By Lauren Le Vine, REDBOOK.
Early this morning, Kim Kardashian posted a photo on Instagram with this simple caption: "#nofilter". If there was any doubt that the new mom is loving her post-baby curves, this pretty much erases it. It seems a little suspect that she posted this picture the same week she revealed she's following the Atkins diet to shed baby weight, though. After all, this photo will undoubtedly prompt fans and new moms to research what Kim did to look like this mere months after giving birth.
Since we remember it as the "all-you-can-eat-bacon-and-eggs diet" from the '90s, we wanted to find out if (and how) Atkins has evolved over time. "The original diet had only 3 to 4 cups of veggies per day, now you have 8 to 10," says Colette Heimowitz, vice president of Nutrition for Atkins Nutritionals, Inc., who's been working with Kim personally. "We now know from research that consuming unlimited amounts of protein isn't the best approach, so it's limited to 4 to 6 ounces per meal. We also emphasize a balance of fat intake with a focus on healthy fats from olive oil and avocado."
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Heimowitz also pointed out that Kardashian modified the diet because "rapid weight loss isn't good when you're breastfeeding." She had Kim start on phase 2 of Atkins, which isn't as strict--it allows followers to eat berries and Greek yogurt.
What Heimowitz described makes sense and sounds nutritious, but we wanted an unbiased viewpoint. Here's what five nutrition experts had to say about new moms, Atkins, and dieting.
Registered Rachel Beller, M.S., and author of Eat to Lose, Eat to Win
"For nursing moms, the most important thing is to eat mini-meals, making sure that you're eating throughout the day. You need a stable environment for milk production. New moms can go low-carb as long as they get enough carbohydrates from vegetables and fruits. Calcium, which is so important after having a baby, also comes from those leafy vegetables and Greek yogurt that Kim is eating."
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Tana Amen, B.S.N., R.N., author of The Omni Diet
"Moms should be focusing on what is good for a baby's brain. Many women try to go on low-fat, low-calorie diets in order to lose weight, which is a big mistake. Babies need a variety of nutrients and definitely enough fat. High-protein diets like Atkins have a lot of benefits, but you should think of protein like medicine and take it in small doses several times a day. I'm partial to a 70:30 ratio of plant-based foods to high-quality protein."
Registered dietitian Molly Morgan, author of The Skinny Rules
"A low-carb plan would not be my recommendation for losing baby weight because you would be missing out on foods like fruit and whole grains, which provide tons of vitamins, minerals, and fiber (new moms often struggle with constipation, so this is key). A new mom should focus on fueling her body with plenty of nutrient-rich fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein, and healthy fats like flax seed, avocado, and nuts."
Jacqueline B. Marcus, M.S., R.D.N., L.D., CNS, FADA, FAND, Dukan Diet consultant, and author of Culinary Nutrition: The Science and Practice of Healthy Cooking
"There isn't one diet plan that is effective for losing 'baby weight.' Post-pregnancy is a time for lean proteins, nonfat dairy products, plenty of veggies with vitamins and minerals, and the recommended servings of whole grains and fruits--especially for lactating mothers. It is not a time to indiscriminately indulge in carbohydrates or fats that may negatively affect both weight loss and health."
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Diane Sanfilippo, holistic nutritionist and author of The 21-Day Sugar Detox
"Many breast-feeding moms find that a lower-carb diet reduces their milk supply and energy levels, so I encourage consuming at least 100 grams or more of carbohydrates per day in the form of a little bit of fruit and mostly vegetables, including the starchy varieties like sweet potatoes or plantains. I think an Atkins type of diet can be healthy and well-balanced, but it's important for pregnant and breast-feeding moms to pay special attention to energy/milk supply needs and adjust her carbohydrate intake accordingly."
Conclusion? Per Kim's nutritionist, she hasn't been following the clichéd version of Atkins we remember from 10 years ago. Instead, she's been modifying the diet to include the healthy carbohydrates and other nutrients that all the experts stressed. The unifying threads in all of their recommendations are calcium, healthy fats, and eating high-quality whole foods. "Avoid the same foods most of us should: ones that are heavily processed, artificial sweeteners, and meals with so much sodium you feel like you need a diuretic," Beller says. Beyond that, we're still a little skeptical about whether going on any kind of extreme diet right after you give birth is the best idea. However, if we had a million eyes on us and a potential endorsement deal on our hands, we might be thinking just like Kim K.
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