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Ketosis When Breastfeeding

Babies In Ketosis

Babies In Ketosis

This post topic was inspired by the following article: Ketosis - key to human babies’ big brains? It is hosted on Tim Noakes' website and written by one of his associates in nutritional information misdirection, Tamzyn Murphy Campbell, RD. I'm going to address this misdirection and the disturbing parts of this article vis a vis Campbell in a future BabyGate Files, but for now I want to discuss the role of ketones in metabolism. In doing so, I'd also like to explain my somewhat cryptic recent post on heating my kitchen. (I've C&P'd that entire post to the end further down in this one, so if you don't wish to go to another page, you can just scroll down to The Kitchen Heating Analogy). I'm going to structure this post a little differently than most and get to my point, then provide the back up information. Let's see how this goes. The major source (6 of 12 numbered citations, 1 of 6 unique sources) for her article is: Survival of the fattest: fat babies were the key to evolution of the large human brain (2003) Stephen C. Cunnane, Michael A. Crawford (I'll call this C&C) In this paper, they make the following points: Human babies have higher body fat than other mammals and this may be as a source of ketones in early infancy. Infants have slightly elevated ketones (mild ketonemia) regardless of feeding status which differs from adults who only have elevated ketones when food is restricted (no details here). Glucose is the primary fuel for the human brain Ketones are an alternate source of fuel when glucose is less available Ketones "appear to be" an essential fuel for the midterm fetus, and may provide as much as 30% of the developing brain's needs Ketones are both an energy source and carbon source for fat and cholesterol synthesis in the brain. Campbell relates these so Continue reading >>

I Am Breastfeeding My Baby And I Want To Lose Weight. Is A Low Carbohydrate Diet Safe For A Breastfeeding Mother?

I Am Breastfeeding My Baby And I Want To Lose Weight. Is A Low Carbohydrate Diet Safe For A Breastfeeding Mother?

Many women are anxious to get back in shape after childbirth, but we must remember that pregnancy weight wasn’t gained overnight, and won’t disappear quickly, either. It is wise for mothers to wait until two months postpartum to purposely lose weight, as the mother’s body needs time to recover from childbirth and establish a good milk supply. Many mothers find that by following a sensible diet they are able to lose weight steadily while breastfeeding. Anyone who wants to start a weight loss diet should consult with their physician to rule out any health problems that would contraindicate the diet. If a breastfeeding mother is interested in any type of weight loss diet, there are several factors she should consider. Nutritional balance-- A breastfeeding mother should receive adequate and balanced nutrition, for her breastfed baby’s sake, and the sake of her own health. Otherwise, she risks depleting her body’s nutritional stores. A malnourished mother may have inadequate levels of vitamins A, D, B6 and B12 in her milk, and may risk decreased milk supply. Hunger-- Inadequate caloric intake results in feeling weak, tired, and drained. When a mother feels this way, taking care of a baby is very difficult, and these very real feelings can result in lowered milk supply and inhibited milk ejection (letdown) reflex. The Subcommittee on Nutrition during Lactation advises breastfeeding mothers to take in 1500-1800 calories per day. Rate of weight loss-- Gradual weight loss has not been found to affect either the mother’s milk supply or the baby’s health. However, there are documented concerns when a breastfeeding mother loses weight rapidly, defined as more than a pound (.45 kg) per week. Toxins, such as environmental contaminants PCBs and pesticides, are stored in Continue reading >>

