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Diets and Women’s Health: Part 2

In Part 1 of Diets and Women’s Health we provided a wealth of resources for the following diets:


  • FODMAP

  • Keto

  • AIP

  • Gluten free

  • Dairy free


Click here to check out that blog if one of those diets is on your mind, and find some great information for how it could be impacting your health.


There are even more diets than these that are popular and that many women are buying into.


Dieting for Women’s Health


Most diets contain a variety of claims and caveats. And all of them should. While many diets offer great things, no one diet is perfect for everyone. The benefit of living in an era and culture of plenty is that we do get to choose what we eat. While this is a benefit, it can also be a drawback. Like looking at a wall of very similar running sneakers, you may be left running: “What do I choose? Does it matter?”


At Fempower Health, we are passionate about cutting through the clutter of messaging. We believe in research-backed sources. There is research being conducted, and increasingly made public, about how diet impacts women’s health and fertility. Below is a review of even more popular diets with links to valuable resources for more study.


Soy-Free Diet


Soy was a popular substitute for other proteins, including meat, for many years. When it was discovered that soy contains estrogen, some people chose to reduce or eliminate it. More commonly, people with soy allergies have to lead a soy free diet.


Soy is found in:


  • Edamame

  • Miso

  • Tofu

  • Tempeh

  • Textured vegetable protein (TVP)

  • Soy sauce


People who are on a soy-free diet will sadly discover that there is soy in many unexpected foods, too, like cereal, vegetable oil, baked goods and even baby formula. The Mayo Clinic posits that soy allergies can begin during infancy due to exposure to formula.


Terms to look out for if you are cutting out soy are:


  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP)

  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG)

  • Glycine max


Soy allergies can cause:


  • Hives

  • Wheezing or breathing issues

  • Swelling

  • Skin redness

  • GI distress


People who go soy-free may also do it as part of a gluten-free diet. Some people who aren’t allergic still feel that soy contributes to skin issues or an overproduction of mucus. Other people avoid soy because the non-organic versions have GMOS.


Soy Free Diet Resources:


Read this article from the Journal of Pediatrics about the association of soy-based formula and cow’s milk allergies.

Read this article from Harvard Health about soy and estrogenic effects in the body.

Read an article on the pros and cons of soy for women.

Read this peer-reviewed article on how soy affects premenopausal women.


Whole 30 Diet


Whole 30 is actually a brand but the diet itself has had many spinoffs and iterations. The essence is to eat whole food for at least a month. The foods that must be avoided include:


  • Sugar (even natural sugars)

  • Alcohol

  • Grains

  • Dairy

  • Beans

  • MSG, sulfites or carrageenan

  • Baked goods


Most typically, Whole 30 is a temporary measure to accelerate weight loss. However, many people benefit so significantly from cutting out these items that they extend their time in the diet. In addition to weight loss, Whole 30 can have positive and negative effects. Many people feel negative effects that could be toxins leaving the body. These include:


  • Cravings

  • Breakouts

  • Lethargy

  • Dull headaches


The challenge of this diet is that it is restrictive. Some people retain portions of it for a season or interminably. Positive impacts can include:


  • Weight loss

  • Reduced inflammation

  • Less sugar and processed foods

  • Lower cholesterol or blood pressure


Elimination diets aren’t intended to be p