Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Pregnant CarbHealth Blogger Looking For Low-Carb Weight Loss Surrogate

Newlywed CarbHealth editor Tiffany Anthony announces pregnancy

In February, I blogged about a low-carb web site that has been online for an incredible eight years called CarbHealth created by Tiffany Anthony.

Tiffany got married in the Fall 2005 and just announced at her blog today, "I'm pregnant!"

CONGRATULATIONS Tiffany on the little one that will be bringing joy and happiness to your family in December. I was a December baby born on the 27th, so make sure that baby gets lots of birthday gifts along with Christmas gifts, too! NEVER combine the two into one. Take it from a kid who's been through it. :)

Anyways, with Tiffany expecting a child, she will be forgoing the low-carb lifestyle until the baby is born.

"Ketones can cause birth defects, or even miscarriage, and I need to get a fully BALANCED diet for the next 9 months so my baby is given the best chance at being healthy," she explained on her blog.

I have absolutely ZERO experience with being pregnant, so I'm gonna take Tiffany's word about this. I did find this news story today to be interesting, though.

A new study presented at the European Congress of Endocrinology in Glasgow, Scotland today found that pregnant women who eat a lot of meat and reduce their carbohydrate intake during their pregnancy put undue stress on their babies by increasing the production of cortisol in the baby.

Looking at 86 births that took place in 1967-68 to mothers told to eat a pound of red meat a day and eat very few carbs while they were pregnant, researchers thought this would prevent any problems during the pregnancy. But what happened was these babies who were born, now members of the Generation X crowd in their late 30s, were found to exhibit social difficulty such as public speaking and computing simple math because of an elevated level of cortisol compared to others.

Of course, cortisol is also the stress hormone that you often hear associated with weight gain in the abdomen in commercials for certain weight loss pills.

Researchers don't know why this happens, but recommends pregnant women avoid the Atkins diet while pregnant. Anyone who has additional information to add about this subject can feel free to share your wisdom with me and my readers by clicking on the comment link below.

So it looks like it's a good idea for Tiffany to lay off livin' la vida low-carb at least for the rest of the year until that bouncing baby comes into the world. Best wishes in the pregancy, Tiffany.

But now she needs YOUR HELP. Tiffany is looking for someone to "jump in and blog about their daily routine" on the low-carb lifestyle. Don't worry about being an experience writer or blogger. She just needs somebody to carry on the torch at her CarbHealth blog by sharing what their experience is like along with the progress you have made on low-carb.

Are you interested? If so, send an e-mail to Tiffany Anthony at and let her know you'd like to be her surrogate for 2006 at the CarbHeart blog. Let her know that Jimmy Moore from the "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" blog sent you.

Good luck to whoever Tiffany chooses to take her place at her blog. Blogging ain't easy, but it sure is a lot of fun! :D

4-5-06 UPDATE: Jacqueline Eberstein, R.N., co-author of Atkins Diabetes Revolution and someone who worked directly with Dr. Robert C. Atkins for nearly three decades, felt "compelled to respond" after reading about the study conducted on pregnant women and the Atkins diet.

The recent news article that stated that women should not follow Atkins when pregnant was quoting the review of cortisol levels done on adults whose mothers were told to follow a low carb diet and eat a pound of red meat daily. The implication that this was an Atkins diet plan is simply incorrect.

The truth is that Dr. Atkins recommended that women not attempt to lose weight when pregnant. To state that one needs to stop Atkins while pregnant reinforces the incorrect belief on the part of many that Atkins is simply the Induction phase. They can use the higher phases of the Atkins Lifestyle to control their weight gain as directed by their doctor by eating unprocessed, nutrient dense, whole foods. These foods are the very basis of Atkins.

In addition to a regular protein intake the liberal addition of vegetables, fruits, legumes and even whole grains are to be added to their diet as each woman’s metabolism will allow. The foods to avoid during this important time are foods with added sugars and refined grains and as always trans fats.

Given the rate of obesity and the increasing rates of gestational diabetes it is vital that blood sugar, insulin and weight gain be appropriate. All too often women use the excuse of pregnancy to consume unhealthy foods of poor nutritional quality. Not only are there risks to the mother who develops gestational diabetes but to the child as well and to the child’s future health.

I hope this info is helpful.

THANK YOU, Jackie! This was INCREDIBLY helpful and we appreciate your input anytime misrepresentations about the Atkins diet are made. THANKS for reading my blog!

4-6-06 UPDATE: I received an e-mail from a woman in her late 30s named Tammy-Lynn McNabb, president of Low Carb Centre located in Canada, who has birthed two very healthy babies in the past few years while STILL low-carbing.

Here's her firsthand experience and advice for Tiffany and other expectant mothers:

Hi Tiffany,

I had 2 pregnancies in a one year span and had a healthy baby boy June 27, 2004 and a girl May 17, 2005.

I did follow a reduced carb program during my pregnancies and documented both. It would be similar to the final stages of Atkins, which was to avoid the obvious: carrots, peas, bread, pasta, rice, starches, high sugar fruits (and vegetables) juices, sugar etc. I am highly prone to diabetes so gestational diabetes was a concern. For both children my initial GD results came back positive. I told my doctor that this was highly impossible as I basically ate a diet highly suited for a diabetic. My more indepth results came back favorable for both.