Lactation Ketoacidosis: An Unusual Entity And A Review Of The Literature

Lactation Ketoacidosis: An Unusual Entity And A Review Of The Literature

Go to: CASE PRESENTATION A 31-year-old woman who was 10 months postpartum and was breast-feeding presented to the Emergency Department with nausea, fatigue, vertigo, malaise, and 1 episode of emesis. She had been well until 20 hours earlier when her symptoms began somewhat suddenly and progressed in severity such that she sought treatment in the Emergency Department. She denied having fever, chills, or diarrhea and reported having consumed nothing out of the ordinary; no one else in her household was ill. She had not ingested or used any illicit substances, alcohol, or over-the-counter or prescription medications in the days preceding her presentation. Her medical history included mild asthma, for which she took no medications on a regular basis. She had an ectopic pregnancy 6 years earlier and hyperemesis gravidum 7 years ago when pregnant with her first child. She was breastfeeding her second child, a 10-month-old daughter. She had 2 hospital admissions in the preceding 3 months, with symptoms similar to those at current presentation. In each case, she was given intravenous fluids, her symptoms quickly resolved, and she was discharged from the hospital the following day. No cause was established for her illness in either of her prior hospital admissions. On physical examination, she appeared ill but was not in acute distress. She was alert and fully oriented. Her temperature was 35.8°C, respiratory rate was 16/min, heart rate was 92/min, blood pressure was 157/125 mmHg, and oxygen saturation was 100% breathing room air. Results of her physical examination revealed no abnormalities of her head or neck. She had clear breath sounds, normal heart tones and no murmurs, and a soft nontender abdomen. She had no abnormalities of the extremities or nervous system. Results of Continue reading >>

Is It Ok To Try A Ketogenic Diet While Breastfeeding? An Expert Explains

Is It Ok To Try A Ketogenic Diet While Breastfeeding? An Expert Explains

Ashley Batz/Romper I've tried all the diets. All of them. I've done Weight Watchers and juice fasts and Paleo and low-fat diets. After I had my daughter, I knew I wanted to lose the weight I'd put on, but I was also worried that it would affect my milk production. I'd heard good things about a type of Paleo diet that a lot of my mom friends did to great results, but was it safe? Is it OK to try a Ketogenic diet while breastfeeding? Ketogenic diets are very high fat and very low carbohydrate diets, like Atkins and Paleo, which force your body into what is called "ketosis." Ketosis, according to the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, is when your body runs out of normal energy (carbohydrate) stores in your body and begins burning the fat reserves as energy instead. There have been several studies showing many benefits of a keto diet. For instance, women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) often find that their symptoms are lessened when they follow a strictly keto diet. For women who've had a baby and have PCOS, the first period after birth is often horrific. I know mine was. Therefore, anything to ameliorate its effects is more than welcome. Your body is shocked enough from having a human ripped from your loins, and then a few months later, your ovaries decide to declare war on your abdomen. Even so, can you stay on a keto diet while breastfeeding? Giphy There is some research out there that points to possible consequences for the baby if the mother chooses to maintain a ketogenic diet while breastfeeding. According to The American Journal of Physiology, the maintenance of a ketogenic diet while pregnant and breastfeeding may correlate to a decreased level of triglycerides in the liver of the offspring. However, this was a scientific study performed on rats, and Continue reading >>

Is Keto Dangerous While Pregnant, Breastfeeding, Or For Children?

Is Keto Dangerous While Pregnant, Breastfeeding, Or For Children?

A question I’ve come across seemingly increasingly in the past few months, is a variation of, is it safe for kids to eat keto, including women during pregnancy and breastfeeding? This is where a simple disambiguation between a well and poorly formulated diet should end the discussion but let’s dig a little bit deeper into the concerns themselves, studies on children, the validity thereof, what a good diet is and context. One of the applications of a well formulated ketogenic diet has been in treatment of PCOS with much success, though more research is needed. You can search for yourself to find more info on this and the specifics with lots of other blogs and anecdotes covering it out there, but between weight loss and improved hormone regulation from better food choices it’s a way to manage symptoms and issues associated with the disorder. Many women who see improvements have noted they end up with a surprise pregnancy after starting low carb. Though usually planned or at least semi-planned, you can find near endless anecdotes of despite several years of trying, a sudden ketobaby happened after a few weeks or months of low carb. Just search through //www.reddit.com/r/xxketo and /r/ketobabies for personal accounts thereof. If you’ve done prior research into keto, you should already know that improvements in endocrine function are one of the benefits with plenty of evidence to support it. So if you’ve found yourself with a surprise baby thanks to keto the next question is, can you, should you, or is it dangerous to continue while pregnant? Ketosis and Pregnancy: Thanks to Japan and low carb as a treatment for diabetes we do have some research done regarding the application of a low carb diet in pregnant mothers on ketone levels and their role. Aside from this, c Continue reading >>

