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Atkins Diet and Breastfeeding

Q: Hello, I was wondering why you can't breast feed while doing the Atkins diet. Thanks


A: There are two major reasons to be concerned about going on any diet while breastfeeding, especially nursing a newborn:


1. Will your baby have all necessary nutrients on ANY restrictive diet?
2. Will your body sustain the restrictions?

Specifically on Atkins diet, there are two additional concerns:

1. being dehydrated and straining your kidneys;
2. getting ketone bodies in your milk and to your baby.

It's easy to protect yourself from dehydration: drink plenty of water and reduce your sodium intake. As to the ketones, There's no reason to be worried. Breast milk, with its high-fat, low-carb content, is ketogenic for the baby NATURALLY.


Before your baby was born, ketones were natural food for her or him. As soon as your baby starts suckling, he or she actively maintains the state of ketosis:

"During late gestation, free fatty acids are used for ketogenesis by the mother, and ketone bodies are used as fuels by the fetus. During the perinatal period an active ketonemia develops, which is maintained in the suckling newborn." -- Diabetes Metab Res Rev. 2000 May-Jun;16(3):202-10

I think the best answer is that given by Dr. Atkins himself. During his interview to Power Surge in AOL "Odeon" Auditorium, the first question was: Is your diet safe to use while breastfeeding a newborn?

Dr. Robert Atkins: The diet is quite safe for breastfeeding; however, weight loss will be painfully slow because of the hormones involved in supporting breastfeeding.

There's anecdotal evidence that new mothers successfully do Atkins with one or both precautions:

1. omitting the induction phase;
2. waiting until the baby can eat solid food plus to the breast milk.

 
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