably undereating as a whole, going through a stressful emotional time when she’s planning a wedding and also the mental stress of studying a new degree. Like if that all of those things, all of those other stressors weren’t going on, sure, maybe ketogenic diet would have been okay for her and she would have coped with that and it may have even been beneficial but that’s not the case. And for the most part, I’d say that’s not the case for most females that are looking at trying to do a keto diet, like in my experience, the people that are coming to me requesting what can they do at keto diet. Do I think that would be beneficial for them. They’re, they’re feeling desperate, they feeling emotionally stressed, usually, it’s because they want to lose weight, and nothing else has worked. They’re exercising as hard as they can and, and the weights not shifting, and they want to try something else that is quote-unquote, extreme, and feels like they like they’re taking action, when really, the issue is that they’re already too many stressors that have built up and we actually need to start removing them, not adding something else in. So, I think that context is so important when it comes to the applications of a ketogenic diet. It’s not that ketogenetic or to being in ketosis is bad in itself. It’s the context in which you’re putting yourself into ketosis that really dictates whether it’s the right choice for you or not.

Kate Callaghan 16:23
Yeah, and I think, as we said, we need to remember it’s a therapeutic diet. So, it’s this specific therapy, which is designed for short term acute cases. As you said at the start, you know, epilepsy, type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, definitely, obesity. Sometimes maybe polycystic ovarian syndrome, and if there’s a lot of insulin resistance going on, but even then I’ll probably, I don’t even know if I’d go as far as ketogenic diet, because that can can deplete nutrients as well. Being that low carbohydrate, then you start even restricting your non-starchy vegetables. And so, then you need to kind of look at supplementation to make sure that you’re getting enough nutrients in in the diet.

Natalie K. Douglas 17:06
Yeah, exactly. And we’ll. Yeah, we’ll chat a bit more about kind of the whole, is there an in-between side of things between going strict keto, and and eating all of the carbs in the world. But first, like, before we do continue, I did want to also touch on keto diets in terms of thyroid health. So, that’s, it’s a question I get a lot in terms of is a keto diet bad for your thyroid? And, look, the answer to that question is usually it depends but so for some people, they will do okay on a ketogenic diet even if they have some degree of thyroid dysfunction, depending on what pattern of underactive thyroid they have, which we don’t have time to jump into at the moment. But I would say that these would be the minority of people in my experience. There are a few reasons for this and the main one is that internal carbs are necessary for the conversion of inactive T4 hormone to active T3 hormone. And another is that thyroid and adrenal issues often go hand in hand. And also, I would say, thyroid, adrenal, and sex hormone issues, or hormonal imbalance issues also go hand in hand. And there is no way that I’d have someone with adrenal issues for example, quote-unquote adrenal issues on a low carb or ketogenic diet. And it doesn’t mean that you have to go balls to the walls and become a Weet-Bix kid or like that. That’s an Australian joke. Like, do you have Weet-Bix over there?

Kate Callaghan
We do. Yeah, we’ve got Weet-Bix. Yeah.

Natalie K. Douglas
But it’s an Australian joke, you know. Weet-Bix kid, the ad, do you remember it?

Kate Callaghan 18:51
I do. I do. I don’t have TV here. So, I don’t know if that the music’s on here. I don’t. Yeah.

Natalie K. Douglas 18:56
Well, everyone just go and Google that if you like what the.

Kate Callaghan
Aussie kids are Weet-Bix kids.

Natalie K. Douglas
Yes, thank you. Oh, my God. I love it.

Kate Callaghan
We’re Weet-Bix kids.

Natalie K. Douglas
Yes that, so you do not have to be that person. But it just means, you know, add a bit of starchy carbs to most of your meals. But we’ll we’ll talk about yeah, the in between in a sec. So, just before you do. Okay, Kate. So, let’s say that someone is doing a ketogenic diet but they aren’t sure whether it’s the right thing for them or not, what are the signs that keto is not working for someone?

