A pregnant Australian blogger's raw fruit and vegetable diet has sparked controversy, and while health experts say they don't recommend it, it's possible that the extreme diet is safe for the baby if the mom-to-be is finding ways to supplement missing nutrients.
Loni Jane Anthony, a 25-year-old Australian woman who is 26 weeks pregnant, told Australian news site News.com.au earlier this week that her breakfast regularly consists of 10 bananas. The vegan, who has almost 120,000 instagram followers, said she was following the 80:10:10 diet, a plant-based diet consisting of 80 percent carbs, 10 percent protein and 10 percent fat. And readers were quick to lash out at her, fearing for her baby's health.
"I'll [sic] let the haters slip on my trail of banana skins," she wrote on instragram in response to the backlash.
In the post announcing her pregnancy three weeks ago, Anthony took a photo of her growing belly while holding two bananas and a carton of juice.
During pregnancy, women's bodies use and need to replace protein more quickly, said Dr. Jennifer Ashton, a senior medical contributor at ABC News and practicing OB/GYN. As a result, their recommended daily nutrition allowances increase 25 grams a day. Even their fat intake should increase, she said.
While it's possible that Anthony's diet could meet a pregnant woman's nutritional needs, Ashton said she recommends a well-rounded diet full of lean protein, fresh fruit and vegetables and whole grains.
"As a board-certified OB/GYN, I recommend against any extreme dietary habits during pregnancy because the possible risks to the fetus do not justify any possible benefits," she said.
Kate Sweeney, a registered dietician, who works in the obstetrics and gynecology clinic at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, also stressed a balanced diet. She said protein and fat, for instance, are key to fetal brain and eye development.
Swapping out meat protein in favor of nut protein is one of the ways someone following Anthony's diet could maintain a healthy pregnancy, Sweeney said. But anyone who eats too much fruit risks becoming constipated or having diarrhea from getting too much fiber.
Still, it's possible Anthony's changing body won't crave the all-raw-fruit-and-vegetable diet the way it did before she became pregnant. And it probably won't respond to the diet in exactly the same way.
"When moms are pregnant, their bodies are responding in different ways," Sweeney said. "Even though you may have eaten a certain way before you were pregnant, when you're pregnant certain things may taste bad to you or smell bad to you."
Neither Ashton nor Sweeney has worked with Anthony. Anthony did not respond to requests for comment from ABCNews.com.