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Why Is Ketosis Bad In Pregnancy

Ketosis During Pregnancy

Ketosis During Pregnancy

So I did a urine dip stick test and my ketones were really high (the second highest) and I also had elevated protein and bilirubin. I'm only 7 weeks pregnant and I've been very nauseous but no vomiting. I really can't stomach eating very much at all and I've lost 10 lbs in the last 3 weeks! With my daughter, I also had morning sickness but lost about 12 lbs over 3 months. The only difference between this pregnancy and the last is that I'm paleo now, and I wasn't with my daughter. I'm wondering if anyone else has had this? Should I be eating the most sugary foods I can manage? I'm not sure what to do. I haven't gone to the doctor about it yet, but I'm planning on making an appointment if things don't get better in a couple of days. Continue reading >>

How Many Carbs Should I Eat During Pregnancy?

How Many Carbs Should I Eat During Pregnancy?

How many carbs should I eat now that I’m pregnant? A healthy Paleo or Primal diet is naturally lower in carbohydrates when compared to the standard American diet (SAD) and commonly ranges from 10-35% depending on individuals’ needs, goals and preferences. Your carbohydrate needs in pregnancy may need to be altered from its non -pregnant levels, both as your activity levels modify and as your body works hard to grow a new life. In this post, I’ll answer the not so simple question to, “How many carbs do I need when I’m pregnant?” If you are overweight and/or have a diagnosis of PCOS before becoming pregnant, your risk of pregnancy related complications may be diminished by reducing your weight to ‘normal’ levels and learning to control your insulin levels with Paleo eating and exercise. A common weight reduction strategy among Paleo eaters is to adopt a low carb or very low carb (VLC) approach. Reducing carbs when overweight or struggling with metabolic syndrome can be an incredibly effective tool for fat loss and insulin control, however when pregnant, this approach can cause some issues and it’s important not to attempt weight loss when pregnant in order to properly nourish your growing baby. Pregnancy is a natural anabolic (growing) state; the object of the game here is to grow a new life! The body facilitates growth in pregnancy by creating a natural state of insulin resistance thanks to a variety of hormones including a hormone produced by the placenta called Human Placental Lactogen (HPL). To simplify, your blood sugars are naturally higher when pregnant in order to facilitate adequate glucose transfer to your baby. Remember high school chemistry? Sugars move from high concentration (your bloodstream) to low (baby’s blood stream) through the proc Continue reading >>

Low Carbs And Pregnancy - Part 1

Low Carbs And Pregnancy - Part 1

The Great Debate As a prenatal dietitian, I am constantly asked about low carbohydrate diets. Are low carb diets safe during pregnancy? Can a low carb diet help prevent too much weight gain during pregnancy? Are carbs bad for me? The list goes on and on. I know that radio, television, diet books, and magazines have given a lot of attention to the no or low-carbohydrate, high-protein diets. Let's check out the facts: The Truth About Carbohydrates Carbohydrates are the ideal fuel for most body functions. It supplies the body with the energy needed for the muscles, brain and the central nervous system. In fact, the human brain depends exclusively on carbohydrates for its energy. Carbohydrates are found in fruits, vegetables, beans, dairy products, foods made from grain products, and sweeteners such as sugar, honey, molasses, and corn syrup. The body converts the digestible carbohydrate into glucose, which our cells use as fuel. Some carbs (simple) are broken down quickly into glucose while others (complex) are broken down and enter the bloodstream more gradually. Some glucose is stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles for future use. If there is extra glucose, it is converted into body fat. That means the faster that carbs are converted to glucose, the more that eventually converts to fat. The Body's Immediate Reaction To Very Low Carbohydrate Diets When there is a severe deficit of carbohydrate, the body has several immediate reactions. With no glucose available for energy, the body starts using protein for energy. Therefore protein is no longer available for more important functions: the making of cells, tissue, enzymes, hormones, and antibodies; and the regulation of fluid balance. When carbohydrates are lacking, the body cannot use its fat in the correct way. Norma Continue reading >>

Is Going In And Out Of Ketosis Bad?

Is Going In And Out Of Ketosis Bad?