Kate Callaghan 19:35
So, the biggest sign that you want to look for, there’s going to be many signs, but the biggest sign you’re going to be looking for is looking for is changes in your menstrual cycle. So, this is a good reason why you should be tracking your menstrual cycle in one way or another. I really like to look at to track it in the Kindara app. Just so you know, you know, appropriate length, even when you’re ovulating, which can tell by cervical mucus, that kind of egg white consistency, mucus that indicates fertility, if that disappears, or if you know your your cervical mucus starts drying up, that’s a sign that your sex hormones are going down. And obviously, if your period disappears, that’s a really bad sign. There are other signs such as fatigue, and brain fog but these can also be signs and symptoms that would happen anyway when you transition into a keto diet if you’re doing that for therapeutic reasons, kind of known as the carb, the low carb flu but if that persists for a long time, that’s a sign that keto is not working for you. You know, that fatigue, the brain fog, and I know when someone’s following a really low carb diet, and it’s not working for them, they just kind of, they don’t seem all there. Just very spacey and can’t really communicate like that, like you need some carbs. And then obviously, things like constipation, or diarrhea if you get some kind of gut issues that are persisting because initially, your gut might take a little bit of adapting to a keto diet, but if it persists, then you want to pull back on that as well. And then hair falling out, things that would happen if your thyroid is going wonky. So, hair falling out, dry skin, constipation, depression, brain fog, not the.

Natalie K. Douglas 21:28
And also, like difficulty getting to sleep and staying asleep as well is a huge one that comes up a lot, like, and I know when I personally did a keto diet back in the day, at first like I was doing it because I had a parasite and I was trying to starve the back the parasite basically of of sugar and carbs and food or whatever. At first, like, and I was actually doing it in the context of not doing any exercise really, except for walking. And at first, I felt amazing, and then I started to lose my cycle, I started to have a lot of difficulty sleeping, all of these kinds of signs and symptoms that Kate’s talking about, because as she pointed out before therapeutic intervention, short periods of time to to treat something and then come out of it. Because it’s just where the reality of it is that there would be very few people listening to these podcasts that don’t have, you know, at least a 5 out of 10 of stress in their life. And my opinion is unless you’re below that kind of, you know, unless you’re like a less than of 4 out of 10 of stress, then and everything else is going well and you don’t have other health issues, particularly relating to your thyroid or your hormones and sure if you’re in in that space give Keto a go if you really want to. But the reality is, I don’t know very many people that don’t have, you know, a relatively significant amount of stress in their life. And whether you’re conscious to it, or you’re not conscious to it is another question. But yeah, I just don’t know about that one.

Kate Callaghan
Yeah.

Natalie K. Douglas
Um, Now, the next kind of thing we wanted to address that came up a few times in the questions that we were submitted is, is there kind of like an in-between with ketosis? And is there like, can you cycle in and out of it? What does that even mean, etc? And I would say that the answer is probably a bit complicated. But look, I’d say, yes, you can, so you can cycle in and out of like higher carbs, or moderate carbs, and low carbs. In terms of can you cycle in and out of ketosis really quickly? Most people like you won’t be able to get into a truly, like ketosis state. You, like very quickly like it takes some time for that to happen. But I don’t necessarily think you need to to get the benefits of like improved concentration, etc. So, I would say, yeah, I would say that if you. You might have, for example, a healthy thyroid, your stress levels are under control, and you’re not exercising like a maniac, then you could experiment with having a lower carb brekkie and lunch and then putting a good serve of starchy carbohydrates at dinner, or another way I often prescribe them to people is on your more active or on your training days, you have all of your carbohydrates regularly and then and also, particularly around your training, and at night. And then on your nonactive or non-training days, you can stick to more of a lower-carb diet. I wouldn’t bother with counting, you know, percent of fat protein and carbohydrates. I would just say on those, you know, lower carb days, you could stick to more non-starchy veggies and low-carb fruit like berries. But there is a big but, if your period goes missing, your hormones, like your cycle becomes irregular, or you start to experience any of the issues like sleep issues etc, that we mentioned above, then that’s a sign that that strategy perhaps isn’t working for you. But there’s lots of different ways you can you can try, like you don’t, if you’re relatively healthy you don’t necessarily have to eat. Like I know Kate and I go on about carbohydrates all of the time because we do really like them. But you don’t necessarily have to eat them multiple times a day, every single day but like the, I guess why we speak so much about doing that is because most of the people that are listening to this podcast and that are clients of Kate, of Kate and also clients of mine are the people that usually need to be reducing stress in their body and carbohydrates in moderate amounts regularly throughout the day can help to do that. So, it’s just all about context. I don’t know Kate, what do you kind of think about cycling carbohydrates in and out or ketosis in a cycle in a cyclic manner? Do you have any additional things to that or even things you disagree with?

