The benefits of the ketogenic diet in terms of weight loss are undeniable. But it is also undeniable that there are certain side effects that come with the territory, especially in the transition stage. Some people claim that one of the side effects of the ketogenic diet is that it negatively affects your sex life. In this article, we go deep into this issue to see whether there is any truth to the belief that going on the keto diet will lower your sex drive as it strips off fat.
In a Nutshell
Haven’t got time to read the full article? No problem, here a snapshot of what we discovered about the keto diet and sex drive . . .
The keto diet will, probably, affect your sex drive. However, for many of us, that impact will be more positive than negative. Transitioning to keto increases your levels of sex hormones – estrogen in women and testosterone in men. This will help to boost your sex life. Of course, when you work out and when you lose weight, you will naturally improve your sex drive as well.
Any negative keto diet impact upon sex drive, for both men and women, will invariably occur in the first week or two that you transition to the ketogenic diet. During that period you will feel tired lethargic, fatigued and lackluster as your energy levels drop. This is the time your body switches from a blood glucose burning to a fat-burning energy system and weight loss kicks in. However, those lagging energy levels will soon rebound. When they do, your sex drive will supercharge itself – and you will be very pleased that you changed over to the ketogenic diet. Your sexual desire and the satisfaction of you and your partner will both go through the roof!
Your Sex Hormones
So, what happens to your sexual desire as controlled by your hormones when you go on the keto diet?
Sex Drive in Women
Let’s start by considering how women’s sex drive is affected by the keto diet. Your high fat ketogenic diet will boost your estrogen levels. Conversely, if you were on a low-fat diet your levels of testosterone and estradiol (another sex hormone) would diminish. This will probably only be significant during menopause, which is the time when hormone levels naturally drop.
For women, however, the increased healthy fats on the keto diet will very likely offset the lower levels of testosterone and estradiol.
Fortunately, keto aims at adding a lot of healthy fats to your diet, and those will help boost your sex hormone levels.
Women should be aware, though, that the keto diet may lead to heavier periods. This will be more likely during the transition phase to the keto diet. Keto may also lead to some irregularity in your period, such as it coming early. This is due to fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone levels that occur when you lose a lot of weight on the keto diet.
This, however, is not uncommon with diets that aim at rapid weight loss. Losing a lot of weight fast, as you will do on the keto diet, has an impact on the balance of your estrogen and progesterone levels. The keto diet will indirectly enhance a woman’s fertility. This happens whenever you lose a significant amount of body fat.
Sex Drive in Men
A number of studies have shown that testosterone levels increase when a person significantly increases their healthy fats. When fats are reduced, so, too, is the testosterone level. Of course, the keto diet is very high in fats, which means that it will help to improve your testosterone count. This will not only increase your sexual desire, it will help to boost your muscle mass and assist with fat loss.
Contrary to what many people believe, the keto diet will not lead to erectile dysfunction. Increased testosterone levels, in addition to the enhanced levels of nitric oxide that comes as a result of eating many keto diet approved foods, will actually boost the ability to get an erection.
Of course, the transition period to keto will cause a period of lethargy during which you will have low sex drive. But that is very temporary. Once you have adjusted to using fat as your key energy source, your sex drive will actually increase.
Sex Drive Boosting Nutrition
In this section, we present four ketogenic diet-friendly, foods that are great for boosting your sex drive. Some of them work by lowering blood pressure, which, in turn, improves the flow of blood and nitric oxide to the penis for improved erections.
Walnuts are fantastic for lowering blood pressure. In one study, simply adding walnuts to the diet led to a staggering 10% drop in systolic blood pressure, with the average for the study group going from 148 down to 131!
Recent studies have also shown that walnuts are a key weapon in the fight against saturated fat. Saturated fats stop you getting an erection due to their propensity to slow down blood flow. They also harden the arteries. Walnuts have the power to reverse both of these effects.
Walnuts work along with such other compounds as green tea to lower the body’s LDL and total cholesterol count.
Walnuts contain an abundance of health-promoting nutrients, antioxidants, and vitamins, including Vitamin E, to protect the arteries.
Even though they come in small packages, walnuts contain a lot of calories. So, you don’t want to go overboard on them. Most of the research that has been conducted so far involved dosages of just 6-8 walnuts per day.
It may not give you the most pleasant of breaths, but garlic has an amazing ability to bring down your blood pressure. In so doing, it will increase the blood flow to your penis, enhancing your ability to have an erection.
A recent meta-study, which considered the results from a number of other studies, found an average of about 8 and 7 points in systolic and diastolic blood pressure for people who have high blood pressure. That is an incredible result for taking just one food more regularly.
Garlic has a super ability to increase blood flow. A study involving healthy young females, showed an increase of blood flow to the calf muscle of 15%.
Garlic will also improve the health of the endothelium. It will also enhance the functioning of the penile arteries. It also reduces cholesterol, decreases blood clots, and prevents the oxidation of LDL cholesterol.
Peppers have been under a lot of scrutiny recently as a result of the health giving benefits resulting from their hotness. The compound that is the root of all of the excitement is called capsaicin.
Capsaicin has been shown in numerous studies to boost the production of nitric oxide along with the relaxation of the arterial vessels. This takes place in a dose dependent manner. That means that the more capsaicin you take, the greater the nitric oxide boosting benefits.
Capsaicin works its magic by way of a unique pathway; calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP). This neurotransmitter is a very powerful stimulator of nitric oxide and a potent vasodilator.
Watermelon is a delicious, refreshing treat. It is also a very good alternate pathway for the creation of arginine, from which nitric oxide is produced.
Taking this indirect route to getting more arginine in your body is a smart move. That’s because taking arginine as a supplement has been known to stimulate the herpes virus in some men. Taking watermelon will allow you to increase your amount of arginine without risking herpes.
Watermelon rind provides the highest amount of citrulline. The flesh of the fruit has about a third less citrulline, but tastes a whole lot better. Two cups of watermelon flesh, totaling around 300 grams, will give you approximately 400 mg of citrulline. You also get a healthy dose of phytochemicals and nutrients.
Get into the habit of eating watermelon every day and you will be boosting your citrulline count and increasing your body’s production of arginine. This will, in turn, convert to nitric oxide which then opens up your blood vessels to allow your blood to engorge your penis.
Popcorn is surprisingly healthy for you. Among its many benefits, it is high in arginine. In fact, it has as much arginine as walnuts. Another plus when it comes to popcorn is that it fills you up, preventing you from taking in too many excess calories. This also helps your ability to get an erection. After all, too many carbs or fat will restrict the efficient operation of your cardiovascular system.
Be aware that the plainer the popcorn that you eat, the better to help you lose weight.
The belief that the keto diet will negatively affect your sex life is, essentially, a myth. While it is true that you will have a diminished libido during the transition from a carb-based to a fat-based energy system, once you get past this initial period of the diet, your sex drive will actually increase, as you experience more energy, more hormonal activity, and reduced body fat!