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Do Low-Carbohydrate Diets Negatively Affect Female Hormone Balance?

Key Findings

Carbohydrate restriction does not result in alterations of ovulation, menses, or other indicators of women’s hormonal health.
Low-carbohydrate diets have demonstrated positive benefits to women’s hormonal health.
Extreme calorie restriction is likely to affect women’s hormonal balance and health.
Those women who are leaner and exercise more are at greater risk of negative effects from excessive or prolonged energy restriction.

A common claim currently doing the rounds is that a low-carb or keto-diet will negatively affect either ‘female hormone balance’, menstrual cycles, or ovulation.

It is claimed that there is a minimum amount of carbohydrate (i.e. 200 g per day) required to preserve hormone status and ovulation, along with other indicators of hormonal health.

Does This Claim Stack Up?

There is no evidence that 200 g per day is required to preserve markers of female hormone balance. In fact, the most commonly cited study to support the idea that there is a minimum requirement for carbohydrate showed no such thing.


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