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Does the Keto Diet Help Support Fertility?

A few years ago, the keto diet was all the rage—a high-fat, low-carb way to shed pounds quickly. While it’s lost a bit of its luster, as all diet trends do, interest in the keto diet remains. Specifically, those hoping to become parents wonder whether following this way of eating could support fertility. But is it true? Well, it’s certainly true that nutrition is a key consideration for health and fertility as a whole. So is a diet high in fat and low in carbs the answer? It’s possible. Here’s what to know about the keto diet and whether it might help support fertility.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • The keto diet is high in fats, moderate in protein and low in carbs, and designed to put the body in a state of ketosis that burns fat for fuel instead of sugar.
  • There is some evidence that the keto diet can help reduce inflammation, which may be helpful for fertility.
  • The keto diet, with its emphasis on healthy fats, may also support sperm health.
  • While the keto diet can be helpful for losing weight, a more balanced approach to nutrition is better for conception and pregnancy.

What is the Keto Diet?

Short for ketogenic, the keto diet is high in fats, moderate in protein and low in carbohydrates. It’s a pretty restrictive approach to eating that prioritizes foods like animal proteins, dairy products like butter, non-starchy veggies and oils. Excluded are nutritious foods that are high in carbs, like fruits, starchy vegetables, legumes and grains, along with less-nutritions options that are high in sugar, such as baked goods. 

The macronutrient ratio in the keto diet is designed to put the body in a metabolic state known as ketosis (1). When you significantly cut back on carbohydrates, which are the primary energy source for the body, it turns to body fat for energy instead. Improving the body’s efficiency at fat burning can mean a lot of rapid weight loss. But what does that mean for fertility?

Keto for Fertility in Women

One of the benefits of shifting from burning carbs for energy to body fat is a reduction in systemic, or body-wide, inflammation. That’s a good thing for fertility, since widespread inflammation can negatively affect the uterus, cervix and placenta (2). Following a keto diet properly may also help reduce insulin levels and could even regulate certain reproductive hormones, such as testosterone, luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).

There’s also research that shows women with infertility who pursued IVF and ate an anti-inflammatory diet tend to have more successful pregnancy outcomes than those who didn’t follow this type of diet (3). Women with PCOS may also find the keto diet beneficial for fertility. Because it can help you lose weight, it may help ovulation resume and could even help rebalance hormones. A very small study published in 2018 followed four overweight women with PCOS who committed to ketogenic diets in the hopes of becoming pregnant (4). Within six months, all four women lost weight (between 19 and 36 pounds) and began regularly menstruating again, and two of them conceived without the need for ovulation induction.

Keto: Sperm Friendly?

Here at Beli, we’re keenly aware that two healthy partners are key for the healthiest possible conception, pregnancy and baby. For men hoping to become fathers, taking steps to reach a healthy weight by following a balanced diet is a standard recommendation. Unfortunately, the standard American diet, which is disproportionately filled with refined carbs and excess sugar, is pretty terrible for sperm health. In fact, it has a detrimental effect on all aspects of sperm health, from motility to morphology to count. Even an incredibly fertile woman is going to have a hard time if her partner’s sperm is subpar, so it’s important that couples take steps together to nourish and support their fertility.

The Best Strategy for Conception

If this is all sounding good, there’s a little more to the story. For many people, the keto diet is really hard to follow in a healthy way. It’s easy to turn to foods that are high in saturated fat, like bacon and butter, to remain in ketosis. Saturated fat can, of course, lead to higher cholesterol, which isn’t doing the heart any favors. What’s more, one of the biggest issues with going keto is the very real risk of nutrient deficiencies.

That’s a problem for fertility. In fact, couples who are hoping to conceive are advised to take prenatal vitamins (for her and for him!) specifically to shore up nutritional gaps in their diet. At Beli, we champion nutrient-dense diets that support your health as a whole, which is a direct reflection of your fertility health. By definition, the keto diet is restrictive, which really isn’t ideal for pregnancy. That level of nutrition restriction can also be stressful in general—another thing you don’t need when you’re hoping to conceive.

