Nutritionists and fitness enthusiasts often remark the Keto diet as one of the most effective ways to lose weight. It requires discipline in food habits along with lifestyle changes. And several people swear by its results.
However, before taking up a keto diet, it’s extremely vital to consult a nutritionist for the best results. And if you are pregnant, it would be in your best interest to stay away altogether. That’s what a new study suggests.
A new study published in Frontiers in Nutrition suggests that keto diet can have adverse effects on a woman’s health during pregnancy.
The study states that women who are expecting or trying to conceive should reconsider following a keto diet. This is not only for their own safety but also for the safety of their unborn babies.
What Happens To The Body On A Keto Diet During Pregnancy?
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Researchers from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine concluded that eating diets that are low in carbohydrates like a keto diet pose serious health problems for pregnant women or in the process of conceiving.
This increased the risk of gestational diabetes as well as birth defects in the baby, the study found out. It only happened when pregnant women chose to dramatically decrease their carbohydrate intake as part of their lifestyle choices during pregnancy.
Those following a keto diet need to restrict their carbohydrate intake between 25 to 50 grams, which accounts for barely five to 10 per cent of the daily intake. The remaining calories contributed in a keto diet comes from about 20-25 per cent protein, followed by 70-80 per cent fat.
When the body goes into ketosis, it begins to store fat as fuel, which results in weight loss. However, a keto diet is an extreme and dedicated process that should be undertaken under medical supervision.
On a regular body, it does show results including weight loss, as well as reducing seizures for those who suffer from them, the same study concluded.
Healthy Carbohydrates Essential For A Child’s Development
However, a pregnant woman needs carbohydrates with the body using it as fuel not only for the woman but also for the development of the baby. That’s why your gynaecologist and nutritionist during pregnancy will recommend including at least half of your regular diet to include healthy carbohydrates.
When you deprive the body of these essential healthy carbohydrates, it can lead to complications.
The study states that expecting mums who followed the keto diet faced a 30 per cent higher risk of giving birth to babies who suffered from anencephaly and spina bifida.
The researchers found that mums take folic acid as part of prenatal vitamins to help combat neural tube defects. However, when taken along with a keto diet, folic acid did not deter neural tube defects from occurring.
There was also a 27 per cent higher risk of women contracting gestational diabetes when they restricted carbohydrate intake by following a keto diet. There is also a risk of higher cholesterol levels and chronic conditions in these pregnant mums.
Keto Diet Is Healthy But Not During Pregnancy
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Definitely, the keto diet has its own set of health benefits but they do not apply during pregnancy.
As expecting mums, it’s important to read up on the effects of different diets and exercises. It’s also imperative that you consult your medical practitioner before going ahead with diets that can possibly have severe side effects.
They will also be able to guide you about other weight loss methods that are safe during pregnancy. It will help you achieve a healthy and full-term birth at the end of the nine-month period.
So, don’t stress too much about your weight during pregnancy. Instead, focus on achieving a healthy lifestyle. It will not only help you during these crucial months but will overhaul your outlook towards achieving good health holistically.
Lose Weight Safely During Pregnancy: 5 Things To Do
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Let us reiterate that losing weight during pregnancy should be done under medical supervision. Most doctors won’t recommend women who are already at a healthy weight, to lose a few kilos during pregnancy.
However, they do recommend the same when the women are obese with a BMI over 30, which can have other adverse effects on the pregnancy.
Keeping that in mind, here are five things you can do to begin your weight loss journey safely during pregnancy.
1. Reduce your calorie intake
Limit your calorie intake to the required amount to lose weight effectively. Ideally, it takes the body about 3500 calories to lose about 400 gm.
This can be achieved by dividing it over a week or reducing your calorie intake by 500 calories every day. Do check what’s your necessary calorie intake first.
2. Exercise daily
Adding exercise to your daily routine is extremely crucial with or without wanting to lose weight. It helps you stay active and healthy, which only make your labour and childbirth process less complicated.
It also helps ease aches and pains during pregnancy. Try and incorporate at least one physical activity every day for 30 minutes including swimming, walking, yoga, jogging and more.
3. Stay hydrated
Make sure to increase your intake of water during pregnancy, especially if you have incorporated more physical activity into your daily routine. Consuming about one to two litres of water every day will keep you full and prevent excessive eating.
4. Replace junk food with healthy snacks
It’s easier to have junk when pregnant and fewer people to say no to your cravings. However, mums should make a conscious effort to have healthy snacks regularly.
Consume high-fibre foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans that aid digestion and prevent constipation.
5. Divide your food consumption into smaller meals
If you find yourself hungry regularly during the pregnancy period, try and divide your meal times into smaller and more frequent breaks.
So, instead of eating the three big meals, you can consume something small every two hours, along with two big meals that satiate your nutritional needs. A large meal can lead to heartburn and indigestion too, so you can avoid the same.
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