In the earlier stages of adaptation going into ketosis may feel bad and going out may stop your progress for a fair while, so is to be avoided if all possible IMHO. Eventually once properly adapted you should have a lot more metabolic flexibility and will more readily switch. At that point you should mostly not notice anything anymore. Apart from how it feels, it is IMHO obviously not bad for you to switch energy pathways as conditions demand, that’s just part of how your metabolism works to help ensure you’re properly fuelled. According to Dr. Colin Champ, oncologist and assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, for weight loss in someone who doesn’t have much to lose, periodic ketosis for a couple days seems to work. For others with a lot of weight to lose and/or those that do poorly with carbohydrates, the diet may need to be maintained for several months. He said: “I personally go in and out of ketosis frequently, getting very strict every month or two for about 5 days. I have been in ketosis for 6 months and even over a year, but function and feel better when I avoid long-term ketosis.” Anecdotally, when some individuals still have some fat to burn, they thrive in ketosis for longer periods of time more so than others. Some longer-term ketogenic diet followers do experience hormonal changes and probably should not be on the diet for an extended period of time. Continue reading >>

Wheat Belly For A Marathoner And Pregnant Mother

Wheat Belly For A Marathoner And Pregnant Mother

Chris shared her unique story of being ketotic while following a Wheat Belly wheat/grain-free lifestyle during endurance training/competition and pregnancy. “I did Wheat Belly/ketogenic diet for Boston [Marathon] last year and it was so effective in increasing endurance. There was never a reason to fuel, except for hydration. “Now 6 months pregnant with my 4th and this is the first time I’ve been wheat-free and on a ketogenic diet for pregnancy. The results so far are amazing: no crazy emotional mood swings, no out of control hunger, no crazy weight gain and the baby is growing beautifully. My midwife is basically dumbfounded. “I think the biggest change in this pregnancy over my last 3 is that my husband tells people he can’t believe how nice his wife is this time. I’ve struggled with anxiety my whole life, so having that under control with food is profound. Who knew after growing up a carb-loving vegetarian that I’d feel better removing grains/carbs, eating healthy fats and, of course, meat. “The result: rarely hungry, no crazy anxiety, weight is always stable, lots of energy and a little less money as nutritious dense food is more expensive.” I have previously discussed how endurance athletes are increasingly recognizing that the process of fat burning is a far better method of sustaining energy during endurance exercise than carb loading (not to mention that carb loading is intrinsically detrimental to health and accelerates conditions such as cataracts, deterioration of joint cartilage, and dementia). But I’ve not discussed the effects experienced during pregnancy. Chris’ experience is consistent with what my friend and fertility specialist, Dr. Michael Fox describes: fertility restored in many infertile women, dramatic reduction in morning si Continue reading >>

Is Going In And Out Of Ketosis Bad For Cholesterol Levels Or Organs?

Is Going In And Out Of Ketosis Bad For Cholesterol Levels Or Organs?

I would be a bit cautious about “going in and out” - not because it’s bad or because it’s hard to do. Rather, because if you go “in and out continuously” - I’m hoping that you say that as supported by actual measurements and not just the mere fact that you don’t eat carbs for a day and then binge the next day - and then the cycle repeats. Although your body utilizes ketones on a continuous basis, the onset of “ketosis” per se, requires some adaptation period and a relatively substantial depletion of glycogen. You need to allow some time for this to happen - if you change your eating pattern too quickly (and if you didn’t specifically do anything to deplete your glycogen reserves, such as heavy-weight exercise, etc.) - you might not even get into ketosis before, allegedly, getting out of it. Of course, those could be just my assumptions - but, generally, I would say you have to follow ketogenic diet for at least 2–3 days to actually slip into ketosis, while you may only need a couple of hours to get out of it, if you overindulge in carbs. Other than the frequency of those changes - getting in and out by itself is not an issue and, actually, may be preferred (unless you have specific medical conditions that require you to be in ketosis for a long time). Now, to address cholesterol - cholesterol is generally not an issue by itself (read: Dietary Cholesterol Redeemed). It’s only in combination with other pro-inflammatory compounds and other detrimental effects of an unhealthy lifestyle that it may become an issue and contribute to heart disease. In reality, cholesterol is an “indicator” of a problem, not the cause for it. Conversely, none of your cells would be able to function properly - but that’s a topic of a different discussion. Your org Continue reading >>

Is Low Carb And Keto Safe During Pregnancy?

Is Low Carb And Keto Safe During Pregnancy?