So what’s the answer? Does the keto diet support fertility? The smartest strategy is to follow the keto diet as a means of getting to a healthy weight before you try to conceive (because you definitely don’t want to be in ketosis during conception and definitely not during pregnancy). Then, you can switch to a diet that focuses on balanced nutrition instead of calorie restriction. The Mediterranean diet, which prioritizes fruits and veggies, lean meats, whole grains and healthy fats, has a more balanced approach to macronutrients, so it's less restrictive and may be easier to follow—with similar fertility-boosting benefits.

Evidence shows that carbs really aren’t the enemy, especially during the preconception stage (5). Specifically, the research found that when fewer than 45% of total calories in a daily diet come from carbs (which is technically defined as a low-carb diet), reproductive hormone levels can improve. Keto diets typically allow no more than 20% of calories to come from carbs, which is pretty darn low.

The Bottom Line

Nutrition is important when the goal is a baby, and both parents-to-be will benefit in numerous ways from getting a handle on what they eat. But the keto diet should be seen as a short-term strategy at best. While it can help you reach a healthy weight, you’re better off focusing on getting in a wide variety of nutrients through a balanced diet and supplementing with a high quality prenatal vitamin—and we have a great suggestion!

Article Resources

Higuera, V. (2022). Ketosis: Symptoms, benefits, risks and more. https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/ketogenic-diet/ketosis-what-it-its-safe-how-achieve-it-symptoms-more/

Vannuccini, S et al. (2016). Infertility and reproductive disorders: impact of hormonal and inflammatory mechanisms on pregnancy outcome. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26395640/

Karayiannis, D et al. (2018). Adherence to the Mediterranean diet and IVF success rate among non-obese women attempting fertility. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29390148/

Alwahab, U et al. (2018). A Ketogenic Diet may Restore Fertility in Women With Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Case Series. https://www.aaceclinicalcasereports.com/article/S2376-0605(20)30157-7/fulltext

McGrice, M et al. (2017). The Effect of Low Carbohydrate Diets on Fertility Hormones and Outcomes in Overweight and Obese Women: A Systematic Review.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5372867/

Additional Resources

Men really do benefit from specialized nutrition in the form of a prenatal vitamin that’s formulated to support sperm health. Here’s what that looks like, and how specific nutrients can impact a man’s fertility health before fatherhood.

Read More

Shilajit is finally getting the credit it’s due, and we’re proud to point out that our proprietary formula was the very first to include this powerful Ayurvedic compound. Here’s why shilajit is rapidly becoming the darling of the male fertility world–and what you’re missing if you’re skipping it.

Read More

Ever wondered why men produce so much darn sperm, especially if only one of them will ultimately fertilize the egg? There are millions of sperm in normal ejaculate because it increases the likelihood that one will reach the egg and seal the deal. It begs the question, what exactly happens on the journey to the egg?

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Just as women’s bodies need to be prepared for pregnancy, men’s bodies need to be ready to contribute healthy sperm for conception. Nutrients are the foundation that support the normal structure and function of sperm and men's fertility health. Taking Beli’s male prenatal supplement is a proactive way to strategically fuel your body to optimize fertility contributing to your overall chances of conceiving and supporting a healthy pregnancy.  

Read More

A shot to the balls may be played for laughs on screen, but testicular impacts really aren’t a joke. Worse case scenario, getting hit in the balls can affect fertility thanks to complications like sexual dysfunction, low testosterone and other issues. Let's discuss.

Read More

With the New Year upon us, there are all kinds of articles and videos making the rounds with predictions of the Zodiac signs most likely to get pregnant in 2024. But here at Beli, we take a much more scientific approach to conception. Here are the top eight things people will do to get pregnant in 2024.

Read More

Research shows that the overall health of both biological parents during the preconception window plays a huge role in everything from conception to pregnancy health to the lifetime health of their baby. Luckily, there are simple steps you can both take to improve your health together.