Kate Callaghan 26:30
No, I agree with it. I really like the idea of if someone wants to do more of as you said that low carb style. I like the idea of carb backloading.

Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah.

Kate Callaghan
Which is not something I designed. It’s a guy called Kieffer, which I used to listen to a long time ago.

Natalie K. Douglas 26:45
He’s not, he’s not a fermented food. He’s the actual person.

Kate Callaghan 26:48
John Kiefer is his name. He had some good podcast episodes on Robb Wolf’s podcast, all about car back loading. So, yeah, having your carbs at night, especially after a workout when you’re more. When your cells are more sensitive to that glucose. I’ve taken don’t require insulin. And there’s also the whole concept of Carb Nite of you know, having one or carb day. So, one day a week of just really going gung ho for all of your carbs, if you’re having a lower carb day for the rest of it. So, just to kind of trigger that to support for the thyroid and the adrenals and the gut. So there’s a few different ways that you can work it to your advantage I think, but I think it’s probably best to, to work with a health practitioner, right?

Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah.

Kate Callaghan
And there is also, I really like Dr. Wahls, Terry Wahls, her keto ketogenic diet principles are more, have some carbs but really ramp up the medium-chain triglycerides. So, you’re still producing ketones and getting that neurological benefit, but you’re not going incredibly low carb that you’re missing out on nutrients.

Natalie K. Douglas 27:59
Yeah, I love that. And I totally agree. And personally, I, like I do really well with doing more of a carb backloading type situation. So, unless I’m, unless I’m going through a phase of doing a lot of exercise, like, generally speaking, I find it easier to concentrate if I have a. I don’t do keto, but if I do lower carb kind of breakfast and lunch and then have my carbs at dinner to promote, you know, thyroid health, to help promote sleep, to give my adrenals a bit of a hug, like I find that really beneficial for me. But in saying that, if I’m going through a super stressful period, I find that it’s actually more beneficial for me to let that go for a period of time and have carbohydrates regularly throughout the day. And that’s just me. And as Kate said, it is, in this kind of situation, it’s it’s pretty good idea to work with someone who can really look at that. Particularly, for example, if you have thyroid issues, or if you have, you know, any kind of mental irregularities or just hormonal issues in that regard because it really takes an individualized approach to understand what’s going to be best for you. And it’s so easy as, as just, you know, as a consumer or a patient or whatever, to just get overwhelmed by all of the information out there. And looking at all these things on Instagram where keto is just being said to be the answer to everything and it’s working really well for these people. But you don’t know everything about that person. You don’t know the context of their life, you don’t know what’s going on in their blood markers, and you really need to step back and try to not get caught up in the extreme. Like the extreme of anything, really because it’s easy to because you just, when you’re in a desperate place you just want something to work but sometimes or most often, usually, a balance in macronutrients for a stressed-out body works really well.

Kate Callaghan
Boring, who wants balanced?

Natalie K. Douglas
I know, right?

Kate Callaghan 30:14
Ketogenic diet is sexy.

Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah, so sexy.

Kate Callaghan
Can I say something on those blood markers?

Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah.

Kate Callaghan
And I just want to say this, because I had a client last week who came to me and she was actually asking if she should do a ketogenic diet because a practitioner who she’d seen before had noticed she had insulin tested.

Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah.

