Diet and Exercise

People who are trying to conceive often ask about what they should or shouldn’t eat. The simple answer is that you should maintain a healthy balanced diet – there’s no miracle food that will magically improve your fertility overnight.

In recent decades, the food pyramid has been turned upside-down, with many people now getting most of their daily caloric intake from saturated fats, simple carbohydrates and meat, and only a small amount from unprocessed plant-based food. In parallel, there has been an increase in rates of heart disease, many types of cancer and the ‘obesity epidemic’ has occurred.

Much of the problem relates to processed products – unless you examine the label of each processed food that you eat (and, seriously, who has the time to do that?) you don’t know what you’re eating and how bad it is for you. Even if you did devote the time required to reading every label, there are numerous other names for sugar that are likely to mislead you – maltose, sucrose, molasses, can sugar, corn sweetener, honey, etc. Many processed products are known as ‘sugar smugglers’ – they contain much more sugar than you would ever image. For example, according to the Australian Healthy Food Guide, some popular tomato, barbecue, sweet chilli and plum sauces contain up to 50% sugar! See https://www.healthyfoodguide.com.au/articles/2015/july/how-much-sugar-sauce. So you can try to be healthy by skipping foods such as biscuits, cakes and donuts, but still have a high sugar intake without realising it.

Saturated fats are another big health problem, contributing to high rates of heart disease, obesity and hypertension. The majority of saturated fats come from animal products, ie, meat and dairy products. They can also be found in abundance in many take away foods.

So what should you eat? Here are the Australian Government Dietary guidelines https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/sites/default/files/files/the_guidelines/n55a_australian_dietary_guidelines_summary_book.pdf. Another great resource is a website founded by an American doctor (Dr Michael Gregor)  that provides detailed evidence-based information regarding diet and general health (https://nutritionfacts.org). Essentially he recommends a largely plant based diet, and backs this up with loads of scientific evidence.

Can diet affect fertility?

The one word answer is yes.

Some facts about food that you may not know..

Some meats have been classed by the World Health Organisation as group 1 carcinogens, ie, cancer causing substances? See the Australian Cancer Council website if you don’t believe me, https://www.cancercouncil.com.au/21639/cancer-prevention/diet-exercise/nutrition-diet/fruit-vegetables/meat-and-cancer/