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03 September 2018, 13:37

Eating Fewer Carbohydrates Can Have Negative Effects on Your Energy Levels and Libido

The supposed benefits of the ketogenic diet have been heavily debated for many years. Numerous people have condemned the restrictive regime as being extremely detrimental for one’s overall health, with it even being dubbed the “worst fad diet” in an annual list released by the US News and World Report. Some people claim that following the keto diet can boost your sex drive. 

However, a number of health experts staunchly disagree with this theoretical notion. “Some major concerns with following a ketogenic diet are the potential side effects such as changes in hormonal balance. “Some research suggests that a very low carbohydrate diet may cause a drop in thyroid function, which not only leads to fatigue and low mood, but may also negatively affect libido.” 

The keto diet was first used to treat children suffering from epileptic fits, as opposed to dieters who wanted to lose weight in a responsible way. “With the ketogenic diet, which is high in fat, enough protein and low in carbohydrates, your body switches from using carbohydrates for energy to burning fat because you are not eating the carbs,” says Dr Marilyn Glenville, nutritionist and author of The Natural Health Bible for Women. 

“Carbohydrates are the foods that normally give us energy, so when someone first starts this type of diet they can feel really tired and wiped out. A drop in energy isn’t the only reason why your sex drive may be lacking when following an extremely low-carb diet. A reduced intake of carbohydrates can also alter the way in which your body produces hormones that are inherently linked to your libido. 

“Some evidence suggests that low-carbohydrate diets can increase the production of the stress hormone cortisol and may negatively affect the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, the three glands which are essential for keeping our hormones in balance,” says Ms Soutter. High protein diets like Atkin's may increase risk of heart failure, finds study “Long-term, if our carbohydrate consumption is too low, it may also suppress our production of a hormone called leptin, which may ultimately interfere with our body’s abilities to regulate sex hormones.” 

Our brains are also heavily reliant on glucose, which comes from carbohydrates, Ms Soutter explains. Eating carbohydrates that contain glucose helps the body to produce serotonin, which is otherwise known as the “happy hormone”. 

Yvonne Bishop-Weston, a nutritionist for clickfortherapy.com, tells The Independent that while she’s come across assertions that the keto diet can improve sexual performance, she’s seen no scientific evidence to support the claims. She advises that anyone choosing to follow a low-carb diet ensure that they’re eating a sufficient amount of vegetables in order to take adequate care of their health. 

“The wealth of scientific evidence that shows the correlation between reduced risk of chronic disease and eating more fruit and vegetables is overwhelming,” she says. 

SABRINA BARR 

@fabsab5

www.independent.co.uk