Scientific sexism is not what you think
Let’s talk about sexual dimorphism.
I tried #keto for six weeks. After weeks of cutting all the sugar and most of the carbohydrates, I was drained, sluggish, and unmotivated. My daily ration contained less than 45 g of carbs per day, I was exercising, drinking water, avoiding alcohol, and doing yoga to manage stress. Moreover, on top of ketogenic food only, I added 14 hours of fasting window from 6 PM to 8 AM. Still, no weight loss. Daily headaches and fatigue became intolerable. I have lost zero pounds. Zero.
Six weeks of a healthy ketogenic diet containing plenty of delicious low-carb, full fat, and no added sugar has an entirely different effect on men and women. The difference between the two sexes is called sexual dimorphism. Our bodies are not the same; males and females exhibiting different responses to drugs, nutrition, stress, the outcome of a health condition, or a diet are strikingly different when it comes to sexes.
Did you know that most animal studies tend to be performed in male mice? Did you know that most human studies of dietary interventions tend to be completed in young male college students?
It is unfortunate because the findings may be inaccurate for females. The recent publication at the Endocrine Society Conference by Jesse Douglas Cochran describes a strict ketogenic diet (KD) effect on male and female mice.
“Females on KD displayed an increase in body weight while bodyweight declined in males. The female mice on KD developed impaired glucose tolerance. To investigate the role of estrogen in this sexual dimorphism, female mice that did not produce estrogen (progesterone) lost 20 % of body weight within 15 weeks of following KD diet but still had impaired glucose tolerance. Sex differences exist in terms of body composition and metabolism in response to a ketogenic diet, which may partially be attributed to estrogen”, according to these findings.
Is the low carb diet is a fraud? At least for some of us, it is. Why do I feel so exhausted all the time, and why do I wake up at 5 AM every morning feeling tired and unwell? Some researchers suggest that drastically reducing sugar and carbohydrates could increase the level of cortisone. Not the outcome was looking for in the post-pandemic anxiety-infused world we live in now. Keeping my stress level low is as essential as my weigh. Maybe even more. In my case, the most annoying symptom is the lack of energy. I have to accept, my (female) brain runs on sugar, and no amount of fat, MCT, or avocado can change it as long as I have estrogen in my body.
Female body matters. Why is the research still ignoring the obvious difference in body machinery? By admitting our biological differences, we are not declaring our inequality. Not at all. COVID19 kills more men than women. It is a scientific fact many studies have observed, but yet the practice of excluding the notion of gender and sex in research and in mainstream medicine is widely accepted.
Scientific sexism is eliminating females from research, and it is deadly for women. Science has no idea why some drugs work better for females or males. Medical research is severely impacted by understanding less about a woman’s body, by significantly reducing the quality of data and affecting the quality of a woman’s health science.