Introduction

Women are most susceptible to the seduction of weight loss promised by the overwhelming number of popular diets promoted by the media. Although essentially no scientific literature documenting the prevalence of use of popular diets in pregnant women exists, clinicians and practitioners should be familiar with the premise of these

From: Nutrition and Health: Handbook of Nutrition and Pregnancy Edited by: C.J. Lammi-Keefe, S.C. Couch, E.H. Philipson © Humana Press, Totowa, NJ

diets in the event they encounter dieting behaviors during pregnancy in their patients. This chapter highlights the basic principles of the most established popular diets in the context of nutrition and pregnancy to provide a foundation for the clinician and other healthcare professionals who treat and counsel pregnant women and women of child-bearing age. The intent is not to promote the use of popular diets by these women, but to provide a foundation for practitioners from which thoughtful and appropriate discussions can result when approached with questions regarding whether such diet behaviors are appropriate during pregnancy. Although less enticing, the best approach to healthful weight management during pregnancy combines a well-balanced diet with reasonable, as well as routine, physical activity and exercise. A well-planned diet that provides adequate energy and meets macronutrient and micronutrient requirements for the duration of pregnancy is the basis for minimizing weight-related issues and other metabolic problems from conception to delivery. Because energy balance (i.e., energy in and energy out), as well as diet composition (i.e., percent of calories provided by carbohydrate, protein and fat), is central to the discussion of popular diets, points specific to contemporary diet plans are integrated throughout the chapter.

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