Reviewed by - Ms. Amita Mishra, Nutritionist & Lifestyle coach
A keto diet is a low-carb diet. In keto, carbs are reduced drastically, fat intake is increased, with a small amount of protein to reach the ketosis process.
Ketosis is a process in which the body does not have enough carbohydrates to get the energy, that's when the body starts burning fat to meet the energy requirements of the body.
That sounds nice, right? How about following a keto diet and reducing all the accumulated pregnancy fat? as wonderful as it sounds, it is definitely not going to do any wonders for a New Mother.
You should know that keto is a therapeutic/medical diet and not for everyone to follow. [it is not meant to be a diet that I tried for the experiment]. It was ideally meant for epileptic patients and not as a weight-loss tool.
Why should a new mother NOT follow a keto diet?
Not just a keto diet, any kind of diet control is not recommended especially during the first forty days.
The main reason being your body is in a recovery phase, your body is healing itself, healing the wounds if any, and if you are a breastfeeding mother, you need more calories than you expect than a non-breastfeeding mother.
Since it's very low on carbs, it can also lead to "brain fog" and dizziness since the body is adjusting to the new source of energy. This can make caring for the newborn extremely difficult, combined with body aches and sleeplessness.
Breastfeeding burns around 500 calories, that’s the reason mostly after you breastfeed, you feel super hungry and also feel thirsty. Your body asks for more food after it has burned the calories, meaning the body has utilized the energy, and the body needs to refill the energy store. Keto makes you skimp on calories which can also affect breast milk production
Carbs can give you immediate energy, and this is what you would need after childbirth. The ketosis process takes time to set in and you cannot afford to burn out completely while you are trying to recover. Your body has to drain itself completely, and when it cannot find carbs to take the energy from, then your body looks for fat and starts burning it to consume energy.
It is highly restrictive in nature for a lot of food groups like grains, fruits, etc, that are essential for postpartum and breastfeeding mothers. When you are already sleep-deprived, in pain, or breastfeeding, this is an added trouble for you. And your digestive system also needs lighter food to digest, foods that can give you energy quickly. Too much fat during the initial days can actually do more harm than good.
As you breastfeed, you need food that can give you immediate energy, so that you do not exhaust yourself. Carbs are the best to provide you with such energy. Carbs do not mean only rice! There are so many food options that have carbs, fats, and proteins. We need to find the balance between the three.
In a keto diet, when a person has to consume more fat than carbs and proteins, most of these fats are coming from animal products, like eggs, meat, and dairy. A vegetarian or vegan might find it difficult, and moreover how much fat can you eat?
The main reason for increasing the fat content in a keto diet is that you cannot eat fat content as much as you can eat carbs. You feel fuller soon when you eat fat, but this can deprive you of other natural plant-based nutrients, as your diet is inclined more towards fat and does not include all the grains, lentils, and millets, that have a combination of carbs, fat, and proteins.
In short, a wholesome diet is what the mother needs for better recovery, energy, increased nutrient requirements, etc. Because the mother's health is what really matters, not the weight!
The Keto diet is not for New Mothers. Stay away from it.
A Diet chart has to be based on the needs of an individual and the body's requirements.
Stick to your traditional food and include varieties in your meal.
Include fresh fruits, different vegetables, lentils, grains, and millets, that are seasonal and locally available.
Most importantly listen to your body, and let your body heal completely before you start any kind of diet plan unless recommended by an Expert.
Tell us, What is your take on following a diet?
Nutritionist and Lifestyle coach
Certified Yoga instructor