Low Carb Diets And Breastfeeding

Low Carb Diets And Breastfeeding

High protein, low carbohydrate diets like the Atkins diet and the South Beach diet are very popular. These diets can be helpful for diabetics and people with gluten intolerance. In these diets, protein and high fat foods are not restricted; vegetables are limited. The main difference between Atkins and South Beach seems to be that the South Beach diet is less structured and emphasizes eating healthier, mostly unsaturated fats. The primary objections I’ve seen to these and similar diets — and this applies to everyone, not just nursing mothers — is simply the fact that they are not balanced and thus have the potential to make you feel unwell. These diets tend to be low in phytochemicals, antioxidants and folic acid. They also tend to be low in fiber and minerals (including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus & potassium), and the Atkins diet may be high in saturated fats. Because of this, long-term adherence to these diets may increase your risk for various health problems. Since some of the weight loss from these diets is simply due to water loss, dehydration is a risk if the dieter is not careful to drink plenty of water. Some moms have found that very low carb diets decrease milk supply. Going off the diet generally brings milk volume right back up again. This decrease in milk supply may be due to several factors: Dehydration. The sudden decrease in calories when mom goes on the diet. If a woman is used to a certain level of calories, an abrupt drop due to dieting (or illness) may reduce her milk supply. This sudden decrease in calories can tell mom’s body that she is in “starvation mode” and to conserve on all fronts (thus less of her body’s resources go into making milk). Insufficient caloric intake. With a low carb diet, many people are not nearly as hungry Continue reading >>

A Ketogenic Diet, The Short Version

A Ketogenic Diet, The Short Version

A ketogenic diet (link is external) is one that encourages your body to rely less on sugar-based fuels and rather to turn to fat and ketones (produced in the liver by metabolizing fat) for fuel. The benefits of a consistently ketogenic diet are primarily recognized in the sphere of neurological problems, where there has been evidence of benefit in treating obesity, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease A ketogenic diet is one that encourages your body to rely less on sugar-based fuels and rather to turn to fat and ketones (produced in the liver by metabolizing fat) for fuel. Some folks notice improved mood, sleep, mental focus, blood sugar regulation and reduction of general inflammation. Once you are adapted to a ketogenic diet, going in and out of ketosis intermittently is thought to yield some of the longevity, anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting benefits previously attributed to calorie restricted diets. Staying in ketosis makes it easier for many people to maintain weight loss. For a good discussion of that process, as well as the research behind that observation, you can read this blog post from the "low carb dietitian" here (link is external). A ketogenic diet is one that encourages the body to burn fat for fuel and in that process fat burned in the liver produces ketones and a state of ketosis. We naturally burned fat and produced ketones for fuel when we were breast-feeding infants, if we were so lucky to have wise mothers! Since then, most bodies have lost the knack for burning ketones, which is too bad because our sugar-craving brains would be content with a lot less sugar if our bodies remembered how to supply our brains with ketones. (Ketosis is not to be confused with diabetic keto-acidosis which is life-thr Continue reading >>

