The Keto diet isn’t age-specific. It’s a way of eating that has fueled humans of all ages since prehistoric times.
But that doesn’t mean that Keto can't demonstrate its potential benefits to specific age groups. It can. And in this article, you’ll learn about Keto for women over 50.
Most women over 50 are completing, or have completed, a series of hormonal shifts marked by the cessation of the menstrual cycle. This is called menopause. Combine menopause with the natural aging process, and you have a slew of often frustrating changes hitting the fan.
Let’s review that topic first. Then we’ll talk about how Keto may help.
Health Issues for Women Over 50
Most women enter perimenopause (the period before menopause) in their late 40s to early 50s.[*] During this time, women may experience symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, low libido, mood swings, irregular periods, insomnia, and weight gain.[*]
When the menstrual cycle has ceased for a full 12 months, that marks menopause. On average, it usually happens around age 51.[*]
As a woman transitions to menopause, her pattern of weight distribution often changes. Instead of storing fat predominantly in her thighs and buttocks, she may start storing fat around her abdomen. This shift is driven, researchers believe, by falling levels of the female sex hormone: estrogen.[*]
But the changes that occur aren’t just related to body composition. Due to estrogen deficiency, menopausal and postmenopausal women also have increased risks of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.[*]
Along with menopause, women over 50 must also contend with the natural aging process. As humans pushing into our later decades, we may experience:
- Accelerated muscle loss (sarcopenia)[*]
- More chronic inflammation[*]
- Higher rates of every chronic disease: heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, etc.
- Declines in athletic performance[*]
- More trouble regulating blood sugar[*]
- Reductions in deep, restorative sleep[*]
- A broader perspective on life and love
- The benefits of an AARP membership
Let’s be clear. A Ketogenic diet isn’t going to prevent menopause or aging. But there are a few mechanisms by which it may help.
How A Keto Diet May Help
Keto is most commonly known as a weight loss diet. Lots of studies support this claim[*][*][*]—including one on obese postmenopausal women.[*]
What’s going on? Probably a couple of things.
First, Keto reduces hunger hormones.[*] Less hunger means you eat fewer calories and gain less weight. (Fun fact: the hunger hormone ghrelin is elevated during menopause).[*]
Keto also influences fat metabolism. When blood sugar and insulin levels stay low on a low-carb diet, more fat gets burned.[*] This may help offset menopause-related fat storage.
Here are some other potential health benefits of the Keto diet for women over 50:
- Being in ketosis may reduce chronic inflammation by preventing high blood sugar and suppressing inflammatory signaling molecules.[*]
- The Keto diet is a promising therapy for Alzheimer’s disease and certain cancers.[*][*]
- Keto has been shown to improve heart disease risk factors in obese and diabetic populations.[*]
- Keto-adapting (running on body fat) can stabilize energy levels.
For more on Keto health benefits beyond weight loss, check out this blog.
Keto for Women Over 50: 7 Tips to Get Started
The best tips for healthy aging are also the simplest. We’re talking about the basics: sleeping well, exercising regularly, managing stress, not over or undereating, and consuming nutritious food.
Let’s cover some of these tips in more detail, with a special focus on Keto.
#1: Get enough protein
The older you get, the harder it is to maintain muscle. This progressive muscle loss—called sarcopenia—is a major cause of age-related disability.[*]
Getting adequate protein can help prevent sarcopenia. Why? Because the amino acids in protein (especially leucine) provide the building blocks for muscle synthesis.
For most people, 100 grams of protein per day is a good target. If you want to get more nuanced, read this blog about protein on Keto and download the Carb Manager app to dial in your macros.
And no, protein won’t derail your Keto diet. But avoiding it will derail your health.
#2: Strength train
By itself, protein isn’t sufficient to maintain lean mass. You also need resistance exercise.
The formula looks something like this: A high-protein Keto diet + strength training = muscle maintenance.[*]
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Doing push-ups (or knee push-ups), pull-ups (or assisted pull-ups), planks, and air squats 2-3 times per week is a simple but effective routine.
But assuming you use proper form, feel free to lift some weights. Please read our guide to exercise on Keto for more on this topic.
#3: Consider intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting (IF) is the practice of taking regular breaks from food.
It’s nothing new. Humans evolved over millennia to oscillate between fasting and feeding. It works well with our biology.