I had zero morning sickness for both, no missed days from work and continued working until the day before each pregnancy. I gained 30-50 lbs for each pregnancy and lost all of my pregnancy weight within 3-6 months after each delivery.

I had wild rice, whole oats and apples. Felt amazing.

No cravings for either pregnancy. Had low carbing remained as popular as it was in 2003/4, I was prepared to write a pregnancy journal on reduced carb pregnancies.

I ate salads, pasteurized cheeses, berries and full fat yoghurt.

So, don’t abandon your lifestyle thinking that you are doing your baby a favor. There are plenty of foods in the reduced carb category that will continue to stabilize your sugar levels (thus reduce your cravings and morning sickness) and keep your baby very healthy.

My children both weighed just over 8 lbs and 20 inches and 21 inches. Their height and growth at each and every visit is off the charts. They are tall, eat well and sleep well.

Each child has pretty much slept through the night from birth, my son especially. My son started counting to 10 at 20 months, can spell his name and has over 100 words to his vocabulary. He started walking at 10 1/2 months. My daughter, now 10 1/2 months scoots around, is starting to talk, sleeps through the night and is developing as fast as her brother.

NO ONE can tell me that maintaining a healthy diet that avoided junk food, sugar and starches isn't good for the mother during pregnancy and ultimately the baby.

I felt soooooooooo good during my pregnancies it was amazing. AND I'M 38 NOW and had each at 36 and 37! Not one day of work missed, no cold, no flus. It was not a diet, I did not deprive myself when I was hungry. I did not try to control my weight for vanity reasons at all. It is a great success story.

Good luck and enjoy.

THANKS so much for sharing, Tammy-Lynn! Anyone else have fantastic results on low-carb while you were pregnant? Please share your story with us.


Blogger Newbirth said...

I hope she still stays away from the evil white foods and substitutes good carbs in.

This is the first time I've heard of a low-carb study on pregnant women. I know Atkins recommend only the Maintenance phase during pregnancy, but no studies had been done to my knowledge on whether it was okay for the baby or not.

4/04/2006 9:43 PM  
Blogger Lowcarb_dave said...

I would love to see more scientific studies done on this, other than the sixties data.

I wonder if, it's better to stay away from a ketogenic diet. But that does not mean foregoing the Low carb lifestyle. As Vicky said - Dr. Atkins recommended the Maintenance Phase.

To me this seems logical. I see no logic in eating massive amounts of white bread and donuts.

4/04/2006 11:13 PM  
Blogger Sparky's Girl said...

I know several women who stuck to maintenance levels of carbs during their pregnancy and everything was fine. While she would not want to be in ketosis, there is no reason to add back in sugars, white flour, etc. She should just be able to consume plenty of fruits and whole grains along with the plan she follows now and be fine. I think the main key is staying out of ketosis, which addding back in higher carb fruits and whole grains should take care of. She doesn't need to lose weight while expecting, but neither does she need to gain an unhealthy amount of weight, or ruin her immune system and health in the process.
Just my 2 cents.. :0)

4/05/2006 11:01 AM  
Blogger Science4u1959 said...

A pound of red meat a day is not the Atkins diet - that's, at most, a distorted version of the induction phase; and most certainly not the entire diet. Atkins recommends, like others already have observed, the lifetime maintenance phase of the diet for pregnant women, not the ketogenic phase.

Oh, and in case anyone wonders whether a controlled-carb diet is healthy for pregnant mothers: look at indigenous peoples and ancient tribes and their dietary habits and you already have your answer. Our wonderful "health experts" conveniently forget about these thousands-of-years of facts, of course.

4/05/2006 10:03 PM  
Blogger Newbirth said...

I like to eat 3/4 a pound of meat with my lunch and I'm in Maintenance. :) Of course, other than the meat in my sandwich, that's all my meat for the day.

4/06/2006 1:11 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

I find myself sceptical about the whole thing. There is no scientific paper to review, but a few questions suggest themselves. First, given how difficult it is to remember what was eaten yesterday, how do they know which mothers ate the most meat and therefore had the highest stress levels. Second this was NOT an Atkins diet in any way shape or form. It is really not clear what their diet was aside from increase red meat consumption. Finally, here is an alternative hypothesis for the high cortisol levels found in mothers and by extension their offspring. Their gynecologist tells them they MUST eat excessive amounts (at least for them) of meat or they may lose their baby.

"The study tracked 86 children born in 1967-68 to mothers who were instructed by an obstetrician to eat a pound of red meat a day while they were pregnant. This advice was given to the women in order to prevent the pregnancy complication pre-eclampsia, BBC News reported."

The point is no wonder they were stressed, concerned that they might not be eating enough meat.
Doctors were given much more credence back then, treated almost as godlike figures.

Is this hypothesis true? I don't know, but it's as likely as Dr. Reynolds explanation who actually states that

"We don't know why this occurs - it may be that the baby is put under stress during pregnancy which causes irreversibly high levels of cortisol."

At least my explanation has some biochemistry and common sense behind it.

It is then used to take a potshot at low carb diets. Despite all this, it is obviously not a good idea to attempt to lose weight during pregnancy unless specifically directed by a physician and the reasons make sense. Remember it's your body and child, not theirs. Eating a lower carb diet seems to me at least reasonable. Thanks for your time and attention.

4/10/2006 4:29 PM  

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