Eating healthy is essential to stay in shape.
There is a recent trend for low-carb diets, especially the ketogenic diet, and you may be wondering if it is safe for pregnant women to follow a ketogenic diet. Pregnant women always require healthy nutrition and what about the keto diet? Can a keto diet be enough for pregnant women?
Before answering the question, it is important to know more about the ketogenic diet. In the following sections of the article, you will learn about the ketogenic diet and is a ketogenic diet safe during pregnancy? Should You Consider The Keto Diet During Pregnancy?
The ketogenic diet
The ketogenic diet, or keto diet, for short, is a recent dietary regimen advertised as a “miracle diet.” Everyone is curious about the ketogenic diet. Fitness enthusiasts are going crazy over the amazing transformations and other health benefits of a keto diet.
A keto diet is a low-carb dietary lifestyle with acclaimed health benefits in addition to weight loss. It’s been proven by most, if not all, research to correct various chronic weight-related conditions like type 2 diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), epilepsy, and other things.
Millions take the keto trip every day and you are here for the same good reason. The ketogenic diet is a very low-carb, moderate-protein, high-fat diet that propels your body into a metabolic state called ketosis, helping you shed those extra pounds, giving you other great benefits along the way.
The word keto comes from the word ketogenesis, the name for a metabolic process in the human body. Ketogenic diets are a class of low carbohydrate diets and are executed by reducing carbohydrate intake. It is generally recommended to reduce total carbohydrate intake to 50 grams per day and net carbohydrate intake to 20-30 grams per day to follow a ketogenic diet.
The ketogenic diet is a restrictive diet and different people react to the diet based on their body type. Some people on a ketogenic diet complain of certain symptoms and allergies. These allergies disappear over time. Pros and Cons of Keto Diet Are Also Explained in the Article.
The keto diet, therefore, as such is not a great deal for everyone, but perhaps a different variant of it. The ketogenic diet should be adopted with health conditions, body type, goals, and allergies, if any, in mind.
Keto Diet During Pregnancy for women
Even if you’re not pregnant, following a ketogenic diet is hard work. Most people abandon the ketogenic diet due to its restrictive nature, and people who follow a ketogenic diet often claim that they lack some essential nutrients on a ketogenic diet. The focus on fats and carbohydrates is so extensive that sometimes people on a ketogenic diet don’t get enough macros.
Most fruits and vegetables are a big no-no on a ketogenic diet due to the natural sugars and carbohydrates. Having too much of anyone can throw you out of ketosis. On the contrary, pregnant women need more colorful fruits and vegetables, and other foods rich in minerals and vitamins, to nourish themselves and their baby. A dose of fiber from fruits and vegetables that the ketogenic diet lacks is actually good for preventing constipation during pregnancy.
Pregnant women on a ketogenic diet also lack vitamins A, C, E, D, and B. These are essential for healthy bones, muscles, blood, and nerves. People on a ketogenic diet generally eat unhealthy to get too much fat. This should not be the case. Unhealthy fats will only hamper your ketosis and give you other related problems.
Pregnant women should also consider the common symptoms and aftermath of a ketogenic diet before doing so. People who follow a ketogenic diet often experience symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, headaches.
Ketogenic diet benefits for pregnant women
The symptoms that people, including pregnant women, experience on a ketogenic diet go away over time. In rare cases, they don’t and you need to see your doctor. However, a ketogenic diet has potential benefits to offer pregnant women. Here are some:
Pregnant women spike blood sugar levels during conception, and this usually causes diabetes that lasts the entire time the baby is born. In some cases, this diabetes increases the chances of having type 2 diabetes in the later stages of a newborn’s life. Researchers have suggested that a ketogenic diet can potentially reverse the symptoms of diabetes, also in the case of pregnant women.
Many studies claim that the ketogenic diet improves the chances of pregnancy by helping women weight lose, and get in shape. However, there is no direct established relationship between the keto diet and fertility. If you don’t get enough macros in keto, you might make things worse.