The most obvious IF benefit is weight loss. When you compress your feeding window, you eat fewer calories and may lose weight. This has been shown in both men and women.[*][*][*]
Other potential IF benefits include heart disease risk reduction[*][*], blood sugar control[*], longevity promotion (via autophagy)[*], and lower inflammation.[*]
But try not to be overly aggressive with your fasting regimen. Compared to men, women appear to have more negative effects from longer fasts. (These concerns apply mostly to women of reproductive age). Learn more by reading this guide to IF for women.
#4: Take electrolytes
People talk a lot about staying hydrated on Keto, but they often forget about electrolytes.
Electrolytes like sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, and chloride keep your nervous system functioning, your energy levels up, and your bodily fluids balanced. They’re important.
Sodium is the big one for Keto folks to focus on. Not only do whole food Keto diets cause increased sodium loss through urine[*], but they also contain very little sodium to begin with. Keep the salt shaker handy.
#5: Eat Keto superfoods
Here’s a partial list of nutrient-dense Keto foods to support healthy aging:
- Eggs. High in protein for muscle maintenance and choline for liver and brain health.
- Dark leafy greens. High in magnesium and potassium for heart health.
- Meat and fish. Good sources of protein, B vitamins, and iron.
- Beef liver. Nature’s multivitamin—especially high in vitamin A for eye health, copper for immunity, vitamin B12 for energy, and choline for liver health.
The bottom line? Eat nutritious low-carb foods, and your body will age more gracefully.
#6 and #7: Manage stress and sleep well
These tips are deeply intertwined. If you’re stressed, you won’t sleep well. And if you aren’t sleeping well, you’ll be stressed.
Both sleep deprivation and chronic stress increase the risk of most chronic diseases.[*][*] Plus they don’t help with weight loss efforts.
Like diet, sleep and stress management are habitual behaviors. Handle your habits and the rest will handle itself.
The Best Diet for Women Over 50
We don’t know if Keto is the best diet for women over 50.
However, based on the available evidence, Keto is worth considering if you're struggling with weight gain, high blood sugar, chronic inflammation, or other age-related problems.
Do a month-long experiment. See how low-carb affects your body, mind the above tips, and adjust if needed. This article will be here if you forget anything.
RemarkableAvocado983271 9 days ago
Very interesting, I've been on keto for 2 months now and lost 2 stone have more energy sleep like a baby and even though on HRT no more night sweats. Before this I had practically given up! Great app by the way 😍
OutstandingArugula596742 a month ago
Thank you for this article
StellarKale938170 2 months ago
I am well over 70 yrs old & survived a brain hemorrhage 6 yrs ago now. I have slight ataxia & my balance is not the best & I walk with a cane. I have worked hard on my rehabilitation & now face a terrible weight gain & now am also prediabetic. My next challenge is to try Keto. I am determined. Wish me luck.
SpectacularKale202397 3 months ago
Thank you for the info
SplendidRadish506872 4 months ago
I needed to hear all this info. I am 64 and have had a serious back problem for the past 25 years. My weight had creeped up over the last 5 years and no diet helped until keto with IF. Not only has my weight been coming off steadily but my sleep has greatly improved as well as cravings for treats. I am feeling more empowered with each passing day and now I am able to make treats for my family and attend parties that no longer tempt me.
