By Sue Bedford
We are always looking for ways to help you to increase your chances of conceiving and we know that nutrition and a healthy diet plays a big part in helping get your body in good shape for IVF. Here fertility nutritionist Sue Bedford discusses how trans fats can impact your fertility.
What are trans-fats?
Trans-fats are liquid oils that have been turned into solids by a process called hydrogenation and are in thousands of pre-prepared foods to give texture and a long shelf life. Trans fats can also be found naturally in some foods at low levels, such as those from animals, including meat and dairy products.
Examples of SOME foods that may contain trans fats (check the label for hydrogenated fats):
• French fries/some chips
• Pie crust
• Most things that are battered or fried
• Cake mixes
• Some ice creams
• Frozen microwave meals
Impact on fertility
Consumption of trans-fats can lead to obesity which may impact on fertility by affecting ovulation, increasing insulin resistance and by increasing inflammation. Trans-fats seem to amplify the symptoms of PCOS and endometriosis in some women.
Researchers from Harvard Medical School investigated 18,800 women and looked at the effect of Trans-fats on fertility. They discovered that a consumption of two per cent Trans-fats in the diet doubled the risk of infertility (Chavarro et al 2007). This could be explained by the fact that eating more of these fats usually means eating less of another type of fat or carbohydrate. Trans fats increase inflammation throughout the body, interfering with ovulation, conception and early embryonic development and this would affect IVF success.
Eating monounsaturated fats instead of carbohydrates or trans fats provides a boost to fertility, eases inflammation and improve the body’s sensitivity to insulin. The United States Department of Agriculture’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that trans fat intake should be as low as possible (U.S Department of Agriculture 2005). Some experts believe they should be avoided completely as they impair fertility by affecting ovulation. Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in the form of omega-3 fats and omega-6 fats are good for fertility.
What can you do?
Start reading labels. Avoid foods that contain trans fats in the ingredients.
Eat whole foods in their natural state. Focus on fresh vegetables, fruits, organic meats and fish. Introduce more smoothies into your diet and ensure that they contain some vegetables where possible.
Avoid fast foods: French fries, hamburgers, fried chicken are all cooked in trans fats.