I Wish I Stayed More Disciplined
Lets just cut to the chaseI was NOT following a strict ketogenic diet while I was pregnant. I admitted as much several times throughout those nine months.
I ate keto/low carb for the most part but I caved to my cravings. There was zero discipline within me when it came to cravings. My husband, bless his heart, would run out at 10pm to get me whatever it was I needed wanted in that moment.
Somehow I convinced myself that I was doing fine because up until the middle of my second trimester I really hadnt gained any weight. After all, when youre pregnant you do have to eat more to support a growing baby.
And by normal standards, I was killin it.
Planned Pregnancies & Risk Of Neural Tube Defects
Another interesting finding was that women who had planned their pregnancies didnt experience an increased risks of neural tube defects, even if they were on a low carb diet. Perhaps they ate healthier foods , or took folic acid supplements, in anticipation of getting pregnant. This speaks to the importance of determining what type of low carb diet is being followed, and suggests theres more to the story than simply how much fortified cereal or other carbs a pregnant woman eats.
On the other hand, women who had unplanned pregnancies wouldnt have had the chance to ensure they were getting enough folate or folic acid during those first critical four weeks of pregnancy, and by the time they found out they were pregnant, it could very well have been too late. This is where the beauty of enriching flour and pasta comes in: it helps ensure all women of childbearing age are getting enough folic acid, whether theyre pregnant, planning to get pregnant, or none of the above!
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Is The Keto Diet Good For Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes has increased in the past decade, with between two to 10 percent of pregnant women in the U.S. developing the condition, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Since the condition can lead to serious problems for both mother and baby, its important to keep your blood sugar in balance during pregnancy. But while there is evidence that a keto diet helps to control diabetes in non-pregnant people, there is no solid evidence that the diet helps with gestational diabetes.
If you have gestational diabetes, ask your practitioner about strategies to help manage the condition, such as eating smaller and more frequent meals throughout the day to keep blood sugar stable, or cutting out processed carbs like candy and junk food while increasing your intake of veggies, nuts, seeds, healthy fats and protein.
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How To Lose Kid Belly Fat
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Keto And Pregnancy: Are There Any Risks
Theres no doubt keto can be great for your health. It can help you lose weight, reverse diabetes, and reduce heart disease risk, among so many other things .
But what about pregnancy? Can keto help or do the opposite on that front?
If youre expecting or are planning to conceive, its natural that you ask yourself these questions. Pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding are physically demanding, after all, and good nutrition is essential in meeting these demands. As a mom-to-be, youre also worried about whether keto may impact your growing baby.
To help you in deciding whats best for you and your baby, heres what you need to know about keto and pregnancy.
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Metabolic Status Of Pre
Average body weight and blood glucose of KD female mice did not statistically differ from those of SD female mice prior to mating. However, prior to mating, the serum ketone and cholesterol concentrations of KD female mice were significantly elevated, and their serum triglyceride concentrations were significantly lower compared with those of SD female mice , as anticipated for the KD diet .
Can A Keto Diet Help With Fertility Or Conception
With the rising popularity of keto has come numerous studies investigating whether or not low-carb diets can improve fertility hormones.
Fat is absolutely necessary for reproductive hormone production, as fats are actually the basis for these hormones . This is one reason why women who follow very low fat or restrictive eating patterns may have difficulty conceiving, as the body doesnt have the macronutrients it needs in order to support the reproductive process.
A review of recent scientific research found that there were significant improvements in hormone levels in sub-fertile women who followed a lower-carbohydrate diet.
It is important to note that these studies were not keto-specific, and the women only needed to eat less than 45% of calories from carbohydrates compared to ketos more strict guideline of less than 5% .
Keto takes high-fat dieting to the extreme, with very little carbohydrate and most of your daily energy coming from fat. Including more dietary fat has the potential to aid fertility, but maintaining a very low carbohydrate intake is not necessary to experience benefits.
If youre trying to conceive, its therefore unwise to follow a very low fat, or very high fat diet such as keto.
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Tip #: Eat A Nutrient
The cover of Nichols book features two fried eggs with sliced avocado and cherry tomatoes a low-carb high-fat meal. It is the perfect breakfast, or any meal, for gestational diabetes, she says. Her advice: eat nutrient-dense foods over empty calories.