Read More

When it comes to becoming parents, good habits really will take you where you want to go. Now, new science is giving us insight into exactly how long it takes to form those good habits. We're breaking down all the ways you can build healthy habits to boost your chances of conception. Think of it as life-hacking, but for grown-ups.

Read More

Preparing for a baby means doing everything in your power to nourish your fertility health. If you’re totally on board but wondering what that actually means, we’re breaking down the do’s and don’ts for planning a pregnancy.

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Here at Beli, we’re working hard to raise awareness of the important role men play in the baby-making equation, which brings us to today’s topic of men’s preconception health and specifically, sperm health. Knowing what you’re working with can save you a lot of time, but is at-home sperm testing considered an important part of men’s preconception health? Let’s break it down.

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There’s a certain magic to the holiday season, whether you’re all-in on the decorations and the family time or a self-proclaimed Scrooge from mid-November to the New Year. But when you’re trying to conceive, it can be a challenging time.  We’re sharing five tips for managing the holidays when you’re trying to conceive.

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Read More

You’re clear on the mechanics of making a baby, but how much do you really know about conception and fertility? There are a lot of wild stories, downright falsehoods and notions that are actually rooted in a kernel of truth out there. In the interest of sticking to the facts, we’re debunking 15 of the most common myths about conception and fertility.

Read More

When you’re knocking boots in an effort to get knocked up, timing is everything. Your best chance of conceiving is during the most fertile time of your menstrual cycle—when you ovulate. The key is figuring out exactly when that happens. Fortunately, you have a few ways of detecting ovulation. Here’s what to know about understanding ovulation and timing sex for pregnancy.

Read More

You have big plans for parenthood in 2024, which means this is the time to start laying the groundwork for everything to come. While so much of conception is beyond our control, there are actionable steps you and your partner can take right now to support and nourish your fertility.

Read More

Is there anything worse than the two-week wait? All the listicles out there sensibly advise keeping busy and journaling and talking it out, but we’re sharing more specific recommendations collected from the Beli community. Read on for seven tips for surviving the two-week wait without losing your mind.

Read More

Heard the one about ice baths and testosterone? Spoiler: there's little to no research behind that idea. Here’s what to know about cold plunges and male fertility, according to the research, plus where you should really focus your efforts if you’re trying to improve sperm health.

Read More

As a society, we’re an impatient bunch, and that applies to pregnancy, too. The second you decide it’s time to try for a baby, you’re ready to see those two pink lines. If you’ve recently tossed the birth control and you’re wondering how long it should take to get pregnant, here's what to know.

Read More

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Read More

There’s a persistent misconception that a woman’s egg quality is largely untouchable—you get what you get, and the rest is out of your hands. But for women actively planning on becoming mothers, there are a handful of best practices that can go a very long way. So, can you improve egg quality in 90 days?

Read More

Can weight loss improve your fertility? That depends on what you read. In today’s post, we’re running through all the latest data on weight loss and fertility, and clarifying why the focus should be less on pounds lost and more on prioritizing habits that support your health as a whole.

Read More

Perimenopause is a transitional time that’s pretty wild in its own right, with hormonal changes similar to a roller coaster and major changes to your cycle. Balanced hormones are, of course, key to successfully becoming pregnant and it’s certainly reasonable to wonder whether it’s possible to get pregnant during perimenopause. The short answer is oh yes. 

Read More

While it’s true that popular hair loss meds work minor miracles on that receding hairline and back-of-the-head bald patch, it’s also true that it can come with side effects—some of them sexual. So, what does that mean in terms of male fertility? Here’s what couples should understand about the effects of popular hair-loss medications on sperm health.

Read More

When you’re pregnant, of course, you’re told to limit your caffeine consumption. But what about when you’re trying to conceive? Can too much caffeine affect your chances of conception as a couple? It's a good idea to cut back—which means you need to be really clear about sneaky sources of caffeine in your diet.

Read More

Here at Beli, we’re staunch advocates of supporting men's fertility health in anticipation of fatherhood. In fact, our men’s prenatal vitamin, Beli Vitality for Men, is actually our flagship product. Today, we’re diving into the obvious and unexpected benefits of prenatal vitamins for men, starting with what actually happens when you start taking them.

Read More

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Read More

Everyone responds to supplementation (not to mention pregnancy!) differently, which is one reason that how you feel isn’t a clue into whether or not your prenatal vitamin is actually working. Instead, you need to be confident about the prenatal vitamin itself, and there are a few things you’ll want to look for.

Read More

We’re back with our second post in our “It Starts With The Sperm” mini series on the key roles sperm plays in conception, pregnancy and baby, and this time, we’re talking DNA. When it comes to male fertility, it’s not enough to have a high sperm count and top marks for motility and morphology. Without low levels of DNA fragmentation, a man’s fertility—along with his ability to successfully conceive with a partner—is affected.

Read More

Men really do benefit from specialized nutrition in the form of a prenatal vitamin that’s formulated to support sperm health. Here’s what that looks like, and how specific nutrients can impact a man’s fertility health before fatherhood.

Read More

Shilajit is finally getting the credit it’s due, and we’re proud to point out that our proprietary formula was the very first to include this powerful Ayurvedic compound. Here’s why shilajit is rapidly becoming the darling of the male fertility world–and what you’re missing if you’re skipping it.

Read More

Ever wondered why men produce so much darn sperm, especially if only one of them will ultimately fertilize the egg? There are millions of sperm in normal ejaculate because it increases the likelihood that one will reach the egg and seal the deal. It begs the question, what exactly happens on the journey to the egg?

Read More

Just as women’s bodies need to be prepared for pregnancy, men’s bodies need to be ready to contribute healthy sperm for conception. Nutrients are the foundation that support the normal structure and function of sperm and men's fertility health. Taking Beli’s male prenatal supplement is a proactive way to strategically fuel your body to optimize fertility contributing to your overall chances of conceiving and supporting a healthy pregnancy.  

Read More

A shot to the balls may be played for laughs on screen, but testicular impacts really aren’t a joke. Worse case scenario, getting hit in the balls can affect fertility thanks to complications like sexual dysfunction, low testosterone and other issues. Let's discuss.

Read More

With the New Year upon us, there are all kinds of articles and videos making the rounds with predictions of the Zodiac signs most likely to get pregnant in 2024. But here at Beli, we take a much more scientific approach to conception. Here are the top eight things people will do to get pregnant in 2024.

Read More

Research shows that the overall health of both biological parents during the preconception window plays a huge role in everything from conception to pregnancy health to the lifetime health of their baby. Luckily, there are simple steps you can both take to improve your health together.

Read More

When it comes to becoming parents, good habits really will take you where you want to go. Now, new science is giving us insight into exactly how long it takes to form those good habits. We're breaking down all the ways you can build healthy habits to boost your chances of conception. Think of it as life-hacking, but for grown-ups.

Read More

Here at Beli, we’re working hard to raise awareness of the important role men play in the baby-making equation, which brings us to today’s topic of men’s preconception health and specifically, sperm health. Knowing what you’re working with can save you a lot of time, but is at-home sperm testing considered an important part of men’s preconception health? Let’s break it down.

Read More

There’s a certain magic to the holiday season, whether you’re all-in on the decorations and the family time or a self-proclaimed Scrooge from mid-November to the New Year. But when you’re trying to conceive, it can be a challenging time.  We’re sharing five tips for managing the holidays when you’re trying to conceive.

Read More

Everyone knows that alcohol and pregnancy don’t mix. But what about before you’re pregnant, during the trying-to-conceive stage? There’s no evidence that the occasional drink—i.e. one or two a week—is going to torpedo your chances of parenthood. But it is true that the more you drink, the greater the likelihood it will have an effect on your health. Here’s what the research says about alcohol and your fertility.