Low Carbohydrate Diets And Breastfeeding

Low Carbohydrate Diets And Breastfeeding

Article written by Dr Susan Tawia, Manager, Breastfeeding Information and Research team, for the January 2017 health professional member eNewsletter. Low carbohydrate (carb), high fat diets continue to be popular and women of reproductive age are following them. They will often change their diet to a more ‘conventional’ one during pregnancy, but are often keen to return to a weight-loss diet, that they have had success with, after the pregnancy. So, what do we know about the effect of low carb, high fat diets on breastmilk composition and on the metabolism of the breastfeeding woman? The lack of research on this type of diet, and the possible effect on breastmilk composition, breastfeeding women and their infants, was highlighted by both breastfeeding experts and dietitians in 2004 (Heinig & Doberne, 2004; Wood & Hilldebrandt, 2004) at the height of the popularity of the low carb, weight loss diet advocated by Dr RC Atkins — the Atkins diet. Research on low carb, high fat diets has been undertaken, but surprisingly, only one study has been done. Mohammad, Sunehag, & Haymond (2009) looked at maternal breastmilk production, infant intake and maternal glucose metabolism and broadly looked at the macronutrients in breastmilk. Two moderate hypocaloric diets (1785 ± 22 kcal/day) were assessed in a cross-over design: seven, healthy lactating mothers and their infants were studied on 2 occasions in random order for 8 days separated by 1 to 2 weeks. On one occasion, the subjects received the low carb, high fat (LCHF, 30% of energy as carbohydrate and 55% as fat) and on the other occasion received the high carb, low fat diet (HCLF, 60% of energy as carbohydrate and 25% as fat). It is important to note that the amount of carbohydrates consumed during the LCHF was around 150 Continue reading >>

New Mother Nearly Dies From A Low Carb Diet: 32-year-old Developed Life-threatening Condition After Ditching Bread, Rice And Pasta While Breastfeeding

New Mother Nearly Dies From A Low Carb Diet: 32-year-old Developed Life-threatening Condition After Ditching Bread, Rice And Pasta While Breastfeeding

A new mother developed a life-threatening condition due to eating a low carbohydrate diet while breastfeeding, doctors claim. The 32-year-old Swedish woman was rushed to hospital with nausea and vomiting, heart palpitations, trembling and spasms in her limbs. When questioned, she said she had been following a a strict low carbohydrate high fat diet (LCHF) in order to lose her baby weight, doctors describing her case in the Journal of Medical Case Reports said. The regime saw the woman, who is unidentified, eating less than 20g of carbohydrate day, the equivalent of a medium-sized potato, or a thick slice of toast, while breastfeeding her 10-month-old son. In the UK, adults are advised to get half of their daily energy intake from carbohydrates, according to a report by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition, who advise the Government. This is the equivalent of 200 - 240g of carbohydrates in a person eating 2,000 calories a day. The woman said she had lost 4kg on the diet but had begun to feel very ill. In hospital, medics carried out tests and discovered she was suffering from ketoacidosis, a rare but potentially life-threatening condition normally seen in people with type 1 diabetes. ‘The primary diagnosis was thought to be ketoacidosis due to starvation induced by the LCHF diet,’ doctors writing in the journal. When a person has raised blood glucose levels, or are eating a low carbohydrate diet, their body may go into a state of ketosis. Ketosis is a state the body goes into if it needs to break down body fat for energy. The state is marked by raised levels of ketones in the blood which can be used by the body as fuel. Ketones which are not used for fuel are excreted out of the body via the kidneys and the urine. In ketosis, the level of ketones in the blo Continue reading >>

Ketosis – Advantaged Or Misunderstood State? (part I)

Ketosis – Advantaged Or Misunderstood State? (part I)

