Breastfeeding: The Problem With Lactation Treats and Cookies
I know lactation cookies, lactation brownies, electrolyte drinks, soda etc. are popular suggestions for women these days to increase breast milk supply.
But here's the thing, they contain a ton of sugar and empty carbs!
In reality, lactation treats offer just a few teaspoons of milk-boosting herbs spread throughout the entire batch and then are drowned in SUGAR and CARBS to mask the taste. Some lactation cookies have as much as 25 grams of sugar in one serving - that's the maximum amount of sugar most women should have in ONE DAY.
Why is this important for breastfeeding mom?
1. The sugar in lactation treats and cookies prevents the absorption of many nutrients.
A high intake of sugar can contribute to nutrient deficiencies. Sugar can actually deplete (or reduce the absorption) of certain vitamins and minerals in your body like calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, chromium, and vitamin C.
As a result, eating too much sugar can induce deficiencies, even when your overall micronutrient intake appears to be adequate. That fact alone defeats the purpose of eating them. Because aren't women being told to eat them for nutrients to increase their milk supply?!
Other critical facts to consider...
2. Twenty percent of women are insulin resistant and pre-diabetic, about 15 million women have diabetes and at least 1 in 10 women have PCOS.
Many women today suffer from insulin resistance, a condition that develops when cells resist insulin's signal that it's time to absorb sugar from the bloodstream. More and more insulin is needed to regulate blood sugar, until, if not resolved, the body stops being able to produce enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels in balance.
This is how insulin resistance can eventually develop into full-blown type 2 diabetes.
So, how then can eating insulin-spiking amounts of sugar or empty carbs in the form of lactation treats be beneficial in any way for women?
For a woman with insulin resistance, diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, a thyroid condition or who is overweight or obese, these treats may do more harm than good when consumed on a regular basis. And because of these special populations and my mission not to contribute to the diabetes and PCOS epidemic, my advice is to avoid lactation treats and cookies. There are much healthier options!
If you have had issues with blood sugar, including gestational diabetes, hypoglycemia, or high blood sugar at any time, it is probably safe to assume you may be insulin resistant and adopt a lifestyle that corrects this problem.
Even if you’re not insulin resistant, a conscious diet and regular physical activity certainly won’t hurt, so trying to determine whether you are, indeed, insulin resistant may not really be all that important. These lifestyle changes can be especially helpful for those with PCOS, diabetes, gestational diabetes, pre-pregnant BMI over 30, and pre-pregnant waist circumference over 35 inches.
So does this mean you should now deprive yourself of your favorite sweets?
The occasional treat can provide you with a much needed pick-me-up. No need to punish yourself. When you want a cookie, eat the dang cookie. But do it because you deserve a treat every now and then, not in the name of milk supply.