Some low-carb people are just living off fat bombs and bulletproof coffee. You need to have good, common sense with variety in your diet.She recommends having protein like meat, fish, and eggs snacks like nuts and seeds and lots of vegetables with natural fats like olive oil or butter. Nichols suggests eating liver once or twice a week, to help ensure a good natural intake of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in your diet.
She further recommends avoiding all highly processed foods, added sugar, refined carbs, as well as high-glycemic fruit and fruit juices. If your blood sugar is still high, consider cutting out all fruit except berries. You do not need to add in bread and cereals to have a healthy pregnancy, says Nichols. Pay attention to how you feel, and monitor your blood sugars. Some pregnant women may feel better eating slightly more carbs, but I think the majority of women with GD, and all pregnant women in general, do better with at least one-half to one-quarter the carbohydrates recommended in conventional nutrition guidelines .31
Are gestational diabetes programs around the globe now registering that message and advising lower carb? Alas, not yet.
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High Saturated Fat Intake
Protein is part of the keto diet, but most keto diets dont differentiate between healthy, lean protein and the kinds with lots of saturated fats like beef and pork. Since fat is encouraged, the diet can actually lead people to eat more unhealthy meat, plus oils, butter, and lard.
Healthy fats ARE an essential part of your diet to encourage growth of your baby. But too many saturated fat can cause health problems like higher cholesterol, which puts a strain on a pregnant moms heart and therefore the pregnancy.
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Are Keto Diets Safe During Pregnancy
Although the keto diet remains popular, many questions remain unanswered about its safety. For most healthy people, a short-term keto diet is harmless, although most people regain the weight when they begin eating carbohydrates. If you have chronic health conditions â especially kidney or liver disease â the risk of making these conditions worse may not be worth the short-term weight loss.
For pregnant women, it’s widely believed that restricting foods can be dangerous to both the woman and baby. A true keto diet, in which you severely limit carbohydrates, is not recommended. While there are always exceptions to the rule, women should avoid a keto diet when they’re trying to conceive, pregnant, or lactating.
Check with your doctor about any significant diet changes you’re considering â especially if you’re pregnant or hope to be soon. They can help you make the best decision for you and your future bundle of joy.
Is The Keto Diet Safe During Pregnancy
There are many concerns about the ketogenic diet in pregnancy. For one, the goal of the keto diet is to reach a state of ketosis, which is when the body does not have enough glucose for energy, so it burns fat instead. But in the first trimester, your body is trying to store fat for energy thats used later in pregnancy.
The keto diet can also result in a build-up of ketones , which can freely cross through to the placenta. Its normal for the body to make some ketones during pregnancy, but its unclear what effect an abundance of ketones will have on a developing fetus.
There have been no randomized, controlled trials of ketogenic diets in pregnancy, so there is no safety data, says Howard Berger, the head of maternal fetal medicine and deputy chief of obstetrics at St. Michaels Hospital in Toronto. But the fetal brain requires glucose for function and development, and forcing the developing brain to convert to a ketone energy supply has potential adverse effects.
While there havent been studies on the keto diet in pregnant women for obvious ethical reasons, there have been some in mice, and the results werent good. Studies in pregnant mice have found that eating a keto diet affects embryo function and organ development, notably the heart and brain, which may have negative consequences in adulthood, says Ward. Organs that do not form properly can result in cardiovascular disease later in life, among other health problems.
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Can You Be Low
Dietitians and healthcare providers are increasingly endorsing a modified keto diet during pregnancy. This is often called the dirty keto diet in the keto community.
In dirty keto, many keto principles are adopted without the focus on staying in ketosis. While a lower-carb diet is safe for pregnancy and the production of ketones is a normal sign of pregnancy, dirty keto encourages mostly fat in the diet followed by
protein and carbohydrates, however, the ratios vary depending on your provider.
Aim For Macronutrient Diversity During Pregnancy
The types of macronutrients you consume during pregnancy do affect your babys metabolism, both during the pregnancy and after birth.
If youre restricting carbs while pregnant , this restriction tells your babys developing body that carbs are not a readily available food source. So their body learns that foods high in this macronutrient wont be as available when theyre born.
This can theoretically lead to conditions like obesity, metabolic syndrome, and insulin deficiency in the child if they end up eating a diet that has a much higher quantity of carbs than a ketogenic diet.
Unless you keep your child on a ketogenic diet for their entire lives, you may be setting your kid up for future metabolic inflexibility.