Kate Callaghan
And she noticed that her insulin was really, really high. And so I was talking to her about it, and she had missing periods and everything was a little bit wonky, her sex hormones were quite low, testosterone was quite low. So everything was kind of pointing to hypothalamic amenorrhea but her insulin from the last test was high. And it was out of range high. And so I said to her, I said, were you fasting when you got this insulin test done? What do you think the answer was?

Natalie K. Douglas
Yes.

Kate Callaghan
No, she wasn’t fasting. She should have been fasting.

Natalie K. Douglas 31:06
What do you mean? Oh, I get you. So, you’re not saying that it was increased because of stress.

Kate Callaghan 31:11
Her insulin wasn’t high. She wasn’t insulin resistant as it was showing.

Natalie K. Douglas
She just eat food.

Kate Callaghan
She just eaten some carbs.

Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah.

Kate Callaghan
So, your body was normally responding to that carbohydrates, but this practitioner just soared it’s high insulin and said you need to go on a really low-carb ketogenic diet, which is the worst thing for hypothalamic amenorrhea. So, please, if you’re getting your insulin to insulin tested, do it fasting.

Natalie K. Douglas 31:35
And also don’t do, like the reason why I said yes then was because I have some people who will like exercise, or they’ve gone under a lot of stress just before they’ve had the test.

Kate Callaghan
Yes.

Natalie K. Douglas
And that can also, like, have a false insulin reading. So, like, don’t do anything, don’t like, don’t eat, but also don’t, like I have a lot of people that would like rush to get their blood test done. And sometimes that can throw off a lot of markers, like it can make them cortisol look different. It can make insulin look different. It can make blood sugar look different. It can, you know, throw off a lot of these markers. So, if that happens, then at least make sure, like I will always ask someone if they don’t volunteer the information. What was the context around that blood test because it can change how things are done. But generally speaking, I get my, I get everyone to do all tests faster, just so we have a blank slate and something like you’re comparing apples with apples, especially when I’m getting like thyroid hormones tested, or sex hormones tested, anything just so you’ve got consistent results, but yeah try not to do anything different, especially when you’re, when you’re getting blood test. And don’t stress yourself out beforehand.

Kate Callaghan
Yeah.

Natalie K. Douglas
You can change things. Okay, so let’s just answer that, well, one other question that often comes up is, how is your gut health affected by a ketogenic diet, or is your gut health affected by a ketogenic diet? And I, I know that there’s some preliminary research around this and I haven’t had a jump back into it. But like, let’s just, let’s just, okay let’s forget about the science nitty-gritty stuff. Just think of it logically, like we know that fiber or prebiotics are the food for good bacteria. If you’re cutting out all of you know, all grains, or starchy carbohydrates, or fruit, and you’re limiting non-starchy vegetables, like you’re going to that extreme of a ketogenic diet, then there is very little to no food for your beneficial bacteria. So yes, your gut health or your gut microbiome is going to change. There is kind of, you know, ways that you can mitigate that a little bit with some kind of, you know, supplementation, which can help like resistant starch, etc. but most people aren’t doing that. And I would say that, although there’s not clear cut, you know, mounds and mounds of human evidence right now, I would say that it makes makes logical sense to me that long-term ketogenic diets are not optimal for for gut diversity, and gut health. And I would say that, it’s, you’d be better off unless you need to do a ketogenic diet for neurological reasons or like managing that kind of condition, you are better off doing like a non-starchy carbohydrate, like non-starchy vege rich diet. So, you’re still getting plenty of fiber, and you’re still kind of getting to the lower-carb, then you are being strict to keto, because I don’t, I don’t think we know enough yet. And I think what we do know, generally points in the direction of carbohydrates, starch, fiber, are very beneficial for gut health. And we know, we certainly know, that gut health affects pretty much every single every single system in your body. So, Kate, I don’t know if you have anything to add to that. What are your thoughts on keto and gut health?

Kate Callaghan 35:29
No, you nailed it. 100%

Natalie K. Douglas
Nailed it.

Kate Callaghan
Feed the bugs, because we’re putting all these probiotics and fermented foods and probiotic supplement, then they’ve got no food to eat.

Natalie K. Douglas 35:41
Yeah, and they will die. Like they’re just transitional. They will pass through and they will die.

