Atkins diet while nursing?

I gained 65 pounds during my pregnancy. I am 5-foot-8, weigh 205 pounds and I'm considering the Atkins diet. My son is three-months-old and I am breastfeeding. Would I get adequate nutrition if I went on a diet?


Sue Gilbert

Sue Gilbert works as a consulting nutritionist. For many years she worked with Earth's Best Organic Baby Food, integrating nutrition and... Read more

Even with an inadequate, breast milk is largely unaffected (your health and that of your baby will be fine). However, a poor diet may well affect your health and your energy level. 

Losing weight while breastfeeding is uniquely different than losing it at other times in your life. Your energy and nutritional needs are greater now than at any other time. For this reason, diets intended for the general public are not appropriate for you.

The problem with many of these is that most rely on restricted calorie intake. When you decrease calories, you take in fewer nutrients. The Atkins diet is quite limiting as carbohydrates are only allowed in minimal quantities. Whole grains and other carbohydrates supply you with important vitamins, minerals and energy -- all essential to the nursing mom.

This Atkins diet is also potentially dehydrating, because your body must draw from lean body tissue for energy since there are not enough carbohydrates in the diet for energy supply. This causes a burden on your kidneys to dilute waste products from protein breakdown. Of course, while you are nursing, you need more fluids, not less.

You shouldn't try to lose weight rapidly while nursing. After all, it took nine months to put it on!

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