5 Truths About How Dieting & Undereating Affects Women's Hormones and Health
Diet culture and vegan propaganda is one of the most dangerous trends being promoted as "HEALTH", especially for women. The amount of symptoms and health issues I see arising in women in my practice from this type of faulty way of eating and relating to food is ALARMING.
It's literally destroying our hormone health and creating massive amounts of stress on our bodies. Which is WHY I will continue speaking out and raising awareness. Trends such as excessive fasting, dropping calories for weight loss, low carb, low fat and even veganism was never really about our health.
In this article I'll outline how diet trends can negatively impact your hormone and overall health and wellbeing.
1. Dieting is raising your cortisol levels and causing more imbalance.
Restrictive dieting, vegan eating, skipping meals, fasting and going long periods without eating ALL raise your cortisol levels. Now add that to your work, family and regular life stress and you have yourself a big problem. Chronic high levels of cortisol leads to hormonal imbalances like excess estrogen, not enough progesterone and too much testosterone, which create a domino effect for more imbalances.
Elevated cortisol in the body will also cause blood sugar dysregulation regardless of how often you eat. The body releases cortisol if there's not enough glucose available. This cycle keeps blood sugar levels like a roller coaster (always fluctuating), which means more sugar cravings, more energy crashes, and off the charts cortisol levels. Long term, this can mess with your ability to stabilize your blood sugar.
2. Dieting is affecting your gut health, digestion and detoxification.
Undereating is a huge stress on your body. When you undereat your body goes into conservation mode. It slows down function like digestion and even detoxification. This cause hormonal issues, bloating, irregularity and constipation, and sluggish liver function.
Digestion requires energy from food. Detoxification requires energy from food. Less energy from digestion means your food is not being properly broken down, nutrients aren't being extracted or properly absorbed, and food sensitivities are more likely to happen. When you don't get enough nutrients and the specific nutrients needed for phase 1 and phase 2 liver detoxification, your body doesn't produce enough bile. Bile is made in the liver and helps you poop and detox.
3. Dropping your carbs and lowering your caloric intake doesn't guarantee weight loss, especially not healthy weight loss.
Low calorie diets are dangerous, and I can guarantee you it means you're getting less nutrients: protein, fat, carbs, and minerals. When you slash calories, you're basically slashing nutrients. Women require an adequate amount of nutrients to maintain the health of our hormones and all of our body systems.
With so many women on a "clean eating" plan as it is, women are often undernourished without even knowing it. A woman needs a minimun of 80 to 100 grams of bio-available protein per day. Along with enough minerals to support our hormones and adrenals.
4. Dieting fucks with your thyroid.
Your labs may come back as "normal", but your thyroid could be suffering and your diet is causing it. Stress and high cortisol levels suppress your thyroid function. Thyroid hormones impacts all body systems: liver function, hormones, digestion, sleep, blood sugar balancing, metabolism, immunity and fertility.
The thyroid needs safety to function, and a fully nourished body means safety. So consistently getting enough nutrient dense foods by eating every 3 to 4 hours is important. Your thyroid also needs glucose (carbohydrates). Low carb diets will suppress your thyroid.
5. Short-term dieting results mean long-term damage to your metabolism.
While you might initially lose weight, most of what you're actually losing is muscle mass and water weight. When you give your body less nutrients, it's forced to utilize it's own muscle tissue for energy. While you may think you're using up "stored fat" as energy, you are teaching our body to store MORE fat.
Glucose is your body's preferred source of fuel, when you don't get enough, your body and liver become stressed. Our body will prioritize creating stress hormones, storing fat, and losing muscle FIRST. By losing muscle, you are creating long-term damage. Muscle is metabolically active, and maintaining muscle mass is the best way to support your metabolism
Love and health,