Insulin, the obesity epidemic and a giant German baby


The obesity epidemic starts early in life: Germany has a new record for “heaviest baby”: 13,5 pound Jasleen. She was delivered without the help of a C-section.

The cause of heavy babies is often maternal obesity and gestational diabetes – conditions with abnormally high insulin levels. Insulin is a fat-storing growth hormone that does not just affect the mother but also the unborn child. The mother to Jasleen, not surprisingly, had gestational diabetes.

The most common cause of abnormally high insulin levels resulting in obesity and diabetes (and heavy babies) is eating excess carbs.

The smartest way to avoid these things is to avoid eating excess carbs. Why? A low-carb diet is an effective way to lower insulin levels. And normalizing the fat-storing hormone insulin tends to normalize weight for most people (and any present unborn babies).

So here’s another reason to do low carb: You won’t have to deliver a 13,5 pound baby.


More about insulin and weight loss

How to Get Pregnant by Eating Right


  1. Deb
    Interesting, I was a GD baby, 13lb, could that be why I struggle with my weight now? I wasn't an overweight kid.
  2. KIRK
    I thought babies in the womb were in a state of ketosis independent of the mother? A fetus is in a state of ketosis over 5.0 millimolar ketones. Heard that on this podcast. Is this true?
  3. HeatherB
    You CANNOT low carb while pregnant! Baby doesn't get enough nutrients. I was diagnosed with diabetes in my 20's--not gestational, just plain old hideous diabetes, and I didn't even weigh that much. When I got pregnant I had to follow a strict 6 meal a day diet, each meal only had 30 g of carbs in it, and when I was done--I was done--I also walked every day for an hour to hour and half, and both my babies came out fine--one weighing 7 lbs and one weighing almost 8 lbs. I still ate things like waffles, or pizza or tortilla chips and beans--I just measured everything out before I ate it and that was all I ate. Now that I'm not pregnant I can low-carb it, which does much better with my diabetes--but while you are pregnant your baby will not receive enough nutrients and possibly could die in utero. Shame on you for being a doctor and posting this and potentially causing harm to mother's and their babies while they carry them. See a good nutritionist if you are pregnant--don't listen to this guy--seriously.
    Replies: #4, #5, #6, #13
  4. Paul
    HeatherB, please name one nutrient, which developing baby would not get enough if mother consumes low carb diet. Seriously.
    Reply: #33
  5. Tuva
    Of course you can lowcarb. How did the inuits survive? That said, I wouldn´t insist on beein ketogenically low carb if I was pregnant. No need for that.

    If people don´t eat grains or sugar it´s really hard NOT to lowcarb (that is, get over 130 gr. of carbs a day, see There is nothing of nutritional value in grans or sugar so no one is missing out on anything although most run-of-the-mills nutritiononists and dietitians seems to think whole grain to be a bit magical. ;-)

    I eat low carb but not ketogenically so. Berries, fruits, tubers when I feel like it and in any amount I want. I have yet to reach 130 gr of carbs in one day. :-)

  6. FrankG
    HeatherB by my maths, 6 meals X 30 grams of carbs per meal = 180 grams of carbs per day.

    Now that may not be a very low carbohydrate diet and probably not ketogenic BUT compared to the 300+ grams of carbs most folks eat on the Western industrial diet or SAD it IS low carb :-)

    LOW carb does not equal NO carb.

    There are NO currently identified essential dietary carbohydrates* (essential in this context meaning that we must eat it because our body cannot make it). Not that I am advocating a zero carbohydrate diet but please try to list those nutrients which would be missed by not following your advice?

    As for your opinion of Dr Eenfedlt offering poor advice, you might look at previous blog posts regarding his wife, who recently went through a very healthy and successful pregnancy while eating LCHF :-)

    Is dietary carbohydrate essential for human nutrition?

    Reply: #19
  7. Jana
    I agree with Paul. You can get a full array of your vitamins and nutrients from a low-carb diet. Besides that, the baby will take from the mother's nutrient stores if not enough calories are consumed. The baby gets everything first, mom gets all the leftovers. I was reading in on of Gary Taubes books that meat has 12 of the 13 essential vitamins our body needs. The only vitamin not present is Vitamin C which you can get from things like cabbage. Humans survive very well on low carb diets. The Innuits are a good example. Don't buy into the crazy hype of modern nutrition experts.