When Carolina Cartier discovered she was pregnant with twins this past March, she never questioned whether she would continue eating a ketogenic diet. The 31-year-old Seattle area woman had been plagued by metabolic issues literally all her life: precocious puberty at age 3; polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) by age 14; weight gain of 320 lbs (145 kg) on her 6 foot (183 cm) frame and pre-diabetes by her 20s. Her PCOS caused her ovaries to be enlarged and covered in cysts. She was told she was infertile and likely never able to have children. In August 2014, aged 28, her health was so poor that she went on medical disability from her job as a financial analyst. That first month off, however, she discovered and adopted the ketogenic diet. Between summer 2014 and February 2017, she lost 120 lbs (54 kg), experienced her first ever natural menstrual period that gradually established into a regular 28-day cycle; her blood sugar normalized and her ovaries reduced to 3.5 cm (< 1.5 inches) size. Her long-standing depression lifted. While she lost two early pregnancies at the start of 2016, likely because of poor egg quality, she knew she was getting healthier every day. Her positive pregnancy test in March 2017 was a happy surprise, as was the news soon after that she was carrying healthy twins. Except for a bout of extreme nausea and sea sickness for a week on a low-carb cruise early in this pregnancy, she has adhered to the ketogenic diet now through to 20 weeks of pregnancy and counting. She plans to continue this way of eating for the rest of her life. She feels great and looks wonderful; the twins in utero are thriving. “My life is transformed. Why would I even consider abandoning this way of eating when all of my positive health changes, and my pregnancy, I owe to this d Continue reading >>

Is It Safe To Go Carb-free During Pregnancy?

Is It Safe To Go Carb-free During Pregnancy?

It’s hard to escape the no-carb craze. At the grocery store you can find just about anything with a low-carb label, from tortillas to frozen dinners and more. Not since the low-fat craze has a single nutrient been so vilified. Carbohydrates are being blamed for a host of serious medical conditions including cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. But carbohydrates alone are not the culprit. Most Americans eat too many carbohydrate-rich foods that are also high in fat, sugar, and calories. There is much debate about the efficacy of diets such as Atkins, South Beach, and The Zone, but a growing body of research confirms that reducing your intake of high-caloric, refined carbohydrates can improve your health, particularly if you are obese or diabetic. As the old saying goes, “There is a time and a place for everything.” And experts agree that for most women, pregnancy is not the time to place yourself on a low-carbohydrate diet. “It is recommended that half the calories a pregnant woman takes in each day should come from carbohydrates,” says Dr. Hope Ricciotti, MD, an OB-GYN and assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and author of The Pregnancy Cookbook. “Glucose, which is the byproduct of carbohydrates, is the primary fuel for the baby.” But before you reach for those chocolate chip cookies, remember that all carbohydrates are not created equal. Consuming fast food, candy, cakes, pizza, doughnuts, and soda can lead to excessive weight gain and exacerbate symptoms of gestational diabetes (diabetes developed during pregnancy). Since these foods have little nutritional value, they cannot provide your growing baby with the nutrients, protein, and healthy fat required for optimal development. “Even if you eat horribly the rest Continue reading >>

Guest Blog Post: Is It Safe To Go Low Carb During Pregnancy?

Guest Blog Post: Is It Safe To Go Low Carb During Pregnancy?

Today my friend and colleague, Lily Nichols, a fellow registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator, shares her insight on carbohydrate-restricted diets during pregnancy. This is a controversial topic that I believe deserves more attention and investigation, which Lily does brilliantly in the following article. Is It Safe to Go Low Carb During Pregnancy? With the wide adoption of low-carbohydrate diets, many people question if they are safe during pregnancy. While quite a few women use a lower carbohydrate diet to conceive (since they are especially useful for women struggling with infertility[1]), most medical professionals discourage women from continuing this diet during pregnancy. I find it ironic that if you tell your doctor that you plan to eat low carb during pregnancy, they’ll say it’s unsafe, but if you say you plan to eat a diet based on fresh vegetables, meat, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, seeds, and a little fruit, they’ll encourage you to stay the course. The controversy over the safety of low carbohydrate diets in pregnancy stems primarily from misconceptions around ketosis. It’s incorrect, but widely accepted, that ketosis during pregnancy is harmful to a developing baby. When I first dove into the research, I was shocked to find that studies on healthy, non-diabetic pregnant women (eating a “regular” diet) show a marked elevation in ketones after a 12-18 hour fast, which is akin to eating dinner at 8pm and having breakfast at 8am (or skipping breakfast entirely).[2] What’s more interesting is that pregnancy actually seems to favor a state of ketosis. Compared to non-pregnant women, blood ketone concentrations are about 3-fold higher in healthy pregnant women after an overnight fast.[3] And in late pregnancy, metabolism shifts to a state o Continue reading >>

