Sunday, December 1, 2013

Keto and Breastfeeding: Introduction

A while back my husband began what he referred to as the Ketogenic diet. The Keto diet is similar to a Paleo or caveman diet, with slightly varied restrictions. Basically, you give up almost all carbohydrates from your diet. This includes all sugars and starches (even from fruit and whole grains).

Over time, with the abundance of carbohydrates in our daily diets, our bodies have grown used to using carbs as our fuel source. And why shouldn't they? Carbohydrates are about the easiest thing for our bodies to utilize that we can consume. As you may know, when you eat carb-laden foods, you get a burst of energy right away. This energy is short-lived, followed by what is often referred to as a "sugar crash". The point of the Keto diet is to switch your body's fuel source to burning the already-existing fat stores on you. (More information on KETO)

When he first described it to me, hoping I would join him, I thought my husband was crazy. Me? Give up my favorite breads, sweets, and most of my favorite fruits? Good luck! However, as he continued it (and with great success, I might add) I started looking into the specifics of Keto. After researching a bit, I decided that it was worth a shot. I dove right in with a six-week stint (and documented my experience here) and I was convinced! Because I found very little information regarding breastfeeding women on a ketogenic diet, I decided to try to post as much as I could about it!

Update: Over a year and a half later, I still stand by the benefits of a ketogenic lifestyle.

If you are a breastfeeding mother with a child over 4 months minimum (I'd recommend 6 months if you've had supply issues), I say go for it, all in. If your child is younger, or you've had some recent issues, I recommend you go into maintenance mode - which basically means you restrict yourself to 100 grams of carbohydrates in a day, rather than the typical ~25. By doing this, you will be going through a less-drastic change, and will be less likely to have a huge impact on your body. In any case, you might consider starting at 100 grams, and slowly decreasing that over time if you are hesitant!

If you would like to view some tips on beginning (or maintaining) a ketogenic diet while breastfeeding, click through to my other post here: Breastfeeding and the Keto diet TIPS

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