VERY low carbohydrate diet during pregnancy, why would any mother to be do this? Ketosis: Why this
Everyday I come across controversial nutritional beliefs and approaches. I think this one tops all of them: Pregnant woman following a VERY low carbohydrate diet in order to avoid weight gain during pregnancy. And even though numerous health professionals have advised them not to, they still believe that there is no harm in doing this, and almost feel proud of doing this.
Ketosis is a process where fat is metabolised, as your body does not have any available carbohydrates to use as fuel. The by-product of this process is ketones. Ketones in large quantities are toxic to the body, and in severe cases lead to ketoacidosis.
During the course of ones pregnancy it is very important to follow a healthy eating plan which includes all macronutrients: Carbohydrate, Protein and Fat (60% carbohydrates, 15 % Protein and 25% Fat). Why would a mother to be deprive her unborn child of receiving adequate amounts Carbohydrates (glucose), and instead create an environment that is acidic due to the constant circulating ketones, produced through ketosis.
Carbohydrates should contribute at least 50-60% of your daily total energy intake. Of course, in medical conditions such as diabetes, gestational diabetes, this figure may change, however having less than 120g of Carbohydrates a day is not advised.
Ones body needs at least 100-120g of Carbohydrates to avoid ketosis. With these basic scientific facts, how is following a diet of less than 100g of carbohydrates during pregnancy good for your unborn child?
Following a VERY low carbohydrate diet is in anycase not a sustainable way of eating for anyone, pregnant or not. The day will come when your bodies’ needs will overcome your self-control, and lead to a massive carbohydrate binge, or a period of re-lapse followed by weight gain.
This of course does not mean, go wild and binge on anything that is a carbohydrate food and eat this to your hearts content. It means to eat within your daily nutritional requirements for your age and taking your activity levels into account, and NOT excluding ANY macronutrients (unless there is a medical reason).
I encourage all pregnant women to think about their nutritional intake carefully and the potential effects it can have on your unborn child.