Women can start the keto diet 2-3 months before trying to conceive. Keto diet food should include items such as unsweetened nut butter in vegetables such as celery, cucumber, or cauliflower, as well as walnuts, eggs in all their forms, meats, fresh and canned fish, cheeses, avocado, unflavored pork rinds, butter, fat cream.
Doctors suggest that if the mother consumes low-carbohydrate, high-fat foods every two hours from the moment she wakes up, the rates of miscarriage, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and morning sickness decrease. Keto diet during pregnancy, as long as they consume certain foods for proper nutrition.
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Keto diet occurs more naturally during pregnancy
Most studies show that low ketone levels in a baby are actually beneficial. The brain of a fetus receives 30% of its energy from ketones (3). Ketones help synthesize brain lipids. Babies use ketones for energy. Low levels of ketones produced by the mother are common and important for the growth of the baby.
Some experts believe that during pregnancy, women make ketones more easily. If a woman fasts from dinner to breakfast, it is normal, even when she is not pregnant, to produce low ketones. If a pregnant woman is on a low-carbohydrate diet, her body is also likely to make ketones. In fact, blood ketones are about three times higher on an overnight fast during pregnancy compared to non-pregnant women (4). This confirms the theory that ketone production is a very natural part of pregnancy metabolism. In fact, a keto diet in pregnancy may be occurring without many women realizing it.
Baby’s first meal
After babies are born, their main source of energy comes from fat in the form of breast milk and colostrum. At least 25% of your energy comes from the fat in your breast milk (5). Many experts believe that the first weeks of a newborn’s life are spent in a state of ketosis while utilizing their fat energy storage (6). It seems that ketosis during pregnancy is Mother Nature’s way of helping a baby develop!
At the opposite end of the spectrum, a diet with too many carbohydrates and sugar can be harmful to the fetus and the mother. High sugar levels in a pregnant mother’s diet can lead to additional weight gain, gestational diabetes, eczema, asthma, and a predisposition to ADHD (7). During pregnancy, a woman’s body naturally develops increased insulin resistance. Given the risks, following current dietary recommendations of more than 45% carbohydrates may not be the best advice for pregnant women. Pros and Cons of Keto Diet Are Also Explained in the Article.
So how many carbs?
Eating a diet with around 16-27% of total calories from carbohydrates, or 90-150 g per day (with more than 2,200 calories/day) is a healthy recommendation for pregnancy. This still allows most women to produce low levels of ketones without depriving the fetus of glucose and nutrients necessary for growth. This recommendation aligns with most traditional and ancestral cultures (7). As with all recommendations, each person is different, so the amounts vary from person to person. You must listen to your body.
In terms of method 131
Fasting of any kind is not recommended during pregnancy. Outside of regular overnight fasting (during sleep), intermittent fasting or any of the fasting protocols are not recommended. It also means that it is safer to keep your carbohydrate intake slightly higher than the 5-10% carbohydrate recommended in Ignite during pregnancy. Start slowly, especially if you are new to low carb. You can keep track of your total carbohydrate and macronutrient percentages in an app like My Fitness Pal, and play around with the percentages that feel best for you.
Be sure to talk to your doctor about the proper vitamins, minerals, and supplements you may need. Low carbohydrate intake is a natural diuretic, so be sure to get enough water and electrolytes, and consider a daily electrolyte supplement.
A fetus needs glucose to grow, but also ketones. In excess, both can be dangerous. Modify and individualize a ketogenic diet during pregnancy. Of course, if you’re exploring a ketogenic diet during pregnancy, you’ll want to make sure you’re eating the most micronutrient-dense foods for the right vitamins and minerals. Pregnancy is a time to take care of your body while ensuring the safety and growth of the future baby. Consult your medical provider about your personal history, medical conditions, and monitor how you feel. Be aware of any symptoms that correlate with changes in your nutrition. Pros and Cons of Keto Diet Are Also Explained in the Article.
Have you safely achieved ketosis during pregnancy? Let us know in the comment section below!