While doing some research, because I am a research junkie, I came across a very interesting article on babies and ketosis. This information really rocked my brain because it made so much sense.
Some people, both medical professionals and lay people, seem to think ketogenesis is abnormal or unhealthy and I will admit I was one of those people until I started looking at the real science and not the hype. It is exactly the opposite of unhealthy or abnormal. In the article I read from Ketotic.org it states, “ketogenic metabolism is normal and desirable, human newborns are in ketosis. “
I had never thought of that before and it really made sense because we know that the baby’s brain needs fat to grow and once weaned we are told to put them onto whole milk because they need the fat for their brains. Duh, makes so much sense and is further proof that our brains can run on fat and not just glucose! Of course we know now that our brains even as children and adults prefer fat to glucose for optimum performance. I like to goofily equate this to regular fuel(glucose) vs premium octane fuel(Fat/Ketone bodies) for our vehicles only for our brains. If we give our cars the best why not to the same for our brains and bodies. There is even evidence, which will be discussed in another post, how LCHF/Keto helps children/ adults with autism, adhd, parkinsons, dementia/alzheimers, and so on. But now back to babies and the article.
The article goes on to say, “Despite the moderate sugar content of human breast milk, breastfeeding is particularly ketogenic…it is reasonable to assume that breast milk has always been ketogenic”
- Newborn infants are in ketosis. This is their normal state.
- Breastfeeding is particularly ketogenic (compared to formula feeding).
- Breastfeeding longer (up to a point) is associated with better health outcomes.
- This suggests the hypothesis that weaning onto a ketogenic diet would be healthier than weaning onto a high-carb diet.
“Breastfeeding is Ketogenic:
The medical focus in the 20th century was heavily influenced by the discovery of micronutrients, and because of this, we have been looking for the secret of the healthfulness of breast milk by examining what nutrients it contains. However, one significant difference between breastfeeding infants and those drinking formula is that they are in deeper ketosis. It is not known why. It could be a property of the milk, or something else about the feeding. In any case, regardless of mechanism, the fact is that breastfeeding is more ketogenic. It is possible that the reason that longer breastfeeding is generally associated with better health, is because it represents a longer time in ketosis. “
My youngest daughter was breastfed until she turned a little over 3 years old and I can see the differences in her compared to her siblings that were not nursed as long. Now whether it’s because of the length of nursing or not I really don’t know. However knowing what I know now I would speculate it played a big part in it. I notice my children are more calm and focused when their carbohydrates are limited and their fat intake is increased.
I highly encourage you to read the original article as what I am posting here is just a synopsis and if you’re an info junkie like I am you will want to see the linked data to studies and the rest of the article. Again that link is Ketotic.org