Protein is a powerful macronutrient that is very beneficial to new, breastfeeding mommies trying to lose weight while breastfeeding. The struggle to lose weight while breastfeeding mostly comes down to milk supply issues, and many mamas give up after they notice a decrease in supply soon after their new diet.
Protein can play a major role in helping to accelerate your weight loss goals, without harming your milk supply. This is why we created a protein powder specifically for breastfeeding moms. The amino acids in various proteins are vital to a new mother’s health and vitality, as well as baby’s nourishment through breast milk.
Protein is the magic key to weight loss without losing milk supply, and here’s why:
Most breastfeeding mamas are loading up on carbs due to cravings and intense hunger. While fruits and veggies as carbs are essential to nourishing mama and baby, starchy, processed and complex carbs can start a viscous cycle of hunger and cravings.
Without enough protein in a breastfeeding mother’s diet, there will be extreme hunger and cravings. Protein is a more complex nutrient that takes more time to break down. Because it is more difficult to break down, a breastfeeding mom will feel full longer, than if they were to eat pure carbohydrates. In addition, protein takes a bit more energy to break down and digest, meaning you burn more calories eating protein.
Let’s get into how calories are processed, to better understand some major benefits of protein:
Carbohydrates have 4 calories per gram. Protein has 4 calories per gram, and Fat has 9 calories per gram. Since protein takes more energy to break down, and is sent directly to hair, skin, nails, muscle and various areas where our bodies need amino acids, it actually has less calories per gram when you consider the metabolic energy required to process it. Carbohydrates are easier to break down, and often send sugar straight to the brain and fiber to the gut. This is easier on the body, and requires less energy. Fat goes to fat cells for storage, unless there is an inadequate amount of calories for the body. Then, the body will convert fat to energy, but the immediate response is to put fat into fat cells (despite a small amount to the brain, breast milk etc – but not as much as you would think).
Not only is protein a fabulous nutrient for weight loss, it also really helps combat cravings that so many breastfeeding moms experience.
How protein attacks sugar and carbohydrate cravings for breastfeeding moms:
Protein is the one nutrient that many moms don’t eat enough of. A lack of protein can often come out in sugar cravings, which can be really confusing.
Most breastfeeding moms crave carbohydrates, but attempt to stay the healthy route by eating things like oatmeal, whole wheat toast, crackers etc. While many carbohydrates have essential nutrients – and breastfeeding moms need those too – without the additional protein, the body is left needing to signal for protein, even after a larger meal.
Even salads can be devoid of enough protein, which can make a new mommy feeling confused on why she is hungry soon after, or craving more sugar after a big salad.
Protein triggers the satiation hormone and helps decrease appetite. Plain and simple, and a great study was done on this by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition:
A high-protein diet induces sustained reductions in appetite, ad libitum caloric intake, and body weight despite compensatory changes in diurnal plasma leptin and ghrelin concentrations… (read more here).
Basically, keeping protein intake higher is gonna help with weight loss for anyone, including breastfeeding mamas. But, we also know that protein is really helpful for milk supply and lactation as well!
How protein keeps up a healthy milk supply – even during weight loss:
All macro nutrients – fat, protein and carbohydrates are used for energy to make breast milk. Fat is stored during pregnancy specifically for this purpose. Since there is already stored fat in the body, there isn’t much need for a breastfeeding mother to consume fat. Some mothers do use the keto diet as a weight loss method, which is definitely okay, but what is happening even on the keto diet is the lack of calories are signaling to the body to let go of stored fat.
The keto diet also provides a lot of protein, which is in the fattier meats, nuts and cheeses. This is why some moms have a lot of success with the keto diet for weight loss while breastfeeding, and we do cover that more in depth as well.
Protein is not stored or made in the body. It needs to be consumed in your diet for your body to use it and convert it. Protein is one of the main nutrients studied and reported in scholarly articles referring to nourishment and lactation. Mothers in poor countries are often lacking protein – with cheaper foods like rice and carbohydrates available. Because there is a lack of protein, and undernourishment, there is also a reduced lactation for these mothers. One of these articles and discussions can be found here.
Protein is a key nutrient to ensure a mother and baby are properly nourished, but often times new moms aren’t craving protein. Foods like chicken, eggs, lean meats and fish are often less desirable, so what’s going on?
Why breastfeeding moms don’t crave protein, and what to do:
Many breastfeeding moms are craving foods like bread, pasta, potatoes, chips, crackers, ice cream and sweets. There are a lot of issues going on with these cravings, but the major issue is the cycle of undernourishment.
Undernourishment is very different than eating too little. Many new mommies are eating plenty of calories, but not enough nutrients. This is the key to the cycle of sugar and carb cravings. The brains do get addicted to the quick, sugar and carbohydrate jumps, and the body is missing essential nutrients found in proteins and produce.
Once a new mother gets into the cycle, it can take quite some time to get out of it. We have a free, 10-day plan that has proven extremely successful for new mothers. 10 days is usually the minimum it takes to get out of a sugar-craving cycle, and so many of our customers have lost over 10lbs in 10 days just following our plan! And it is FREE!
We call it a sugar detox plan, which it is, and it can also be considered a meal plan and diet guidelines too. Make sure to grab it, and we periodically offer challenges and cash prizes to moms that stick to the full 10 days!
Why Milk Dust is an amazing solution to helping breastfeeding mamas get adequate protein and nourishment, lose weight and keep up their milk supply:
Milk Dust exists to specifically solve the issue of undernourishment for new mommies, help with weight loss and keep up the milk supply. With protein as the center nutrient, there are also additional vitamins, minerals and herbs that are hand-picked to encourage a healthy milk supply. Milk Dust also offers a sweet, delicious taste that satisfies the sugar cravings!
By offering a sweet, decadent protein powder (and dessert-like bars!), Milk Dust satisfies the intense need for something sweet, while offering a breastfeeding mama exactly what they need – protein, vitamins and minerals!
We have an in-depth post on exactly what vitamins, minerals and nutrients Milk Dust offers and why, which we highly recommend reading at some point.
We also offer sample packs, so you can try 5-6 servings of the protein powder to ensure it will work for you. We highly recommend grabbing a sample pack and 4-pack of bars, so you can see how our product works, and if it is the right product for you!