Kate Callaghan 35:45
It’s just irresponsible for not feeding them.

Natalie K. Douglas 35:48
I know. It’s like neglect. Oh my god, I killed my peppermint plant as well.

Kate Callaghan 35:53
How can you kill your mint?

Natalie K. Douglas 35:55
His name was Peppy and I left him in the sunshine too long. I didn’t feed him, I’ve tried to revive him by like giving him heaps of love. I was telling him how proud I was, oh this isn’t work by the way. There’s other humans around me that are not as weird but I saw a movie once that like when you talk to plants and give them love, they grow much better. And I was like, I had nothing else because I’d watered him. I’d given him like a small amount of sunshine to try and revive him but not not up. Not even my love could save him. So, that’s just, look after your plants people and your gut health.

Kate Callaghan
Oh, dear.

Natalie K. Douglas
Okay, so last kind of question is, let’s say that someone is wanting to transition from a ketogenic diet to a more moderate carb diet. What, like, what advice would you give them? What kind of warnings would you give them? How would you tell them to start to do that? What can they expect?

Kate Callaghan 36:50
Okay, so this lady that was speaking about the other day, she was eating the most beautiful low carb high-fat diet. Man, it looked delicious. She’d nailed it but I was like, you need eat carbs. Sorry, your diet is beautiful, but you need to eat carbs. And so when someone’s been eating carb, the low carb for a really long time, as we just spoke about with that changing digestive system and changing bacteria because you kind of starving your bacteria. If you were to go straight into those amounts of carbohydrates that I would recommend for someone with hypothalamic amenorrhea, which is about a cup per main meal. So, nothing to cut the meal then you would probably feel a lot of digestive discomfort, bloating, and just not feel great in yourself. So, short answer, slowly. Increase slowly. So, I’ve, I usually recommend if you’re gone from not eating much carbs at all I start with a quarter cup at each main meal.

Natalie K. Douglas 37:45
Yeah. I’d agree. Yeah, go slow and and also don’t freak out if you get a little bit of gas, a little bit of like, just adjustment, that’s okay. Like, of course, if you’re like. If you’re blowing your house down or people are passing out around you then yes, maybe be a little bit concerned that there might be some dysbiosis going on and book an appointment to see someone. But if you just, you know, a little bit gassy here and there, let it out, move on, it will subside. But you know, you’re feeding, you’re feeding little bacteria, and they, they do eat that stuff and they do produce a little bit of gas. And as Kate said, gas is normal as long as it’s not you know, ridiculous amounts or you know, smells so bad that people don’t want to spend time with you, then yes that is telling you something about your gut health and that it needs to be addressed.

Kate Callaghan 38:37
I just blame it on the kids these days.

Natalie K. Douglas 38:40
I would like, if I do a smelly fart and the dogs around, I’m like, oh my God, Kira, that is nasty. Such a good strategy kids or loud traffic is another one that I’ll be able to fart, loud traffic works a charm.

Kate Callaghan 38:53
Anyway.

Natalie K. Douglas 38:59
You know, I actually have a friend that in like, multiple years of marriage has only ever farted in front of her partner once. I was like, oh my gosh. Like, that’s amazing.

Kate Callaghan 39:15
It gets at all tummy. I remember the first time I farted around Az, I was actually lying across his laps.

Natalie K. Douglas
Oh, that’s funny. Unless you gonna do it just go all out, right?

Kate Callaghan
Literally, fart straight out to his nose. So, when we were first dating, I would not fart in front of him and I would always. If I was staying at his house, I would vacate the apartment and like go downstairs or to a public toilet to do a poo. It was like no, hard pooing at his toilet.

Natalie K. Douglas 39:41
Yeah, no, I know. And we all, we all kind of do that. But I think it gets to a point where you’re like, all right, but if I’m gonna be spending the rest of my life for this person they’re gonna have to recognize that I’m human and I do poo and I do fart.

Kate Callaghan
Yeah, exactly. Everybody farts it’s better out than in.

Natalie K. Douglas
That’s right. It really is, like holding your fart it is so uncomfortable.

