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Can keto help reduce or eliminate uterine fibroids?

Can a keto diet help reduce or eliminate uterine fibroids? What’s the best birth control for women with PCOS? And how to treat mood swings on a keto diet?

Get the answers to these questions in this week’s Q&A with fertility specialist Dr. Fox:

Can keto help reduce or eliminate uterine fibroids?

I am 39 and I was diagnosed with a fibroid of 6 cm (or 2.4 in) on the upper part of my uterus, and as I’m unable to do an operation right now (due to the coronavirus situation), I thought that maybe a keto diet can help.

I thought if keto may help the elimination of cancer cells, then it might also help reduce the growth of fibroids. Is this true? Is the metabolic system of the fibroid cells sensitive to a keto diet, in a similar way that cancerous cells are?

Many thanks,
Elpi

 
Dr. Fox:

Elpi, this is a great question.

Unfortunately, there is no data on this topic. I do tell patients all the time that polyps, cancer, skin tags, etc., all are tumorous growth known to be stimulated by insulin. I know of no reason fibroids would not follow the same path. Therefore, I encourage many patients with fibroids to pursue LCHF to slow development and recurrence.

 

What’s the best birth control for women 40+ with PCOS?

Hi Dr. Fox!

I’m 42 and will soon need to remove my Mirena IUD.

My family is complete – thanks to your advocacy of low carb – and my primary goal is now birth control that minimizes PCOS symptoms without creating additional inflammation as my hs-CRP levels are a touch high. I’m also still obese, though I’m working on that.

What’s the best option for someone who needs to balance hormones and not introduce additional inflammation (as I believe Mirena and other IUDs typically do)?

Thank you!
Alisa

 
Dr. Fox:

Ali, this is a common question.

There are positives and negatives in my mind now to oral contraceptive pill (OCP) ovarian suppression for PCOS.

There is a benefit to suppression of male hormone production from the ovary, we just need to protect estrogen levels. The negative aspect relates to most women on OCPs experiencing low estrogen effect, something that would definitely have been the case with the Mirena and its progesterone component.

Therefore, now for our PCOS patients, we recommend supplementing estrogen in addition to the suppression with OCPs. Often we make up our own OCP through the use of Norethindrone acetate 5 mg per day and combining it with estradiol, preferable in a non-oral preparation such as weekly injections or patch shooting for estrogen levels of 150 or more, although oral estrogen can be used.

Contrary to popular belief, PCOS is a lower than normal estrogen state long term. Estrogen definitely counteracts the influence of male hormones on the skin and hair changes associated with PCOS (positive).

Low estrogen can make one more insulin resistant. For example, if OCPs or the IUD is utilized, the male-hormone production goes down, but the low-estrogen effect can increase insulin resistance, maybe to the point of canceling the benefit through worsening weight gain and other insulin-resistance stimulated disease. If Mirena is chosen we need to add estradiol to balance the estrogen suppressing effect. We shoot for estradiol levels >150 pg/ml or so.

I’m sorry this is a very technical answer but hopefully, you can understand my logic.

 

What to do about mood swings on keto?

Hi,

My girlfriend started keto two weeks ago, and recently she’s showing mood swings and becoming agitated over nothing.

Is it connected? What can she do?

Tom

 
Dr. Fox:

Tom, good question.

As with any drug withdrawal, ketogenic nutrition can produce odd symptoms in the first seven days as the body withdraws from carbohydrates. Beyond that for the next two months, some people may suffer from hypoglycemia until they become keto-adapted. Hypoglycemia causes anxiety and mood changes.

If this is the case, I recommend eating at least 200 calories every three hours without fail during that two-month period. Once adapted, longer intervals without fuel are much better tolerated.

Hope that helps.

 

More questions and answers

Questions and answers about low carb

Read all earlier questions and answers to Dr. Fox – and ask your own! – here:

Ask Dr. Fox about nutrition, low carb and fertility – for members (free trial available)
Videos with Dr. FoxStressing less to get pregnant10:57Stress is a common cause of infertility. But how can you avoid it? Dr. Michael Fox answers.What to eat to get pregnant13:06Can you increase your chances of becoming pregnant by avoiding eating too many carbohydrates? Dr. Fox about food and fertility.Eat LCHF, get pregnant27:22Can you increase your chances of becoming pregnant by avoiding eating too many carbohydrates? Interview with Dr. Michael Fox.Women, hormones and nutrition47:53Presentation by physician and fertility expert Dr. Michael Fox on nutrition as a treatment for infertility, PCOS and menopause.The cure for morning sickness09:57What’s the key to avoiding morning sickness during pregnancy? Fertility-expert Dr. Michael Fox answers.Is coffee bad for you?07:08Can coffee be bad for you? The low-carb friendly fertility specialist Dr. Michael Fox has some pretty controversial ideas on the subject.Exercise less and get pregnant13:35What many people believe is healthful – to run more and eat less – may do more harm than good. Interview with Dr. Michael Fox.
Q&AEverything in moderation?05:44What’s the point of low carb, shouldn’t we all just try to eat everything in moderation? Top low-carb doctors answer this question.Is low carb bad for exercise?02:45Can you exercise on a low-carb diet? Top low-carb doctors answer this question.Does the brain need carbohydrates?05:56Doesn’t the brain need carbohydrates? Doctors answer common questions.Is low carb an extreme diet?06:20Is low carb really an extreme diet? Top low-carb doctors answer this question.Can you get depressed on low carb?02:42Can you get depressed on a low-carb diet? Top low-carb doctors answer this question.Is low carb bad for the kidneys?04:25Can a low-carb diet potentially be bad for the kidneys? Or is it just a myth, like most other low-carb fears?Are there potential dangers with a low-carb diet?09:30Can a low-carb diet potentially be dangerous? And if so – how? Top low-carb doctors answer these questions.What is the main benefit of low carb?02:52What exactly is the greatest benefit of low carb? Doctors give their top answer.Women’s questions introduction01:36In this video series, you can find expert views on some of your top questions about low-carb and women’s health.Is low carb bad for the environment?07:09Won’t low carb contribute to global warming and pollution? Top low-carb doctors answer this question.Why is low carb important to you?04:16Why is low carb important to Dr. Rangan Chatterjee and Dr. Sarah Hallberg?Is low carb bad for gut bacteria?02:14Can a low-carb diet be potentially harmful to your gut microbiome?