Of course, I dont want all of these studies to scare you into eating foods that dont work for you. Especially while youre pregnant!
If youre eating a well-rounded diet, rich in a wide variety of foods, vitamins, and minerals you WILL be providing your baby with the building blocks needed to grow into a strong and healthy human. And you WILL be supporting your body through this demanding, nutrient-depleting time.
If the foods that make you feel your best are lower in carbohydrates and higher in fat, make sure youre filling your plate with lots of high quality, low carb veggies.
That way your babys growing body has the nutrients and vitamins it needs to grow. And choose healthy sources of fats which will help babys brain development too.
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Yet Healthy Ketotm Emphasizes Nutrient
Keto is typically a very nutrient-dense diet filled with healthy fats and moderate protein. The version I recommend, my Healthy KetoTM, has lots of vegetables in addition to fats and protein, to ensure youre consuming an adequate amount of essential nutrients.
How could eating this way be unhealthy for a fetus or infant?
On the keto diet, your focus is on reducing carbs to keep your blood sugar and Fat Storing Hormone levels low. Doing so potentially sets up your babys body to be able to regulate their own blood sugar and Fat Storing Hormone levels, lower their potential of being too large because of maternal diabetes, and reduce their risk of obesity.
Yes, there are articles stating that a low-carbohydrate diet is dangerous to a fetus however, if you read the details youll discover that the articles mostly regurgitate outdated nutrition advice based on the guidelines in the food pyramid that have been shown to be unhealthy. They recommend far too many servings of carbs and dairy, and far too little healthy fat.
Plus, of course, the pyramid contradicts a healthy ketogenic diet.
When I dug into the research, I discovered that most of the articles assumed you were going on keto while pregnant to try to lose weight, something I think we can all agree is the wrong focus.
And you know something? Theres a recommended food for your baby thats actually harmful. Keep reading this may surprise you.
Tip #: Have Early Blood Sugar Tests To Assess Your Risk
Women who go into pregnancy with pre-existing insulin resistance, or undiagnosed pre-diabetes, are much more likely to develop GD.18 In addition, the physiology of pregnancy naturally increases insulin resistance, potentially compounding the issue.
An HbA1c test which measures the average blood sugar levels in the previous three months taken prior to pregnancy or early in the first trimester can help identify women at risk in advance. Values greater than 5.7% may indicate prediabetes, and many doctors treat this the same as gestational diabetes. The higher the number, the higher your average blood sugar. A level of 5.9% or higher accurately predicates gestational diabetes 98.4% of the time.19 Note: HbA1C tests later in the pregnancy are less reliable because of rapid blood cell turnover and low iron stores.20
A fasting blood glucose prior to pregnancy or early in the first trimester can also help flag potential problems, if values are higher than 5.6 mmol/l , which is suggestive of prediabetes. Depending on your result, you may need to make blood sugar control a bigger priority. Tackling it upfront can prevent blood sugar issues in the pregnancy and future complications, Nichols said. Jovanovic agrees: Waiting until 24 to 28 weeks to diagnosis GD means the fetus may have spent many weeks earlier in the pregnancy exposed to high blood sugars. You want to be on top of it early.21
Can Ketones Affect Pregnancy
Ketones can cross the placenta regularly to the baby when eating other diets, but it is not known what impact they may have when eating the keto diet.
Due to the possibility of causing harm to the unborn child, most research studies are not conducted with pregnant women. Studies conducted on animals may or may not be applicable to humans.
A study conducted by BMC Pregnancy Childbirth in 2013 demonstrated that pregnant mice on a keto diet had babies with a larger heart and a smaller brain than typical babies.
Another study done on mice in 2015 found that their offspring had a higher risk of developing depression and anxiety as adults if their mothers were on the keto diet while pregnant.
These single studies, while they produced a lot of valuable data, are not sufficient to determine whether they are valid because they must be repeated and results must be replicated, which still needs to be done.
What If Im Pregnant And Overweight
Unless your doctor specifically advises you otherwise, you should not try to lose weight during pregnancy. While weight gain recommendations vary based on your starting body mass index , your bodys first priority is growing a healthy baby, so that should be your main focus during pregnancy, not dieting.
Rather than relying solely on your weight as an indicator of your health, treat pregnancy as the perfect time to shift your attention to increasing the quality of your diet. Focus on eating nutrient-dense, whole foods that aren’t high in refined sugars, and be mindful of your hunger and fullness cues.
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