    Hack your own body and find out what works best for you. I've had two kids and am pregnant with a third. Grains give me high blood pressure in pregnancy and a myriad of other health problems. The difference in my two pregnancies was astounding.

  8. Jana
    What about Lou Gehrig? He was born at 14 lbs.
  9. FrankG
    @Deb -- GD has long been identified as a risk factor for later development of Type 2 Diabetes.. for both the Mother and child.

    @KIRK -- I have not yet listened to that podcast but I understood that breast-fed infants were in ketosis.

    Given the strong association (only) between GD and Type 2 Diabetes it suggests, at least to me, that the infant's intrauterine environment is not shielded from the Mother's high Blood Glucose (BG) and/or high Insulin levels... potentially giving them, in effect, an head start on years of an high carb SAD diet; during a crucial stage in their development.

    This may help to explain why Weston A, Price in Nutrition and Physical Degeneration outlines how it takes around 25 years for the transition from a traditional diet to a Western industrial one before the harmful effects become apparent, or why Type 2 Diabetes used to be known as "Adult Onset" Diabetes but why both these things are now increasingly seen in younger and younger people.

    There are programs in some poorer parts of India to ensure that young women (especially when pregnant) are well nourished. Otherwise these women may go hungry in order for other family members to eat well. These programs recognise how vital it is to enure adequate nutrition for the unborn.

  10. Becky reusnow
    Wondering if Gestational diabetes can lead to type 1 diabetes in the child later in childhood
    Reply: #11
  11. Paul
    Type 1, Type 2 - GD diabetes have different etiology. Causative link between these two is, in my understanding, highly unlikely.
  12. SueJ
    HeatherB---You must have the wrong concept of low carbing, if you think it will harm your baby. Whether you do Atkins or Paleo there are plenty of veggies allowed to supply the nutrition a developing baby needs and of course the animal protein will help a baby's developing brain. The only thing I would be careful about is what fish is eaten since some now contain harmful amounts of mercury due to environmental contamination. Developing babies do not need potatoes, rice or cereal grains however.
  13. Murray
    Heather, are your basing this on anything other than your personal experience? Did you actually react badly to LCHF or when you say you "had to" eat carbs, was that the admonition of your physician? I know several mothers who were low-carb high-fat during pregnancy and have raised their child LCHF. The kids are all thriving and on the upper end of growth charts so far. However, none of the mothers had diabetes as you report.
  14. Ray
    Some speculation on HeatherB's odd post above....

    HeatherB was diabetic and likely on an insulin supplementation schedule. She needed carbohydrate because of the medication schedule, which she misinterpreted as necessary for the health of her baby.

    Reply: #15
  15. robert
    Isn't that kinda backwards?

    Being forced to eat carbs, so the insulin you're told to take doesn't kill you or cause hypoglycemia?

    Whatever happened to using a glucose meter to adjust the insulin dosage to your food and not the food to match your fixed insulin shots?

    Anybody involved in medicine / nutrition handing out such information should get a different job.

  16. janet

    I believe you are spot on with your speculation.

  17. Galina L.
    Well, I understand that personal carb requirements may vary , but I didn't get why it could be necessary to eat waffles, pizza and chips while being pregnant .
  18. FrankG
    In my experience it is both a reasonable assumption that: these days an expectant Mother with GD might be on insulin (even if not a Type 1 Diabetic, which Heather may be?) and also that when on insulin the advice is commonly to err on the side of safety... while not allowing the BG to run high enough to be toxic, it is often seen as prudent to let it run a little higher than normal, rather than risking it go too low and potentially endanger both Mother and foetus with hypoglycaemia.

    It is hard (sometimes impossible) -- even with a continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion or "insulin pump" to attain normal BGs at all times of the day. Some medical professionals rely on their past experience and prescribe both diet and insulin levels that has worked before for others and while it may seem self-evident that with fewer carbs per day the amount of insulin can similarly be adjusted down, sometimes it is safer not to tinker too much with what you know works :-)

  19. Tomas
    "Is dietary carbohydrate essential for human nutrition?"

    Sorry, but I almost don't care, because I never eat pure carbohydrate for breakfest. Actually, nobody does. We eat food like steak, tomatos or avocados. Only bodybuilders think about isolated proteins and carbs. So, I think this "cabs are not essential" message is misleading. In nature carbs are usually bundled with micronutrients and often with a bit of protein. If you say that "carbs are not essential" it does not say anything about nutritional value of potato, brocolli or apple.
    Don't get me wrong, I'm big fan of LCHF. My ketones were 1.2 last week. I'm just tired of this "essential" argument.
    BTW, recently I've adopted a new rule for my diet. It goes like this: "If you need artificial micronutrient supplements to feel good then your diet is wrong."