Kate Callaghan
So, uncomfortable.

Natalie K. Douglas
Or holding your fart in yoga, oh talk about not getting the benefits of yoga because you just trying to constrict everything and you’re supposed to be trying to relax.

Kate Callaghan 40:12
Yeah.

Natalie K. Douglas
Anyway.

Kate Callaghan
Straight after if you have a baby, you cannot hold farts in. Like you bend over.

Natalie K. Douglas
The kids again.

Kate Callaghan
The kids, they’ve destroyed it down there.

Natalie K. Douglas 40:33
Oh, I know, this is so funny.

Kate Callaghan
And you do fanny farts and oh.

Natalie K. Douglas
Fanny farts are more, are more embarrassing than like no sounds because they sound so like.

Kate Callaghan 40:41
Do you know what they’re actually called a quiff.

Natalie K. Douglas 40:46
Oh my God. How we, oh my. All right. We need to wrap this up.

Kate Callaghan 40:50
You wrap it up now.

Natalie K. Douglas 40:54
Okay, so.

Kate Callaghan
Oh God.

Natalie K. Douglas
Hopefully, someone’s laughing with us to fart. Anyway, that’s all for now. Thank you for those of you who sent in your questions because it is helpful that we can address what you guys want to know. We will also be doing a podcast on intermittent fasting for women shortly as well so that we can address that because that’s been another common question that we get. But if you guys have any questions relating to that topic or you have other suggestions, please let us know. Also, make sure you jump on to my new fancy website NatalieKDouglas.com and do the thyroid symptom checker quiz. And, Kate, anything you want to add?

Kate Callaghan 41:35
I am launching another round of the healing hypothalamic amenorrhea e-course, mid-October.

Natalie K. Douglas
Awesome.

Kate Callaghan
So, if anyone wants to take part I’m limiting it to 10 people so, I can give them enough love and attention and shoot me an email [email protected]

Natalie K. Douglas 41:49
Excellent. Alright, well, thank you very much and have a good day.

Kate Callaghan
You too.

Natalie K. Douglas
Bye.

Kate Callaghan
Bye.

Outro 41:56
Thanks for tuning in to The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast. Remember, we love to make the show relevant to you. So, if you have any questions or topics you’d like discussed on the show, simply submit them to [email protected] or [email protected] and we’ll get them answered for you. Also, don’t forget to subscribe, rate, and review the podcast on iTunes and share it with your friends and family too. Need more personalized nutrition advice? Why not invest in a consultation to accelerate your journey to your optimal health. You can find Nat over at HealthByWholefoods.com.au and Kate at TheHolisticNutritionist.com. See you next time, guys.

OUR MISSION

The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast - with Natalie K. Douglas and Kate Callaghan

Welcome to The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast!

If a professional, polished, well-edited podcast is what you’re after…then we’re not for you!

But if you love unfiltered banter, unedited bloopers and authentic heart sharing then we are your ladies.

We also have the most practical tips on holistic and alternative health care too 😉

Have a question that you want answered on the podcast or want to be interviewed? Get in touch!

YOUR HOSTS

Natalie K. Douglas | Thyroid Healer

Natalie K. Douglas | Thyroid Healer

Natalie K. Douglas ("Nat") is a Holistic Dietitian and Nutritionist dedicated to Thyroid, gut and hormone healing.

Nat shows stressed, burnt out, overwhelmed women how to value their worth again, change their mindset habits, prioritize healing, and reclaim their vitality. Guaranteed.

Her clients say she’s the right girl to see if you’ve tried the conventional approach and nothing has worked.

Kate Callaghan | The Holistic Nutritionist

Kate Callaghan | The Holistic Nutritionist

Kate Callaghan is a Holistic Nutritionist, Personal Trainer and Lifestyle Coach who specializes in women's hormone healing.

She recognizes that there is no “one size fits all” diet or “magic bullet” which is going to cure all illnesses.

She focuses on having a thorough understanding of your personal goals, needs, likes/dislikes, support networks and lifestyle in order to create a food and lifestyle approach that suits YOU.

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