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The latest research has shown us how carbohydrates are intimately involved in weight gain, more so than fat or protein. Due to this, a lot of women believe that going on low-carb or ketogenic diets will help them lose all the excess pregnancy weight. Further, the risks associated with low-carb breastfeeding is minimal, but that is no reason to go on an extreme diet to lose your pregnancy weight. There are still a few dangers to be wary of in this situation. This article will help you understand the importance of and the risks associated with carbohydrates, as well as the potential dangers of a low-carb diet during breastfeeding.
Minimum Carbohydrate Requirements While Nursing
The recommended dietary allowance of carbohydrates that is around 210 grams per day will be sufficient to handle your baby’s milk requirements. Nursing women who indulge in regular exercise will benefit from more carbs. It is essential to obtain carbohydrates from healthy sources like whole grains, brown rice, oatmeal, and so on while avoiding refined sugar as well as polished grains like white rice, bread, baked items, and soft drinks. You may also get healthy carbs from legumes, nuts, dairy products, among others.
Risks of Having a Low-Carb Diet While Breastfeeding
There are a few potential risks of a low carb diet that can have a negative impact on breastfeeding. Some of them include:
1. Reduction in Milk Supply
A drop in the proportion of dietary carbohydrates can result in rapid weight loss, which is certainly not recommended during nursing. This is because your milk supply depends on the consistent energy provided by carbs, and this could impact the nutrition your baby is getting. A low carb diet has more than the recommended amount of protein and fat for a breastfeeding mother, but as they are essential, it is nothing to be concerned about.
2. Reduction in Milk Quality
Going on a harsh diet means that your body fat will be burned at a rapid rate, which might release any toxins that have been stored into the breast milk. This is especially concerning with regards to ketogenic diets, during which ketones are produced by the body. As it is unknown whether ketones can enter breast milk supply or harm the baby, keto diets while breastfeeding are best avoided.
3. Use of Artificial Sweeteners
Going on a low carb diet means getting rid of all carb-based sweeteners like sugar and honey. This will make many people use more artificial sweeteners during the diet. Even though there are no known risks related to artificial sweeteners and breastfeeding, many women avoid them and have natural sweeteners instead.
Tips for Breastfeeding Mothers Who Still Want to Try a Low-Carb Diet
Here are a few tips for you to remain healthy and keep up your milk supply on a low-carb diet.
- Consume around fifty to sixty grams of carbohydrates every day during your breastfeeding period.
- Drink at least eight to ten glasses of water a day to stay hydrated.
- Don’t jump into the diet; instead, start slowly and gradually speed up your pace.
- Please ensure you don’t fall below 1800 calories overall every day.
- Stop your diet if you observe any drop in milk production or supply.
- Start your diet after your baby is three to six months old.
- Observe your baby’s diaper for any change in stool production.
- Keep an eye on your baby’s weight gain process.
Cutting carbohydrates from your diet may indeed help you lose that pregnancy fat, but on the contrary, too little carbs in the diet can reduce or impact your breast milk production. It is crucial to find a balance. It is also essential to keep track of the source of the carbs. Eating small amounts of unhealthy carbs will help you lose that weight, but might cause other long-term complications. Instead, plan for yourself a balanced diet with enough green vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, oils, and lean meats.