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Fast Food and Fertility
07 May 2018, 09:15 | Rodolfo Wallace
Fast Food and Fertility
Women who eat less fruit and more fast food take longer to get pregnant and are less likely to conceive within a year, according to a study by researchers at the University of Adelaide's Robinson Research Institute. The results are not as dire as many reports in the media implied. The researchers say chowing down on fruit more than three times a day ups your chances of getting a new family member.
Women who ate fast food four or more times a week took almost a month longer to become pregnant than those who avoided burgers and pizza. In any case, it's not possible to remove the influence of the many other personal, health and lifestyle factors that may contribute to fertility problems.
To help fill that gap, Roberts and a dozen colleagues in Australia, Britain and New Zealand combed through data gathered through questionnaires by midwives between 2004 and 2011 in all three countries for the Screening for Pregnancy Endpoints (SCOPE) survey.
You don't need to go on a special diet if you are trying for a baby.
The main limitation with this method is that it can't attribute pregnancy outcomes to specific foods because a wide range of personal, health and lifestyle factors are likely to influence a woman's ability to conceive.
Specifically, the study pinpointed the exact amount of fast food meals that impact pregnancy.
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There were restrictions to this study, such as the researchers having to depend on women's recollections of diets past, as opposed to using information that was fresh in the mind of participants. All of the women were in the first trimester of their first pregnancy.
Overall, 8 per cent of couples were found to be infertile - taking longer than a year to conceive - while about 40 per cent conceived quickly - within a month. "Get into good habits with eating before you get pregnant". But the actual difference was tiny: it only took about 0.2 to 0.6 months longer for those who ate less fruit.
Frequent intake of fast food also appeared to delay time to pregnancy.
"A recent review on male diet and fertility markers indicated that higher intake of fruits and vegetables was associated with increased sperm motility whereas a higher intake of fat-rich foods and candies may decrease semen quality", the researchers wrote.
To get pregnant quicker, avoid the drive-thru and reach for fruit. Women consuming fast food 1 to 3 times a week had no difference in risk compared to those consuming it 4 or more times a week. There seemed to be no correlation between infertility and the amount of leafy vegetables and fish a woman consumed. The team plans to further study dietary patterns and their link to conception. "Fast-food diets are also high in fat, sugar and salt, which can alter metabolism".
This study only shows an association between what a woman eats and their chances of conceiving a child.
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