One of the biggest sources of misinformation about the keto diet has to do with ketosis and hormone imbalance. But here’s the truth: ketosis does not cause hormonal issues. A correctly followed and monitored keto diet can actually have benefits for hormonal health.
Here’s how ketosis and hormone imbalance are linked and what to know about them when following the Keto Zone Diet.
There’s a lot to know when it comes to beliefs about ketosis and hormone imbalance. It’s true that what you eat can affect your hormones, but that doesn’t mean it’s always a bad thing. Let’s look at the facts.
The most common myth regarding ketosis and hormone imbalance is that eating a ketogenic diet is bad for your thyroid. Let’s look at why this isn’t the case:
Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), which is secreted by your pituitary gland, stimulates your thyroid to make the hormone thyroxine (T4). T4 converts to triiodothyronine (T3). Hypothyroidism, a disorder where the thyroid doesn’t make enough hormones, is usually diagnosed due to high TSH and low T4.
But eating a keto diet has been associated with lower levels of T3, not T4. Plus:
So, when a keto diet is done right, it may actually help support normal thyroid functioning. That being said, if you have a medical condition hypothyroidism, it’s best to consult with your doctor.
Another concern is that the ketogenic diet can upset communication to the hypothalamic, pituitary, adrenal (HPA) axis—our main stress response system—causing problems.
However, there is no evidence that ketosis affects the HPA axis . What we do know is that ketones use a different pathway that might be even more efficient .
Plus, ketosis has been shown to have little or no effect on cortisol (stress hormone) levels [4, 5].
As is covered in the Keto Zone Diet book, keto is truly great for balancing the hormones ghrelin and leptin. (Ghrelin increases your hunger, while leptin decreases it. )
When these hormones are imbalanced, as they often are when you’re overweight, eating a poor diet, and/or get older, your appetite signals are all off and it leads to more weight gain.
Unlike other diets, the Keto Zone Diet helps to balance these appetite hormones and prevent them from sabotaging your health and weight loss plans. Plus, the abundance of healthy fats, including omega-3s, slows digestion time so you feel fuller and satisfied longer.
We’ve also seen many people starting keto specifically to address hormonal imbalances—whether that’s for menopause problems, hormonal acne, or conditions like endometriosis or PCOS . Many anecdotal accounts also report relief from symptoms after getting into the Keto Zone.
As we’ve covered, a keto diet and ketosis don’t directly cause hormonal imbalance. If you do have hormonal imbalance, the first step is finding a doctor who will take it seriously. They can help you get bloodwork done to see anything that needs to be addressed.
Along with that, other ways to naturally support balanced hormones on the Keto Zone Diet include: