Kim Kardashian recently gave birth to a baby boy and has resumed her role as Atkins ambassador to lose the 40 pounds she gained during her pregnancy. Kim followed the controversial diet after her first pregnancy, and said she had such great results, she’s doing it again.
We spoke with Colette Heimowitz, vice president of nutrition and education at Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. who is working with Kim directly to shed the baby weight this time around.
Heimowitz told DietinReview.com Kim will be following the Atkins 40 program, an extension of Atkins 20, which is the same high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet, but gives people more flexibility in the foods they eat and a few more grams of carbs to work with while still promoting weight loss.
“On Atkins 40, you start out with 40 grams of Net Carbs, which means you can eat from all food groups from the start,” Heimowitz told us of the improved program. “Acceptable foods on Atkins 40 are lots of non-starchy veggies, low glycemic fruits such as berries, a variety of protein choices such as fish, poultry, and lean meat, dairy such as Greek yogurt and some cheese, and healthy fats such as, olive oil, nuts and avocados.”
Celebrities are usually admonished for going public with weight struggles because they have professionals like personal trainers, nutritionists and private chefs at their disposal. So with all Kim has access to, we asked Heimowitz, why Atkins?
“Kim knows firsthand that low-carb eating delivers the best results for weight loss and that she will still have the energy she needs to keep her busy schedule. It also gives her all the nutrients she needs for her baby since she is still breast feeding.”
Breastfeeding is a huge factor in post-pregnancy nutrition as nursing mothers have specific nutritional needs to ensure proper milk production and quality.
“A breastfeeding mother needs adequate protein, healthy fats, and adequate calories, which is the perfect combination for the Atkins way of eating,” explained Heimowitz. “We increased carbohydrates slightly because we want to avoid rapid weight loss which can slow down milk production. An additional issue is that too rapid a weight loss with the concomitant release of toxins stored in fat cells might also be transmitted into breast milk. So we shoot for weight loss of 2 lbs weekly on average.”
There’s no single answer to how many calories a nursing mom needs, but in general, most women who are breastfeeding need an additional 500 calories per day. According to Heimowitz, Kim will be consuming about 1800 calories daily with Atkins 40, the minimum recommended for a breastfeeding mother, but the diet allows for 2,000-2,200 calories a day if you need it. Losing weight too quickly is ill-advised, and the program can be customized to avoid it.
As for exercise, the Atkins 40 program doesn’t touch on it, but Heimowitz told us Kim is incorporating a rigorous workout routine since she wants great results.
So who should try the new Atkins 40?
“It’s safe for most of the population if they don’t have diabetes and have less than 40 pounds to lose. Also, it’s a fit for those who’ve tried Atkins before and found it too restrictive,” says Heimowitz.