As The Eating Academy approaches its first birthday in about a month, I figured it was as good a time as any to put together some thoughts on a subject I get asked about with great frequency. (For those wondering when I’ll get to Part X of The Straight Dope on Cholesterol, the answer is, “hopefully before the end of the year.”) A few months ago I was planning a post along the lines of “the 10 things you need to know about ketosis,” but I’m now thinking that might be putting the proverbial cart before the horse. So, let’s start with a more fundamental set of questions. In part I of this post I will see to it (assuming you read it) that you’ll know more about ketosis than just about anyone, including your doctor or the majority of “experts” out there writing about this topic. Before we begin, a disclaimer in order: If you want to actually understand this topic, you must invest the time and mental energy to do so. You really have to get into the details. Obviously, I love the details and probably read 5 or 6 scientific papers every week on this topic (and others). I don’t expect the casual reader to want to do this, and I view it as my role to synthesize this information and present it to you. But this is not a bumper-sticker issue. I know it’s trendy to make blanket statements – ketosis is “unnatural,” for example, or ketosis is “superior” – but such statements mean nothing if you don’t understand the biochemistry and evolution of our species. So, let’s agree to let the unsubstantiated statements and bumper stickers reside in the world of political debates and opinion-based discussions. For this reason, I’ve deliberately broken this post down and only included this content (i.e., background) for Part I. What is ketosis? Ketosis is Continue reading >>

Breastfeeding & No Carb Diets

Breastfeeding & No Carb Diets

Video of the Day Cutting carbs or calories suddenly can cause your milk supply to dwindle, leaving you struggling to make enough breast milk for your baby's needs. Some moderately low-carb diets have multiple phases, so you might be able to skip the ultra-restrictive early phases and try a diet that gives you some healthy carbs and enough calories to maintain milk production. Aim for slow weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds a week and avoid dieting at all until around eight weeks after your baby's birth. At this point, your milk supply is fully established, so dieting won't derail that process. When you embark on a drastic diet, your body's fat stores may release stored toxins that could get into your breast milk. If your diet restricts carbs, you could also be missing out on vital nutrients that your body needs to support your own and your baby's health. Women on an extremely carb-restricted diet often begin to produce types of chemicals called ketones, and it is unknown whether ketones can get into breast milk or whether they are a danger to a nursing baby. Continue reading >>

Low Carb Breastfeeding And Milk Supply

Low Carb Breastfeeding And Milk Supply

Almost every woman wants to lose weight. This is even truer after the birth of a beautiful child that you’ve anticipated for the previous 9 months. But now that your baby is here and you’re nursing, you might wonder how, or if, you can do low carb breastfeeding. The answer is: yes, you can do low carb breastfeeding to lose weight and no, it will not affect your baby. Read on to find out why low carb breastfeeding will not affect your milk supply. The human body needs ZERO carbs to survive. Milk 101 Breast milk is made on a supply and demand basis. It is NOT made on a diet and demand basis. This means the more frequent your baby is at the breast suckling, the more milk your body will produce. It may take your breast milk supply a few days to catch up to baby’s needs and milk requirements but the human body is a remarkable thing. It knows exactly how much to make and when, but sometimes there are problems. These problems could arise from improper latching techniques to inverted nipples to a child’s illness (decreased thirst/hunger), or dehydration. Before you can blame your diet for a low milk supply or think that low carb dieting might lower it, ask yourself this. Ask yourself, “Will having pizza tonight increase my breast milk supply?” If you laughed at that question, that means you probably already have a good idea that your diet doesn’t directly impact your milk supply. Low Carb Breastfeeding Myth It is a myth that consuming fewer carbs reduces your milk supply. There’s no telltale sign where this myth came from, but there are a few things you should keep in mind. Before carbs were commercially produced in excess quantities (see an article about this here) on factory lines all across the globe, Americans consumed far fewer carbohydrates than we do toda Continue reading >>