    Replies: #21, #23
  20. Paul
    I speculate that HeatherB diabetes is Type 1. But point is that she links starving fetus to death !! with low carb diet whilst pregnant- nothing to do with her health status.

    "Shame on you for being a doctor and posting this and potentially causing harm to mother's and their babies while they carry them" - this is heavy accusation

    I am waiting for the name of that nutrient HeatherB -- seriously.

  21. FrankG
    I thought I was quite clear Tomas, that I am in no way advocating a zero carb diet? It is not only practically impossible (even steak may contain glycogen) but why deprive yourself of fresh, in season, leafy greens, or wild berries (as examples) or even a slice of birthday cake on occasion?

    I also agree that what we need to focus on is "real whole food" which as you rightly say, tends to come "bundled", rather than some deconstructed view of food as macronutrients.

    My point was simply to address Heather's notion that by reducing our intake of foods with carbs, we were somehow in jeopardy of missing essential nutritional elements. I'm sorry if you are already well versed in this idea and you find it tiresome to hear it repeated... but it seems that it bears repetition for a great many others out there :-)

    As for what people eat for breakfast.. you and I might eat steak (when money allows), bacon, eggs etc... but how many chow down on cereal, toast, jam, OJ, waffles, syrup..?

    Reply: #22
  22. FrankG

    Granted the 1% milk, "heart healthy" margarine on the toast or vegetable oils in the waffles might ensure it is not a 100% pure carbohydrate breakfast but it is still massive shot of sugar and refined starches at a time of day when it seems so many our bodies are least able to tolerate it.

    When the mainstream message, shouted across the media, food adverts, food packaging, cooking shows, government policy and health professionals is that: a diet rich in carbohydrates is essential to health then what recourse do we have except to point out that they are not only incorrect but are potentially offering damaging advice?

  23. FrankG
    I've adopted a new rule for my diet. It goes like this: "If you need artificial micronutrient supplements to feel good then your diet is wrong."

    I would tend to agree and I also rely on good food, locally sourced and generally home prepared rather than any supplements. I take nothing personally.

    That said, unless you get enough sun exposure (especially if you are a darker skinned immigrant to a Northern latitude) then your Vitamin D may be lacking.

    A person's previous diet over many years or decades, may have left them long-term metabolically damaged (as mine has) in which case you may require some supplementation no matter what you eat.

    My rule is that there are no hard and fast rules that apply the same to everyone :-)

    Reply: #24
  24. Tomas
    I agree with everything you said in your reply and I think women can eat low carb while pregnant. The only concern I have is about impact of "carbs are not essential" message. There can be possibility that some people translate the message to something like "no carb is OK" or "there is no value in vegetables" or worse. And you are right that most people still think we need eat load of carbs "for brain".

    BTW, did you see this article?
    I found it interesting.

    Reply: #25
  25. FrankG
    I guess from my perspective no carb IS OK :-)

    Not that I am advocating it for everyone but if I only ever ate steak from grass fed & finished cattle, plus eggs from hens raised on pasture, then what nutrients am I missing?

    Again this does not deny any value that may be found in vegetables... taste, texture, micronutrients etc... but is there anything I cannot get from the steak and eggs?

    Look to examples like Vilhjalmur Stefansson spending years among the Inuit (Eskimos as they were then called by Europeans) eating nothing but raw, frozen, or occasionally boiled fish for many moths of the year. Or his later trial under medical supervision, in New York where he and a colleague ate nothing but "meat" (fat and protein including organs and not just muscle) for a year... coming out as healthy of not healthier than before.

    Reply: #26
  26. Tuva
    Well, the inuits ate raw seal liver for vitamin c for example. I'd rather eat cabbage. ;-)
    Reply: #27
  27. FrankG
    Again my point is not that you must not eat cabbage but that you could get the same nutrients without eating any "carb" foods :-)

    "Zero carb" is not a realistic scenario at least for me, as I do enjoy to cook, and eat a variety of tasty meals but it in my view it is a valid option for those who might chose it. There is an huge range of available foods out there in the real world.. from insects to potatoes.. I'm NOT telling anyone what they may or may not eat.

    I was simply trying to respond to the fallacy that "unless we eat carbs we will die!". My response is NOT the same as saying we should not eat carbs :-)

    BTW Inuit is already a plural word... the singular is Inuk :-P

    Reply: #28
  28. Tuva
    Oh, I agree. But many argue that you can eat just meat and fat and be fine and use the inuit (learning new things every day :-) ) to prove that. As usual nothing is simple. They didn't eat just steak and butter. If someone really, really don't want to eat their veggies they might end up with less palatable choices. ;-)
  29. Manuel
    Aren't you from Sweden?
    Can't you avoid posting non-metric units????
    Reply: #30
  30. Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt, MD Team Diet Doctor
    Yes, but most of the readers are from the US! I try to focus on pleasing the readers, not the writer. ;)

    That said I might try to include BOTH.

  31. Murray
    I don't thinks anyone eating real food has no carb. The triglycerides in fat have glycerol that is synthesized into glucose when triglycerides are broken down. So even a hibernating bear gets glucose from a "no-carb" diet of stored fat. Indeed, one might hypothesize that an ideal ratio of carbs to fat in diet is the ratio of carb to fat in triglycerides.

    The non-fibre carb content in a lot of vegetables is negligible. With leafy greens for example, assuming a healthy gut flora you likely get more fatty acids from bacterial fermentation of fibre in the gut than carbs. And other gut bacteria might consume the negligible amount of sugar or starch in vegetables such as leafy greens and even celery.

  32. AmandaD
    I'm a type 1 diabetic, have been for over 26 years. I low carb all the time. I use an insulin pump and because I didn't eat a lot of carbs (as in white foods still got my carbs from fruit and veg) I had a 6.5lb baby and a 7.5lb baby. There is no need to eat loads of carbs when pregnant if diabetic.
  33. Paul
    I'm still waitin'
  34. Tuan Nguyen
    There seems to be a lot of confusion between carbohydrates and glucose. Dietary carbohydrates get converted into glucose in the body. In the absence of dietary carbohydrates, the liver MAKES the glucose that is required from proteins and fatty acids. You will not die or suffer any ill heath if you don't eat carbohydrates whatsoever, unlike fat and proteins. A glut of dietary carbohydrates and a lack of dietary saturated fat are at the root of the metabolic syndrome epidemic, and the destruction of the central nervous system, e.g. alzheimer.
    Replies: #35, #36
  35. Paul
    "A glut of dietary carbohydrates and a lack of dietary saturated fat are at the root of the metabolic syndrome epidemic, and the destruction of the central nervous system, e.g. alzheimer."

    Absolutely !!.

  36. grinch

    HeatherB, please name one nutrient, which developing baby would not get enough if mother consumes low carb diet. Seriously.

    Sodium, maybe.

    A glut of dietary carbohydrates and a lack of dietary saturated fat are at the root of the metabolic syndrome epidemic, and the destruction of the central nervous system, e.g. alzheimer.

    Lack of dietary saturated fat? Really? Why do we need saturated fat?

    Reply: #38
  37. FrankG
    Really grasping at straws there eh grinch? LOL
    Reply: #41
  38. Zepp
    Mayby the baby was eating to much calories??
  39. Atanas
    Hi, what is your oppinion about this Garcinia Cambogia? It reduce appetite and remove fatty cells from the belly and all body. But i wonder is it possible to combine with my HFLC diet? Because i take fats.
    Reply: #40
  40. Zepp
    Have you ever consider to Google about it?

    I find a lot about small veight losses and Hepatoxity!

    Soo.. it could altso remove your liver!

    Eat the fruit occasionaly if you find it delicius!

  41. grinch

    Really grasping at straws there eh grinch? LOL


  42. Sunny
    That GIANT GERMAN BABY , Jaslin, was born to a Turkish or Arab Mother who most likely had little prenatal care , even though it's free in Germany. The Mother was probably overweight to begin with and you would never know as she was covered in Abaya and headscarf. She probabaly spoke little German and was afraid to go to a male OBGYN, and suffered silently.Those in her family thought wow, eat , eat make a health baby boy so our family will keep you as our son's wife.

    She stuffed herself with food and her husband would not have relations with her because Muslims do not have sex during pregnancy, so she used this to cover her frustrations. Meanwhile this huge baby is born naturally because on socialized medicine she would not be offered a c-section until she was nearly dead. The baby is hideous, I hope she will not be the next Arab child fed to near death like the boy in Saudi Arabia, but hey, keep the Men happy!

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