Keto During Pregnancy

Keto During Pregnancy

I get a ton of emails a few months after these consults telling me that they are ecstatic and are now pregnant but are wondering on what to eat now. As if this diet of REAL food would be harmful to a fetus. There are many reasons why to not add in certain foods like gluten and dairy. Many times when cravings get the best of pregnant clients and they consume these foods, the auto-immune response can result in a miscarriage. But even if the clients are committed about staying away from gluten and dairy, they often worry that too low of carbs is bad for the fetus. You will never find evidence of this, but you will read it all over the web. The information that clients read have a few flaws: 1. A huge mistake is when people and doctors compare benign dietary ketosis to diabetic ketoacidosis. You can produce ketones in a starvation state. So instead of using a well-formulated low carb diet, they starved pregnant rats to get them into ketosis. The flaw in that evidence should be obvious. 2. The last form of this “evidence” is when they sliced up the brains of rat fetuses and saturated them in ketones. What happened was that the brain cells lived but it stopped producing new brain cells. This is thought to be evidence that ketosis causes retardation. Now let’s dive into the facts. The lean human body is 74% fat and 26% protein by calories. Fats are a structural part of every human cell and the preferred fuel source of the mitochondria, the energy-burning units of each cell. A fetus naturally uses ketones before and immediately after birth. Many studies done on pregnant pigs that are placed on ketogenic diets have fetuses with “increased fetal brain weight, cell size and protein content. In the early stages of pregnancy there is an upsurge in body fat accumulation, whic Continue reading >>

Ketosis During Pregnancy – Is It Safe?

Ketosis During Pregnancy – Is It Safe?

Ketosis is a state of metabolism in adults where the energy is supplied to the body by ketones present in the blood rather than glycolysis, where the energy comes from glucose. People often land up in a dilemma while judging whether ketosis is safe during pregnancy or not. The diet of a woman has to undergo certain changes in case she nears pregnancy. However, you should be aware of the effects of ketosis before you opt for such a diet. The body of a woman undergoes a lot of changes during pregnancy. Food choices are important when she tries to conceive. Here, you will have a detailed information about ketosis before and during pregnancy. Ketosis before Pregnancy Although people think that ketosis during pregnancy is harmful, in reality, it can help you get pregnant. If you want to draw your energy from ketone particles, you should plan a ketogenic diet. For an ordinary person, it is safe and even women trying to get pregnant can stick to such a meal. These meals are low-carb diets, and people can switch to these diets when they get pregnant. Well, it is important to know that ketosis is safe before you get pregnant. However, the norms are a bit different during pregnancy and you should stick to the rules. Read on to know whether it is safe during pregnancy or not. If you had heard that ketosis is harmful during pregnancy, you might be confusing it with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). This is completely different from ketosis that we are speaking of here. DKA has no relevance with nutritional ketosis and it is a far more harmful syndrome. It occurs in diabetic people where the level of insulin is not managed properly. It disrupts the balance of acid and base in the body. The level of blood sugar in the case of DKA is around three times the normal conditions. This situation Continue reading >>

Add High-fat Diet To The ‘don’t’ List For Pregnant Moms

Add High-fat Diet To The ‘don’t’ List For Pregnant Moms

WASHINGTON — There’s always new advice coming out about what pregnant women should — or should not — eat. Get enough protein. Get enough folate. Don’t eat too much sugar. But don’t go too low-carb. Don’t gain too much weight during pregnancy. Eat more nuts. Don’t drink. It’s enough to make any mom-to-be’s head spin. Four different animal studies presented at the recent Society for Neuroscience meeting add another mandate to the list: High-fat diets during pregnancy could have sweeping effects on a female’s offspring. Much of the science on high-fat diets begins in rodents. Salvatore Fusco and colleagues at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Rome fed female mice diets of about 45 percent fat for four weeks before mating and for two weeks after their pups were born. Offspring of the high-fat-diet moms had deficits in memory compared with offspring of mouse moms that ate normal chow, the scientists reported at the meeting on November 18. The mice had to swim to a platform in a memory task called a Morris Water Maze. After teaching the mice where the platform is, scientists cloud the water and remove the platform. They then measure how long the mouse spends in the area where the platform used to be. The offspring of mice fed the high-fat diet learned the task more slowly and spent less time near the platform’s location, a bad sign for memory. Fusco’s group also showed that the effects on memory continued on to the next generation of mice, possibly due to epigenetic effects, chemical changes that turn genes off or on. The effects of a diet high in fat may extend beyond memory. Staci Bilbo and colleagues at Duke University reported November 18 that a similar high-fat diet in mice caused pregnant moms to gain more weight, and their offspri Continue reading >>

