Quitting sugar can be a daunting concept, even more so when you also have to think about the health and wellbeing of another little life.
Below are a list of the most common questions we get from new and expecting mums. And while we do our best to answer in as much detail as possible, we want to remind you that you should always consult with your healthcare professional before embarking on a sugar-free lifestyle.
1. Can you quit sugar if you’re pregnant?
- Yes, you can! There are numerous benefits for quitting sugar while pregnant.
- It may help keep blood sugar levels in check, which will in turn reduce your risk of gestational diabetes, leading to healthier outcomes for you and your baby.
- You could influence your child’s taste buds – neat, huh? What the mother eats during pregnancy and lactation can affect the tastes and food preferences of the child. For example, toddlers of mothers who eat more veggies during pregnancy are less likely to refuse veggies upon weaning. Thus, a healthier baby and saner mum!
- It sets you up with good eating habits, allowing you to be a role model and impart this wisdom on to your child to improve their life-long health.
- But always make sure to check with your healthcare professional before making such a big decision (for you and the little one).
2. Can you quit sugar if you’re breastfeeding?
- Yes, you definitely can.
- However, you will need to be mindful of adding foods in as you take others out to ensure you are obtaining sufficient calories to keep your milk supply (and energy levels) abundant.
- To read a more in-depth look at quitting sugar while breastfeeding, check out our post where we consulted one of our go-to dieticians.
3. Can you do the 8-Week Program while pregnant or breastfeeding?
- The beauty of the I Quit Sugar: 8-Week Program is that it involves cutting out a lot of processed and refined foods, minimising toxins and embracing a whole-foods approach, all of which is ideal for expecting women’s needs.
- Unlike many diets, nothing is removed during the Program that is essential to gestational health. And a stack of the good stuff is added back in.
- You can expect PLENTY of fresh produce, including as many vegetables as you can poke a celery stick at, nourishing full-fat dairy, nutrient-dense meats, chicken and fish, healthy fats, whole grains (mostly gluten-free but you can adapt this to suit), and some low-fructose, fresh fruit once the detox period is over (after Week 6).
- Some of you may freak out about the “no fruit” thing; read about the I Quit Sugar stance on fruit and be assured the amount of extra vegetables consumed during the Program more than make up for the roughage, minerals and vitamins you might fear you will miss out on.
- However, we recommend to get the all-clear from your healthcare professional before starting any new food or exercise-related venture when you are expecting or lactating.
4. Some IMPORTANT things to keep in mind.
- Both pregnant and breastfeeding women require extra energy, so it’s vital to ensure that you’re eating enough. The 8-Week Program sees participants wean off snacks, shifting to a three-meals-a-day-only style of eating. This may not apply to you. Extreme decreases in energy intake can cause problems with foetal growth and milk production.
- Monitor your energy levels and milk production. If there is a dip, try increasing your portions of carbohydrates at each meal and keep a record of changes.
- Include plenty of protein and healthy fats to ensure adequate overall energy intake. Whatever you take out needs to be replaced by something more nutrient-dense and at least as energy-dense (i.e. more nutritious and just as many calories). This is not the time to be losing weight.
- Be sure to read our list of the five foods you need to eat when you’re pregnant (or trying), for which we consulted with an appetite neuroscientist earlier this year.
Finally, always make sure you talk to your healthcare professional before and during your I Quit Sugar journey to ensure all is well with both you and your baby.