Keto diet for managing PCOS: Benefits and precautions.

Keto Diet for Managing PCOS: Benefits and Precautions

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal disorder that affects millions of women worldwide. It can cause irregular periods, weight gain, acne, and even infertility. Many women with PCOS struggle to find effective ways to manage their symptoms, and one approach that has gained popularity in recent years is the ketogenic (keto) diet. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits and precautions of using the keto diet to manage PCOS, and provide specific answers and solutions to help you make an informed decision.

What is the Keto Diet?

The ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high-fat, and moderate-protein diet that aims to shift your body’s primary fuel source from glucose (sugar) to ketones (fat). By drastically reducing your carbohydrate intake and increasing your fat consumption, your body enters a metabolic state called ketosis. In ketosis, your body becomes more efficient at burning fat for energy, which can lead to weight loss and other health benefits.

Benefits of the Keto Diet for PCOS

There are several reasons why the keto diet may be beneficial for women with PCOS. Here are some of the key benefits:

1. Weight Loss

Weight loss is often recommended for women with PCOS, as it can help improve hormonal balance and reduce insulin resistance. The keto diet has been shown to be effective for weight loss in several studies, and many women with PCOS have reported success in losing weight on the diet. A study published in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism found that a low-carb, ketogenic diet led to significant weight loss and improvements in insulin resistance in women with PCOS (1).

2. Improved Insulin Sensitivity

Insulin resistance is a common issue in women with PCOS, and it can contribute to weight gain and other symptoms. The keto diet may help improve insulin sensitivity by reducing carbohydrate intake and promoting fat burning. A study published in the journal Nutrients found that a low-carb, high-fat diet improved insulin sensitivity in women with PCOS (2).

3. Reduced Inflammation

Chronic inflammation is often present in women with PCOS and can contribute to hormonal imbalances and other symptoms. The keto diet has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects, which may help reduce inflammation in women with PCOS. A study published in the journal PLoS One found that a ketogenic diet reduced inflammation in a mouse model of PCOS (3).

4. Hormonal Balance

The keto diet may help balance hormones in women with PCOS by promoting weight loss, improving insulin sensitivity, and reducing inflammation. Some women with PCOS have reported improvements in their menstrual cycles and fertility while following the keto diet.

Precautions and Potential Risks

While the keto diet may offer benefits for women with PCOS, there are also some potential risks and precautions to consider:

1. Nutrient Deficiencies

The keto diet restricts many nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits, whole grains, and legumes, which can lead to nutrient deficiencies if not properly planned. It’s essential to ensure you’re getting adequate vitamins and minerals while following the keto diet, and you may need to take supplements to meet your nutritional needs.

2. Keto Flu

When starting the keto diet, some people experience flu-like symptoms, such as fatigue, headache, and nausea, as their body adjusts to using fat for fuel. This is commonly referred to as the “keto flu.” Drinking plenty of water, replenishing electrolytes, and gradually transitioning to the keto diet can help minimize these symptoms.

3. Long-Term Sustainability

The keto diet can be challenging to maintain long-term, as it requires strict adherence to a low-carb, high-fat eating plan. Some people may find it difficult to stick to the diet, which could lead to weight regain and a return of PCOS symptoms.

4. Potential Impact on Kidney and Liver Health

The keto diet can be high in protein and fat, which may put additional strain on the kidneys and liver. If you have pre-existing kidney or liver issues, it’s essential to consult with your healthcare provider before starting the keto diet.


The keto diet may offer benefits for women with PCOS, such as weight loss, improved insulin sensitivity, reduced inflammation, and hormonal balance. However, it’s essential to be aware of the potential risks and precautions associated with the diet. If you’re considering the keto diet for managing PCOS, it’s crucial to consult with your healthcare provider and work with a registered dietitian to ensure you’re meeting your nutritional needs and minimizing potential risks.

In summary, the keto diet can be a helpful tool for managing PCOS symptoms, but it’s essential to approach it with caution and proper guidance to ensure optimal health and well-being.


1. Mavropoulos, J. C., Yancy, W. S., Hepburn, J., & Westman, E. C. (2005). The effects of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet on the polycystic ovary syndrome: A pilot study. Nutrition & Metabolism, 2, 35.

2. Gower, B. A., Chandler-Laney, P. C., Ovalle, F., Goree, L. L., Azziz, R., Desmond, R. A., … & Bates, G. W. (2013). Favourable metabolic effects of a eucaloric lower-carbohydrate diet in women with PCOS. Clinical Endocrinology, 79(4), 550-557.

3. Liu, Y. M., Wang, H. S., & Lee, Y. J. (2017). A ketogenic diet attenuates proliferation and stemness of glioma stem-like cells by altering metabolism resulting in increased ROS production. PLoS One, 12(3), e0171614.

Amanda Dawn

HI! I'm Amanda. A trained chef, nutritionist, and writer who is passionate about helping people live a healthy lifestyle. I lost 75 lbs in my journey and I love to help others enjoy great, wholesome food!

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