You’ve probably heard of the ketogenic diet as a good method of weight loss. But is it safe for mothers who are breastfeeding? Is a it a good way to lose your baby weight?
What Is The Ketogenic Diet?
The ketogenic diet is one that is very high in fats but low in carbohydrates, such as Paleo diets and Atkins diets. On those weight loss diets, your body is forced into “ketosis.”
According to the Clinical Nutrition European Journal, ketosis is when your body is out of your regular source of energy (your carbohydrate stores) and starts to burn your fat reserves for energy instead.
As for the scientific research behind it, there are multiple studies that show several benefits of the diet. For example, women diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) have found that their symptoms lessened while on the diet. Women with PCOS can have an extremely painful period following birth, so this diet can be extremely useful.
However, other studies on the diet were performed mainly on mice. Although it showed promising results with regards to a correlation to longer lifespans, midlife mortality, cognitive function and weight loss, researchers say it is still “too soon to recommend.” But there’s no harm in trying.
Is It Safe For Breastfeeding?
Some research has shown possible risks of ketogenic diets in terms of your baby’s health. The American Journal of Physiology says that maintaining a ketogenic diet during pregnancy and during the breastfeeding period may be linked to lowered levels of triglycerides in the baby’s liver. However, this study was performed on mice, and so it is uncertain whether this risk pertains to humans.
According to Amber Edwards, a lactation consultant, “ketogenic diets do tend to work very well for weight loss. Sometimes, when something works well, it can work too well, and that is the case with a keto diet."
She pointed out that a sudden drop in weight while you’re lactating could cause slower milk production, and could even cause it to stop completely. "You may think that with all of the fat you're eating that it would be safe and healthy, and it can be, but you have to lose weight slowly for that."
She said that producing milk requires more sugar and carbs than a keto diet allows during its weight loss phase. “However, in the maintenance phase, you're allowed significantly more carbs and fruit, which means that you can continue to produce an adequate supply of milk."