Read More

You’re clear on the mechanics of making a baby, but how much do you really know about conception and fertility? There are a lot of wild stories, downright falsehoods and notions that are actually rooted in a kernel of truth out there. In the interest of sticking to the facts, we’re debunking 15 of the most common myths about conception and fertility.

Read More

When you’re knocking boots in an effort to get knocked up, timing is everything. Your best chance of conceiving is during the most fertile time of your menstrual cycle—when you ovulate. The key is figuring out exactly when that happens. Fortunately, you have a few ways of detecting ovulation. Here’s what to know about understanding ovulation and timing sex for pregnancy.

Read More

You have big plans for parenthood in 2024, which means this is the time to start laying the groundwork for everything to come. While so much of conception is beyond our control, there are actionable steps you and your partner can take right now to support and nourish your fertility.

Read More

Welcome to our little corner of common fertility and pregnancy terms! We know that jargon can be overwhelming, so consider this your very own baby-making dictionary. Here, confusing medical terms transform into easy-to-understand facts that help you confidently navigate your family planning journey. 

Read More

Is there anything worse than the two-week wait? All the listicles out there sensibly advise keeping busy and journaling and talking it out, but we’re sharing more specific recommendations collected from the Beli community. Read on for seven tips for surviving the two-week wait without losing your mind.

Read More

Heard the one about ice baths and testosterone? Spoiler: there's little to no research behind that idea. Here’s what to know about cold plunges and male fertility, according to the research, plus where you should really focus your efforts if you’re trying to improve sperm health.

Read More

As a society, we’re an impatient bunch, and that applies to pregnancy, too. The second you decide it’s time to try for a baby, you’re ready to see those two pink lines. If you’ve recently tossed the birth control and you’re wondering how long it should take to get pregnant, here's what to know.

Read More

Jimmy Fallon. Hugh Jackman. Mark Zuckerberg. Keith Urban. Gordon Ramsey. Kyle Busch. Besides immediate name recognition, what else do these men have in common? They’ve all struggled with infertility issues—and it’s something they’re all talking about publicly. Here's why that matters.

Read More

While it’s true that popular hair loss meds work minor miracles on that receding hairline and back-of-the-head bald patch, it’s also true that it can come with side effects—some of them sexual. So, what does that mean in terms of male fertility? Here’s what couples should understand about the effects of popular hair-loss medications on sperm health.

Read More

When you’re pregnant, of course, you’re told to limit your caffeine consumption. But what about when you’re trying to conceive? Can too much caffeine affect your chances of conception as a couple? It's a good idea to cut back—which means you need to be really clear about sneaky sources of caffeine in your diet.

Read More

Here at Beli, we’re staunch advocates of supporting men's fertility health in anticipation of fatherhood. In fact, our men’s prenatal vitamin, Beli Vitality for Men, is actually our flagship product. Today, we’re diving into the obvious and unexpected benefits of prenatal vitamins for men, starting with what actually happens when you start taking them.

Read More

Forbes Health recently reviewed our men's prenatal vitamins and we love author Leigh Weingus' take: "Beli Men Vitality Multivitamins first caught my eye because while I often see supplements that claim to improve fertility outcomes for women, I rarely see the same thing for men." We hear you, Leigh! Check out the full review here and read on for some highlights.

Read More

Everyone responds to supplementation (not to mention pregnancy!) differently, which is one reason that how you feel isn’t a clue into whether or not your prenatal vitamin is actually working. Instead, you need to be confident about the prenatal vitamin itself, and there are a few things you’ll want to look for.

Read More

We’re back with our second post in our “It Starts With The Sperm” mini series on the key roles sperm plays in conception, pregnancy and baby, and this time, we’re talking DNA. When it comes to male fertility, it’s not enough to have a high sperm count and top marks for motility and morphology. Without low levels of DNA fragmentation, a man’s fertility—along with his ability to successfully conceive with a partner—is affected.

Read More

With the New Year upon us, there are all kinds of articles and videos making the rounds with predictions of the Zodiac signs most likely to get pregnant in 2024. But here at Beli, we take a much more scientific approach to conception. Here are the top eight things people will do to get pregnant in 2024.

