Real Women Share Their Experiences With the Keto Diet

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Amanda Montell

One of the buzziest—and most contentious—diets to sweep the wellness scene in recent history is the ketogenic (or keto) diet. This eating plan is low-carb and high-fat and can make you drop weight like crazy but also causes intense cravings, mood swings, hormonal fluctuations, and something deeply unpleasant called the "keto flu." The diet works by cutting out carbs and sugar, quickly depleting the body's energy stores and forcing it to find alternative sources of fuel, which, for the brain and nervous system, would be ketones, a product that runs on fat. By eating a diet high in the fats found in foods like coconut oil, nuts, avocado, and fatty fish, your body starts to produce ketones at a high rate. When there are enough ketones in the bloodstream, you enter a metabolic state called ketosis (the end goal of those on the keto diet), where your body burns fat but not muscle.

The keto diet is controversial for women in particular because our hormones, cravings, and calorie requirements differ from men's. For that reason, women's keto experiences are sometimes more fraught. To hear first-person stories from real women who've tried going keto (or are currently on the diet), we tapped members of The/Thirty's Facebook group and scoured Reddit to find folks willing to share. Keep scrolling for six women's accounts of what it's like to go keto.