Sugar Consumption While Breastfeeding: What You Should Know

babel · November 7, 2022
This article has been written and endorsed by the nutritionist Saúl Sánchez Arias
It is necessary to reduce sugar consumption while breastfeeding to reduce the chances that the child will develop diabetes. Learn more.

A high sugar consumption while breastfeeding could be counterproductive for the health of your baby. Breast milk contains simple carbohydrates in its interior as a general rule, but an excess of them is capable of increasing the incidence of metabolic pathologies in the child over the years.

For this reason, you not only have to take care of your diet during pregnancy but also during lactation. You must ensure that the consumption of toxins and substances that can pass into breast milk and cause harm to the baby, who is still developing internally, is avoided.

Sugar and breast milk

According to a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, high consumption of sugar during pregnancy can affect the body mass index of the future baby. In this sense, you need to reduce the intake of simple carbohydrates to prevent situations of obesity.

A woman breastfeeding her baby.

However, the importance of the mother maintaining a good diet isn’t limited to the pregnancy itself. It also extends throughout the period of breastfeeding, as the consumption of certain substances can change the nutritional composition of the baby’s main food.

According to research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the mother’s exposure to high levels of fructose in the diet can negatively affect the baby’s brain development. For this reason, it’s crucial to regulate the consumption of this nutrient in the diet.

A diet high in sugar can damage the child’s liver

Consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages or foods high in simple carbohydrates early in life has been shown to be detrimental to metabolism. But the truth is that this habit in the mother’s diet also affects the development of her baby’s organs.

If the woman is exposed to sugar in large amounts, the child will be more likely to experience liver or cardiovascular problems during adolescence or in adulthood. The same happens with diabetes, as a situation of insulin resistance will be generated due to the high presence of fructose in breast milk.

It must be taken into account that this alteration of the nutritional value of breastmilk has an impact on the child’s body composition. At the same time, it’s important to remember that subcutaneous fat levels can significantly influence health status at all stages of life.

Follow a healthy diet while breastfeeding

Optimally, the diet of the nursing mother is based on the consumption of fresh foods. It’s important to reduce industrial ultra-processed foods as much as possible, as they contain excessive doses of simple sugars and trans fats that can affect the nutritional value of breast milk.

Also, avoid soft drinks. Glucose or fructose administered through a liquid medium has a more direct impact on metabolism. They’re considered the most dangerous simple carbohydrates.

Likewise, the regular intake of artificial sweeteners or large amounts of salt isn’t recommended either. Of course, it will be necessary to restrict alcohol, although, unlike previous periods, higher amounts of caffeine are already tolerable without this harming the baby’s health.

It’s important to reduce sugar consumption while breastfeeding

A mother breastfeeding her baby.

It’s true that, during lactation, energy needs continue to increase. Not only must the mother’s requirements be satisfied, but she must also ensure the production of quality breast milk so that the baby’s nourished correctly.

However, this doesn’t mean that all foods are welcome in a woman’s diet. On the contrary. It’s best for fresh products to predominate, while the intake of ultra-processed products and products with a high content of simple sugars must be kept very limited.

At the same time, it’s still necessary to be careful with toxic elements such as alcohol and drugs. Even some infusions could be harmful due to the passage of their components into breast milk. When in doubt, it’s best to consult a specialist so that they can inform you regarding what can be eaten and what can’t.

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