Read More

Research shows that the overall health of both biological parents during the preconception window plays a huge role in everything from conception to pregnancy health to the lifetime health of their baby. Luckily, there are simple steps you can both take to improve your health together.

Read More

Preparing for a baby means doing everything in your power to nourish your fertility health. If you’re totally on board but wondering what that actually means, we’re breaking down the do’s and don’ts for planning a pregnancy.

Read More

There’s a certain magic to the holiday season, whether you’re all-in on the decorations and the family time or a self-proclaimed Scrooge from mid-November to the New Year. But when you’re trying to conceive, it can be a challenging time.  We’re sharing five tips for managing the holidays when you’re trying to conceive.

Read More

Everyone knows that alcohol and pregnancy don’t mix. But what about before you’re pregnant, during the trying-to-conceive stage? There’s no evidence that the occasional drink—i.e. one or two a week—is going to torpedo your chances of parenthood. But it is true that the more you drink, the greater the likelihood it will have an effect on your health. Here’s what the research says about alcohol and your fertility.

Read More

You’re clear on the mechanics of making a baby, but how much do you really know about conception and fertility? There are a lot of wild stories, downright falsehoods and notions that are actually rooted in a kernel of truth out there. In the interest of sticking to the facts, we’re debunking 15 of the most common myths about conception and fertility.

Read More

When you’re knocking boots in an effort to get knocked up, timing is everything. Your best chance of conceiving is during the most fertile time of your menstrual cycle—when you ovulate. The key is figuring out exactly when that happens. Fortunately, you have a few ways of detecting ovulation. Here’s what to know about understanding ovulation and timing sex for pregnancy.

Read More

You have big plans for parenthood in 2024, which means this is the time to start laying the groundwork for everything to come. While so much of conception is beyond our control, there are actionable steps you and your partner can take right now to support and nourish your fertility.

Read More

Welcome to our little corner of common fertility and pregnancy terms! We know that jargon can be overwhelming, so consider this your very own baby-making dictionary. Here, confusing medical terms transform into easy-to-understand facts that help you confidently navigate your family planning journey. 

Read More

Is there anything worse than the two-week wait? All the listicles out there sensibly advise keeping busy and journaling and talking it out, but we’re sharing more specific recommendations collected from the Beli community. Read on for seven tips for surviving the two-week wait without losing your mind.

Read More

As a society, we’re an impatient bunch, and that applies to pregnancy, too. The second you decide it’s time to try for a baby, you’re ready to see those two pink lines. If you’ve recently tossed the birth control and you’re wondering how long it should take to get pregnant, here's what to know.

Read More

There’s a persistent misconception that a woman’s egg quality is largely untouchable—you get what you get, and the rest is out of your hands. But for women actively planning on becoming mothers, there are a handful of best practices that can go a very long way. So, can you improve egg quality in 90 days?

Read More

Can weight loss improve your fertility? That depends on what you read. In today’s post, we’re running through all the latest data on weight loss and fertility, and clarifying why the focus should be less on pounds lost and more on prioritizing habits that support your health as a whole.

Read More

Perimenopause is a transitional time that’s pretty wild in its own right, with hormonal changes similar to a roller coaster and major changes to your cycle. Balanced hormones are, of course, key to successfully becoming pregnant and it’s certainly reasonable to wonder whether it’s possible to get pregnant during perimenopause. The short answer is oh yes. 

Read More

When you’re pregnant, of course, you’re told to limit your caffeine consumption. But what about when you’re trying to conceive? Can too much caffeine affect your chances of conception as a couple? It's a good idea to cut back—which means you need to be really clear about sneaky sources of caffeine in your diet.

Read More

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Everyone responds to supplementation (not to mention pregnancy!) differently, which is one reason that how you feel isn’t a clue into whether or not your prenatal vitamin is actually working. Instead, you need to be confident about the prenatal vitamin itself, and there are a few things you’ll want to look for.

Read More

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