Wednesday, April 27, 2011

More on the VLCD Diet

And yes, I do know that saying "VLCD Diet" is redundant (like an "ATM machine"). But I'll stick with it for now. :)

As you all know, I've been researching the potential of the "Very Low Carbohydrate Diet" (VLCD) to mitigate NVP. And, as a matter of fact - drum roll, please! - I'm actually on day eleven of the 28-day Phase II of the "Florida VLCD Diet." HURRAY!! I will write more about that later.

Anyway, I have been searching the internet for any success stories using a VLCD, and I ran across the blog of Dr. Jay Wortman, a physician who specializes in treating illness through low-carb diet. You can check out his blog on your own, but here is what I found in one entry:

"The big news is that we have a daughter! Isabelle is almost a year old now and is thriving. She is a low-carb baby. Her mom ate a very low carb diet throughout the pregnancy and since. The only noticeable difference was a complete absence of morning sickness. During the last pregnancy when we were still eating a high carb diet, morning sickness was a big problem. Anne kept food at the bedside and would snack in the wee hours as this seemed to reduce the severity of the morning sickness somewhat. Our cat learned to hang around to snack on the crumbs. Of course, the snacks back then were high carb foods such as muffins and cakes. This time, none of that, just the usual very low carb diet of meats, fish, poultry, dairy and lots of non-starchy vegetables. The other thing we noticed was that there was no excess weight gain."
 And here's what he says about his new little one:

"It is remarkable to think that she has never been exposed to sugar, in utero or since. The kinds of foods we make for her now consist of pureed meats, non-starchy vegetables and dairy products. For instance, we steam and puree cauliflower with a cheese sauce, or a meat and tomato sauce, or spinach with cream cheese. Unlike her brother, she has an enormous appetite and loves every kind of food we give her. Even things you wouldn’t expect like olives and smoked salmon. She loves it all and eats with gusto. She eats with us in her high chair at the dinner table and will try some of our adult food, too. Yesterday, she ate some small pieces of steak. She loves to chew on pork ribs....

"The funny thing is that there was only one instance where she rejected food that was offered to her. I was speaking at a conference in Seattle and Anne and the kids came along as it was on a weekend. I was busy with the meeting so Anne took the kids to a diner for breakfast. The only food they had that she thought was suitable for Isabelle was oatmeal. Isabelle refused to eat it – that’s my girl!"

So I wrote in the comments (scroll down to the bottom to see on his blog):

"Dear Dr. Jay,

"I am really enjoying the material on your blog! Thanks for posting!
"I was especially interested in reading that your wife was successfully able to control morning sickness using a very low carbohydrate diet. I am currently on a VLCD (meat/eggs, non-starchy vegetables, and cheese) in an effort to avoid hyperemesis gravidarum with any upcoming pregnancies. (This is by recommendation of a fertility doctor who found that when he used a VLCD for PCOS patients, their morning sickness also vanished.) May I ask if that was the same diet that your wife used? And did she also have hyperemesis with her previous pregnancies, or just normal morning sickness?

"I’ll let you know if it works!"
 And his reply:

"My wife didn’t have hyperemesis with her first pregnancy. I would say she had normal morning sickness. She found that if she ate something at around 3:30 am, she could avoid or minimize the problem. She kept snacks at the bedside and in those days we were eating a high-carb diet so this would usually be big muffins. In retrospect, it seems to me that the morning sickness may have been related to, or exacerbated by hypoglycemia, but I haven’t taken the time to puzzle out why that would happen only during pregnancy. In non-pregnant people, hypoglycemia is corrected by a VLCD.

"In the second pregnancy, she continued her VLCD and had virtually no morning sickness. I know there is great variability with this problem and that the same woman can have different experiences with different pregnancies so I have hesitated in making general recommendations. I do find it interesting that your fertility doctor observed that this worked with his PCOS patients, though. I am also impressed that he knows that VLCD will correct PCOS.

"The diet we eat is as you describe. In addition, I would advise that you avoid all the vegetable oils except olive and canola because of excess omega-6. And make sure you are getting enough salt to replace the salt your kidneys will be excreting on low-carb.

"As to whether it is harmful or beneficial to the fetus, I have only one case study to report on and, as far as I can tell, it certainly hasn’t been harmful. It’s hard to say whether it has been beneficial. We certainly have a smart, sturdy, thriving and adorable little girl so I tend to think there was a benefit. I suppose time will tell.

"Good luck with your baby-making efforts!"
And my reply!!

"Thanks, Dr. Jay! I appreciate your kind words and also hearing about your experience!

"I am going to post the link for you so that you can read up on this doctor’s work for yourself. He is not my doctor, unfortunately (he’s in FL and we are in AZ), but I read about him on a low-carb blog, and we have corresponded – and he was so kind as to send me the document for the VLCD he prescribes for his PCOS clients.
And his final reply:

"Thanks for that URL. I am going to post it here in the links section as I think this is an area that needs a lot more exposure."
So there you have it! I wanted to post the whole thing (insignificant bits removed) so that anyone who wants to make use of this idea would have all of my gathered data available.

I'll write about my adventures in VLCD eating later! Have an awesome day, everyone!

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