BlithesomeKale452576 a year ago
Phoenix9 you are an inspiration I have been on keto for months & lost 35 lbs was very dedicated but started feeling down & now I've been up & down play ing with 8 lbs when I read your comment I thought I can do it & don't give up. Thank you 😊
Phoenix9 a year ago
I'm 59 yrs old, I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis when I was 29 yrs old. I have been on Keto/IF Intermittent Fasting since 9/2021 and I am down -51 lbs. I started weight training at gym on machines in 2/2022 & go 3-4 times a week & also try to get at least 10,000 steps a day on my Fit bit ( that's about 5 miles for me). I definitely notice reduced inflammation when I am in ketosis on KETO/IF, my PCP, Rheumatologist & GI Dr. are all very happy with how I am doing, like the foods I am consuming & the exercise/weight training program. Keto for me has been avoiding sugar, artificial sugar, bread, pasta, rice and eating healthy fats like avocado, MCT oil in coffee, Salmon, Steak, Chicken most of my meals consist of a protein with vegetables. I still eat low carb vegetables (avoid potatoes, corn) and I enjoy Berries ( other fruits only on occasion). Love the Carb Manager App for managing & logging my macros for keto. water consumption & steps!! Keep a lot of herbal teas on hand for when I feel like a want something while fasting. My Intermittent Fasting is 16 : 8, I make the 8 hr window in which I eat usually 12-8, then fast from 8PM-12 noon the next day. I drink a LOT of water, they recommend 1/2 your body weight in ounces daily, take a multivitamin, B12, Calcium, Vitamin D, scoop of Keto friendly Collagen in my coffee every day, Metamucil for fiber (lower LDL) & started using Himalayan Pink Salt in grinder to help get the Micronutrients & try to stay hydrated because your liver does not hold a lot of water when in ketosis, example if you weigh 160 lbs, drink 80 oz. of water a day. Helps with fasting and hydration I wish luck to everyone trying Keto / IF, wish I knew about it yrs ago, I'm never hungry, losing weight, less inflammation, not bloated, have energy, sleeping better & hopefully studies that suggest it might help fight off Dementia etc are true:) I read a lot of info to figure out plan that works for me & hope this info is helpful to someone:)
PENNY a year ago
So true.. Exercise 3x weekly, walking have help me too
Rosefitover50 a year ago
Great information. I did Keto and IF together. I fell off and I know menopause played a big part of me gaining weight In my stomach and hips. I hate it. I'm trying to get back focused to drop 10 to 15 pounds. I hate this weight gain. So I'm back on it. I will keep everyone posted. By the way I did it through CM It's the best app. I love it. Back on it. wishing me look.
goyettec 4 months ago
Good Luck. I fell off KETO for 2 yrs now back on.
BirchWind a year ago
I’m 50 in less than a month. I did keto/low carb when i was 32 and dropped 50lbs almost effortlessly. Stopped low carbing when i hot pregnant with child #4 because my dr didnt approve of low carb while pregnant and this time when the weight came back, although gradual it skyrocketed. Now im at my heaviest ever , with big preggo looking belly and its so much harder this time, some days i just cry. Thanks for this reminder.
goyettec 4 months ago
Xiroz Zorix 4 months ago
Same boat…back to ketosis my last resort. Thyroid clean, no diabetes…just these stupid 50+ hormones sabotaging me. Blood pressure and antidepressant probably doesn’t help. I’ve cried too looking at pictures of me now and comparing to my size 6 self of 20 years ago. So frustrating.
RoseannaDawn a year ago
I'm 71 years young and I'm not sure exactly when but since beginning to seriously do this lifestyle change I no longer look pregnant. My problem was not eating enough (no appetite), I still wrestle with the not eating. I'm getting better and my bones and muscles are less painful this works best if you work it.
SpectacularMacadamia496039 a year ago
Im 67 and def need to lose 15 to 25 would love to follow your progress
Deburr a year ago
I to wrestle with not eating or feeling hungry. I am on day 8 and I am 61
GorgeousArugula316070 a year ago
I am 68 and have been following a keto plan for several years. The problem is I cannot lose belly fat. My blood sugars are stable, but I still need to lose about 60 pounds to be where I want to be. Most of the 60 pounds is in my upper abdomen and I look like a beer drinker. Any suggestions? I still work full-time and I am quite active
sjheitmeyer 6 months ago
I got on this plan to lose belly fat. I followed it several years ago and lost my gut. I’m 74 and starting again because I know it can work. I think the key is limiting carbs to no more than 10% of your calories. I notice if I go higher than that, my gut doesn’t shift. Also, use CM to track. That is another key to success.
SplendidKale853033 a year ago
Hi there. Check out Dr Mindy Pelz's YouTube channel. She has a wealth of great information. She is mostly an advocate for fasting, but has great info on all kinds of keto.
GorgeousArugula316070 a year ago
I’m not sure why my post is under this name.
kwilter87 a year ago
Next birthday I'll be 60. Working with a nutritionist to rebalance hormones and get healthier. This was great info. Thx
LegitToBeFit a year ago
Wonderful information. I’m 61 and Just started with Carb manager. This is good to know.
Deburr a year ago
I too am 61 and I find a lot of good info on here.i am on day 8