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Weight Loss, Ephedra, Soy Protein Drinks, Power Drinks, Chromium Picolinate

Weight Loss

Many mothers wonder if they can safely lose weight while breastfeeding. It is recommended that moms who are nursing choose a healthy weight loss program, or simply adjust their diets so that they are eating less fats and sugars, rather than attempting quick weight loss programs.

The *best* way to lose weight, and have it be healthy, and long lasting, is to change your eating habits. It may be hard at first, but with the right support, you CAN do it.

Weight Watchers offers a great program for nursing moms that doesn't involve drugs or herbal supplements, and encourages a nice, gradual weight loss. Purchasing a video of yoga, light aerobics, or Line (or other type of dancing video) Dancing, or just going for a daily walk will help mom to lose weight. Another option might be to purchase the book, Eat Well, Lose Weight While Breastfeeding by Eileen Behan - it comes highly recommended.


Products that should be avoided by breastfeeding mothers are those that contain Ephedra. Ephedra, (also known as Ma Huang, Chinese Ephedra and epitonin) is an herbal amphetamine - a stimulant - a *nice* way to say "speed". Yes, it will suppress your appetite, but it will also increase your heart rate and most likely make baby very cranky. It can cause heart damage to baby as well.

The FDA has issued a warning on Ephedra. Use of it can (and has already for some) result in: high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, nerve damage, injury, insomnia, tremors, and headaches to seizures, heart attack, stroke, and death.

Natural weight loss products should be used with caution. They can be harmful because they generally don't issue warnings about the possible serious side effects of using the product. Some of the natural weight loss products list the ingredient Ma Huang rather than "ephedra" because they can say then that it's a "natural" herb. (it is, but poses some serious health issues for many people). Herbalife, for example, has products WITH Ephedra, and some without (those without may be some that could be used safely by the bf mother). For this reason it is VITAL that you read the label and also discuss this with both the representative of the product, and an IBCLC PRIOR to your purchase.

For more information on Ephedra (and all it's variations):

More on Hazards of Ephedra

Soy Protein Drinks

Soy Protein drinks do not seem to be a problem for the breastfeeding mother as long as she doesn't replace a balanced diet with the drink, but adds it to her diet as a source of protein. Look for powdered drinks that contain only soy or whey protein; not the other herbal additives or stimulants (most of them untested and unstudied) that these drinks sometimes contain. Also read the nutrition labels to see how much protein she's consuming. Staying within or near the RDA should prevent trouble for the kidneys, which have to get rid of the unused protein.

Power Drinks

Avoid power drinks like Ultimate Orange, which contain Ephedra(ma huang).

Chromium Picolinate

Chromium Picolinate is a nutritional supplement, advertised as being effective in controlling appetite and increasing metabolic rate while increasing protein synthesis and retention of muscle. There have not yet been studies done to determine the safety of these supplements while breastfeeding.

Copyright 2000 - 2006  Jim Yount

Send email to Paula Yount for any questions or comments about this site.

Disclaimer:  The pages contained herein are meant purely for informational purposes and every effort is made to provide accurate and up-to-date information. This information, however, is not meant to take the place of your doctor, nor should the information contained on this web site be considered specific medical advice with respect to any specific person and/or any specific condition. The author, therefore respectfully but specifically disclaims any liability, loss or risk - personal or otherwise - that is, or may be, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from use or application of any of the information provided on this web site.