The Paleo Guide To Ketosis

The Paleo Guide To Ketosis

Ketosis is a word that gets tossed around a lot within the Paleo community – to some, it’s a magical weight-loss formula, to others, it’s a way of life, and to others it’s just asking for adrenal fatigue. But understanding what ketosis really is (not just what it does), and the physical causes and consequences of a fat-fueled metabolism can help you make an informed decision about the best diet for your particular lifestyle, ketogenic or not. Ketosis is essentially a metabolic state in which the body primarily relies on fat for energy. Biologically, the human body is a very adaptable machine that can run on a variety of different fuels, but on a carb-heavy Western diet, the primary source of energy is glucose. If glucose is available, the body will use it first, since it’s the quickest to metabolize. So on the standard American diet, your metabolism will be primarily geared towards burning carbohydrates (glucose) for fuel. In ketosis, it’s just the opposite: the body primarily relies on ketones, rather than glucose. To understand how this works, it’s important to understand that some organs in the body (especially the brain) require a base amount of glucose to keep functioning. If your brain doesn’t get any glucose, you’ll die. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that you need glucose in the diet – your body is perfectly capable of meeting its glucose needs during an extended fast, a period of famine, or a long stretch of very minimal carbohydrate intake. There are two different ways to make this happen. First, you could break down the protein in your muscles and use that as fuel for your brain and liver. This isn’t ideal from an evolutionary standpoint though – when you’re experiencing a period of food shortage, you need to be strong and fast, Continue reading >>

Gestational Diabetes: Once You’re Diagnosed

Gestational Diabetes: Once You’re Diagnosed

If you’re a pregnant woman, probably one of the last things you want to hear is that you have gestational diabetes. Your thoughts might range from, “What did I do to cause this?” to “Will my baby be OK?” First, keep in mind that it’s perfectly normal to feel scared and worried. Second, while gestational diabetes (GDM) is indeed serious, remember that, with proper management, you can have a healthy baby. Once you’re diagnosed If you find out that you have GDM, be prepared to learn a lot about diabetes! You’ll likely be referred to a diabetes educator and/or a dietitian. You might also be referred to an endocrinologist, a doctor who specializes in diabetes and other endocrine disorders. In most cases, you’ll be seen by a member of your health-care team about every two weeks. Be prepared to start checking your blood glucose with a meter, following a meal plan, checking your urine for ketones, recording your food and glucose levels, and possibly starting on insulin. In other words, be prepared to do some homework! Your team is there to support you and make sure that you receive the right treatment. Treating GDM There are a number of ways in which GDM is treated, and they all work together to help ensure that your blood glucose levels stay in a safe range throughout your pregnancy. Remember that the goal is to keep your blood glucose in a normal range; this is because, when blood glucose levels are too high, the extra glucose crosses the placenta to the baby. Too much glucose can cause your baby to be too large, and may cause other complications for both you and your baby during delivery and later on (such as Type 2 diabetes). Nutrition and meal planning. The saying that “you’re eating for two” during your pregnancy is partly correct. You ARE eating f Continue reading >>

Is A Ketogenic Diet Safe For Pregnant Women?

Is A Ketogenic Diet Safe For Pregnant Women?

A very high fat, low carb, and moderate protein diet (as the ketogenic diet is) is generally safe for everyone. It’s been a natural part of life (at least parts of the time) for as long as humans have been around (think eskimos living for decades on basically just seal meat). There have been zero studies showing that any amount of dietary carbohydrate is “necessary” (which I find somewhat surprising, to be honest). That’s the “easy” part of this question. There are a couple of other things though, such as, “What foods should I try to avoid while I’m pregnant?” or “Can I go through a pregnancy and not gain more than X pounds by limiting my diet?” that get you into danger. The macronutrient ratios in the ketogenic diet are totally safe and will not prevent you from having a happy and healthy pregnancy. If you start trying to restrict salt content, or restrict calories a lot, or don’t drink enough water, or eat way too much protein because you don’t want to eat fat, or any number of the other mistakes that a lot of people starting the ketogenic diet fall into, then you are obviously in a much worse spot than the average person. So I would probably not necessarily *start* a person on the KD if they were pregnant just because I’ve seen so many people screw up basic things when they were starting out, but if someone is fat adapted already and wanted to keep that up during the pregnancy, I’d say kudos. * And just for completeness I should note here that I’m not a medical doctor and don’t play one on the internet and you should consult a medical professional before making important life/health choices - (List Of Low-Carb Doctors) Continue reading >>

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