Babies and Keto

(Cancer Fighting Ketovore :)) #1

So, I’ve heard that babies are basically born in ketosis.
So, if that is true then why is baby formula heavily carb based?
Are there any baby formulas that are ketogenic/low-carb?

(J) #2

Babies are born with their mother’s blood glucose levels, which rapidly drop when the umbilical cord is cut. They get sugars and fat and tons of other good stuff from colostrum (first milk) which is why feeding in the first hour of life is so important. Breast milk has a variety of sugars in it which help to colonize the gut with good bacteria and is quite sweet. Formula seeks to mimic the action of breast milk, which is why it is so carbohydrate dense. Babies are not ketogenic. They need their fat to help them regulate their body temperature, which they don’t happen to be able to do all that well, which is why newborn skin-to-skin contact has been shown to be so beneficial. Remember, newborns are essentially still fetuses. They need 100% care to survive. The first three months of life are often referred to as the fourth trimester for this reason.

(A fool and his bacon are soon parted) #3

Milk is almost the only naturally-occurring food that contains both carbohydrate and fat; most foods contain one or the other, but not both (milk also contains protein, of course). I don’t trust formulas, because a lot of them are formulated with the U.S. dietary guidelines in mind, and they keep pushing low-fat into lower and lower age ranges. (Although that might be beginning to change, thanks be to God.)

If it is at all possible, it is strongly advisable to feed babies breast milk until they are of an age to be weaned, and I support Dr. Noakes’s advice to wean the baby onto a low-carb/keto diet. The benefits of breast milk are so great, and the problems with formula are so great, that in my opinion it isn’t really a choice.

On the other hand, do bear in mind that this is advice from a sixty-two-year old man who doesn’t have to follow through on any of it . . . :milk_glass:

(Though I have heard so much about breast-feeding from the mothers I know that I’d love to be able to try it myself.)

(Cancer Fighting Ketovore :)) #4

Unfortunately, with this baby I will not be able to breastfeed for medical reasons. So I was looking into non-standard formula options.

(J) #5

You will want to give your baby formula, then. You can choose an organic one, but they are formulated (no pun intended) as breast milk substitutes and try to be close to breast milk as possible. This needs to be your baby’s primary source of nutrition, with the introduction of small amounts of solids around 6 months, for the first year of life.

(Katie) #6

(J) #8

I would be VERY cautious about making your own baby formula. Infant nutrition is both complex and subtle at the same time. For optimal growth and brain development that delicate balance needs to be maintained. There are some excellent organic formulas out there for women who cannot or choose not to breastfeed, or who simply need a supplement. As someone with some expertise in human lactation, I would have opted for commercial formula over homemade had I ever needed it. A lot of crunchier moms I know who have needed supplementation have liked the Holle brand from Germany, though it can be hard to get in the US if that is where you are. You usually have to find someone overseas to ship it to you. I am guessing there may be people on these boads who can help out.

(Omar) #9

I would not experement with a baby.

we followed the wrong diet a life time and we can fix ourselves. The body has amazing ability to heal.

The most I would do is to chose a formula slightly lower in carbs but I would not take the keto route.

If there is a creditable science and experements on human babies demonstrating the benefits of keto diet on them, I may reconsider.

(A fool and his bacon are soon parted) #10

The ketogenic way of eating is not experimental, it’s primeval. It is the standard American diet that is actually the experimental way of eating, and Senator McGovern was warned there would be consequences.

There have been a lot of traditional societies around the world that did just fine without any carbohydrate in their diet, many of them documented to have had extremely low incidences of diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, dental caries, gout, liver disease, and all the other diseases comprised in the rubric of metabolic syndrome. All of those societies developed such diseases only when they adopted the Western diet, and in many cases, that transition was documented too. It seems strange that no one objects to feeding babies the diet that has sickened the modern world, but giving them a ketogenic diet—ohh noooo! If they eat the way the human race ate for millions of years, they might die!


I think they were talking about making your own formula as opposed to buying it. Not about feeding low carb to babies who are old enough to eat solids.

My only advise is when you are ready to start solids, look up baby-led weaning. I’ve done it with both of mine, so much better than messing with purees and such.

(Cancer Fighting Ketovore :)) #12

Thanks for all the advice and the great conversation.
I’m not planning to make my own formula, but I will check out the different brands to see what each offers.

(Omar) #13

I could write a book about the benefits I claimed back from following a ketogenic diet.

So I am not disputing weather the ketogenic diet good or bad.

But how can I feed a newly born a ketogenic diet if all what he feeds on is milk?

Are there any scientific work done feeding babies bone broth or non dairy liquids for instance?

frankly speeking I do not have the guts to feed a newly born anything but milk.

(Sarah Bruhn) #14

I know many parent’s make home made baby formulas, I know nothing about formulas, so can’t really help… apparently there is a ketogenic baby forula expressly made for babies with epilepsy… no idea how you wwould get your hands on it.
It would be interesting to see what a keto mother’s breastmilk would be composed of.

“Mature human milk contains 3%–5% fat, 0.8%–0.9% protein, 6.9%–7.2% carbohydrate calculated as lactose, and 0.2% mineral constituents expressed as ash… Protein content is considerably higher and carbohydrate content lower in colostrum than in mature milk” (reference linked below)

Babies are in ketosis at birth because milk does not typically come in for 3-5 days, and colostrum is fairly low in carbohydrates…

(Sarah Bruhn) #15

oh boom, keto forula exists for babies with epilepsy…


I’m a nurse and have taken care of infants on a ketogenic diet. The formulas were VERY specific and contained minute amounts that had to be carefully measured in grams of a number of ingredients. I wasn’t eating keto then and making the formula was my least favorite task, because I was so afraid of messing it up.

(J) #17

I would have a discussion with your pediatrician regarding infant nutrition. Babies do not need to be on a ketogenic diet except in very rare cases. The infant gut is primed for a carbohydrate-rich diet, biologically in the form of breast milk, but also in formula as a substitute when needed/desired. Despite colostrum’s low CHO content compared to mature milk, there are enough carbs to maintain most babies’ blood sugar as long as mom was not a gestational diabetic whose sugars were poorly controlled. Your baby will do great on formula and whether you choose baby-led weaning or traditional weaning (mashes and purées) s/he will be primed for healthy eating habits as s/he grows because it is something that matters to you. :hugs:


Totally agree!!

(Cancer Fighting Ketovore :)) #19

This was mostly posted as a curiosity, to see if there was anything out there.
I will be using formula…I just need to look at them and figure out what works best for baby, as some babies prefer one type of formula over another…

(Chelsea Barnett) #20

I know this is an old thread. But What are reasons that a baby would need to be on a keto diet ?
Doesn’t make sense to me. Aren’t babies supposed to gain weight and wouldn’t keto make them lose weight


If there is, I’ve never found them. When it started becoming problematic for my wife to keep up with the demands from my competition eating kid we switched him to formula, we tried a couple different mainstream and some of the smaller ones. They’re all made with crap obviously. What we noticed is that when he was on the Gerber Sensitive one (he was temperamental with gas and screaming) his poop looked AND smelled EXACTLY like it did with breastmilk and was very different on other ones like Enfamil and Similac. We figured that had to count for something, but they come off that stuff soon enough to start feeding them better.