Breastfeeding On A Ketogenic Diet

Breastfeeding On A Ketogenic Diet

Breastfeeding on a ketogenic diet: my personal experience Having a baby is one of the most exciting and nerve wracking times in your life, one great big cocktail of emotions. With nine months to prepare, trying to absorb as much information as possible can make you panic rather than put your mind at ease. There’s an abundance of general information on the internet but a lot of this is conflicting and very confusing! I’ll seek to answer the question I know you’ll all be wondering. Breastfeeding on a ketogenic diet: Is it safe? I began my ketogenic journey during pregnancy in preparation for our daughter being born. Searching the internet for information on the ketogenic lifestyle and new mothers, I found the information on breastfeeding on a ketogenic diet was limited and very conflicting. Every mother wants to do what’s best for their child – I desperately wanted to give myself the best chance of breastfeeding our daughter as possible. My ultimate concern was that the keto lifestyle may prevent my ability to do this. I wanted to share my story with you in the hope that it may provide some of that missing resource that i was desperately seeking when my journey first began. The darkness After 12 weeks of being fully keto adapted, I was feeding my baby one afternoon and noticed that she was becoming very frustrated. She had only been feeding for a short while and began pulling at my boob, becoming very restless. Whilst looking for the cause of her frustration, to my horror I realised that my milk had completely dried up! I was immediately overwhelmed with blind panic. A moment of weakness, fuelled by sheer panic and a lack of sleep, resulted in me finding an excuse to get my hands on the forbidden foods – refined carbs and sugar! The cravings part of my brain h Continue reading >>

Atkins For Breastfeeding Mothers

Atkins For Breastfeeding Mothers

For new mothers, losing weight is probably the furthest thing from their minds and in my opinion, this is exactly as it should be. I think that in our culture mothers are sometimes expected to bounce back to ‘normal’ as though nothing has changed! In reality, everything has changed and you have a lot more important things to think about in those first few weeks or months. As well as getting to know your baby, establishing breastfeeding, adjusting your sleeping patterns and often your expectations you need to try to give yourself time to rest and recover. However, at some point when you feel ready to begin losing the baby weight and you have consulted with your doctor, the Atkins Nutritional Approach is an excellent choice. This is true no matter how you feed your baby but when breastfeeding there are some extra considerations so I’ll focus on these for this article. Won’t breastfeeding make me lose the baby weight? While breastfeeding certainly helps with losing the baby weight more quickly, it’s not a magic fix. Just as you cannot ‘out-train a bad diet’ you can’t ‘out-breastfeed a bad diet’ either! There are many many regular gym goers and marathon runners that are overweight proving that exercise alone will not make you lose weight. In the same way, it stands to reason that if your diet is not good, the extra calories needed for breastfeeding will not make you lose the baby weight either. Should I wait until the baby is weaned? Sometimes you may see the advice to wait until the baby is weaned before starting a diet. However the World Health Organisation say: “Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond.” Obviously, the deci Continue reading >>

Babies Thrive Under A Ketogenic Metabolism

Babies Thrive Under A Ketogenic Metabolism

Some people, even some scientists who study ketogenic metabolism, have the idea that ketogenesis is somehow abnormal, or exceptional; an adaptation for emergencies only. We disagree. One reason we think a ketogenic metabolism is normal and desirable, is that human newborns are in ketosis. Despite the moderate sugar content of human breast milk, breastfeeding is particularly ketogenic. This period of development is crucial, and there is extensive brain growth during it. Although the composition of breast milk can be affected by diet [1], it is reasonable to assume that breast milk has always been ketogenic, and this is not an effect of modernisation. When the brain is in its period of highest growth, and when the source of food is likely to be close to what it evolved to be for that period, ketones are used to fuel that growth. If nothing else, this suggests that learning is well supported by a ketogenic metabolism. It is also consistent with the ability of ketogenic diets to treat a variety of seemingly unrelated brain disorders and brain trauma. Newborn infants are in ketosis. This is their normal state. Breastfeeding is particularly ketogenic (compared to formula feeding). Breastfeeding longer (up to a point) is associated with better health outcomes. This suggests the hypothesis that weaning onto a ketogenic diet would be healthier than weaning onto a high-carb diet. (Mark-up ours) Human babies are in ketosis Soon after birth, human babies are in ketosis, and remain so while breastfeeding [2]. They use ketones and fats for energy and for brain growth. When this has been studied, in the first couple of hours after birth, babies aren't immediately in ketosis. There is a short delay [3]. During that brief period before ketogenesis starts, lactate (confusingly not to do Continue reading >>

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