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Saturated fat goes mainstream

Arguably the most influential cardiology journal, The Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC), published a paper from Dr. Ron Krauss, Dr. Jeff Volek, Dr. Andrew Mente, and others. In it, the medical professionals call for a reassessment of the proposed “dangers” of eating saturated fat.

This is big. Really big.

“Whole-fat dairy, unprocessed meat, eggs, and dark chocolate are SFA-rich foods with a complex matrix that are not associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). The totality of available evidence does not support further limiting the intake of such foods,” the paper concludes.

Back in February, we wrote about a workshop with many of the same scientists back in February. During this workshop, the clinicians concluded:

“Meta-analyses of both adequately controlled randomized trials of saturated fatty acid reduction and observational studies have found no significant evidence for effects of dietary saturated fat intake on cardiovascular disease or total mortality.”

This conclusion was big enough news to have esteemed mainstream scientists confirm that science does not support current guidelines that limit dietary saturated fat. But, for these scientists to then go further and have their paper published in the most mainstream journal, seems unprecedented.

Could this be a sign of a shifting tide?

The anti-saturated fat message is so deeply ingrained in medicine, and more specifically in cardiology, that I am not overly optimistic that beliefs will change quickly.

But articles, like this one published by the JACC, are crucial to help educate physicians about the evidence, or lack therefore, against saturated fats. Given that physicians have been misled for decades, it’s unlikely that their opinions on the matter will change overnight. But, for the sake of science and peoples’ health, we have to start somewhere.

As we have written before, large meta-analyses of saturated fat intake only find a minimal increased risk of heart disease with no difference in risk of dying. And this is without any of the nuances Dr. Krauss and colleagues call for.

Once you introduce the caveats of food-specific findings, the composition of the rest of a person’s diet, while also assessing small vs. large low-density lipoproteins (LDL) (particles that transport lipids throughout the body), you can then see how the risk of saturated fat intake melts away.

This is the message we want to provide to more doctors, nurses, and nutritionists. This is the message we promote in our free CME course and in our evidence-based guide on saturated fat.

Please share them with your favorite clinician(s) today!

Thanks for reading,
Bret Scher, MD FACC

Earlier

Late dinner is worse for your health

Research shows higher-protein diets increase lean muscle mass

Low-carb diet (plus whey protein) improves health markers, study shows

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Get delicious recipes, amazing meal plans, video courses, health guides, and weight loss advice from doctors, dietitians, and other experts.

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25% of Americans are snacking more since the pandemic hit

Struggling to not eat everything in sight since the pandemic hit? You’re not alone.

In fact, during the early stages of the Covid-19 outbreak, cookie and cracker sales in the US increased by almost 30%, which is “a gargantuan leap in the world of groceries,” according to a recent article in The New York Times.

Now, this might have you thinking, ‘Of course people bought more snacks; they were likely preparing for inevitable shutdowns and were buying food in bulk.’ But this uptick in snack purchases by US consumers hasn’t just been a result of hoarding, the Times reports.

Instead, people have been buying snacks and eating them — only to then return to the grocery store to buy more, according to the same article by the Times.

Additionally, one in four people surveyed in April of 2020 by Sanford C. Bernstein, an investment research and institutional asset management company, admitted to eating “more salty and sugary snacks” since the pandemic hit.

If, like these snackers, you’ve been treating yourself to more for-fun foods than usual — and feel as if you’ve fallen off the health wagon in the last few months — Diet Doctor can help you to reclaim control over your cravings and cut down on snacking.

For one, we firmly believe that it’s important to prioritize meal time and make sure you’re getting the proper amount of protein and fats with breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Doing so should help to eliminate your desire to munch throughout the day.

But, we also understand that preparing each meal can start to feel like a drag — at least without some helpful advice and inspiration.

For a fresh approach to keto and low-carb cooking during this time — especially if you’re the chef of the household — check out our new guide, Cooking low carb during a coronavirus quarantine. Here, you’ll find advice on where to find recipes, how to grocery shop, and what to do if you’re cooking for both low-carb and non-low-carb eaters.

If it’s the hassle of prepping meals that’s sent you into a snacking spiral, be sure to peruse our new No-cook low-carb and keto meals for delicious low-carb breakfast, lunch, dinner (and dessert!) recipes that require either minimal cooking or no cooking at all.

If you’ve been crushing it at your usual meal routine, but the boredom (or anxiety) of staying home still has you feeling just a bit “peckish,” as the Australians would say, give our Feeling Snack-y? column a read ASAP.

In this short piece, Diet Doctor’s Kristie Sullivan offers up advice on what to do when you just can’t seem to refrain from eating the entire tub of keto ice cream. Or worse, if you’ve recently found yourself elbow-deep in a bag of potato chips.

Finally, if you feel you need a total redirect to get you back on-track, our free Get Started Challenge is always there for you, offering two weeks of meal plans, recipes, and curated information.

Start your FREE 30-day trial!

Get delicious recipes, amazing meal plans, video courses, health guides, and weight loss advice from doctors, dietitians, and other experts.

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