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Increased Infertility Linked To Fast Food Consumption And Low Fruit Intake: Study

May 05, 2018 06:58 AM EDT
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Fast food and fruit play a big role in helping couples get pregnant more quickly, a new study reveals. The research also explores the role of diet in potential infertility.
(Photo : Matt Cardy | Getty Images)

Women trying to get pregnant should lay off the fast food and reach for the fruit baskets more often, a new study suggests.

The research explores women's diet and its effects on conception and infertility.

Fast Food, Fruit Effects On Conception, Fertility

Researchers collected information from 5,598 women in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom for the study. The data collected from the women included details of their meals in the month prior to conception, specifically the frequency that they ate fruit, fast food, green leafy vegetables, and fish.

The findings show that women who eat fruit three or more times a day in the month prior to conception get pregnant more quickly. In contrast, women who eat fruit less than one to three times a month take half a month longer to conceive.

Fast food also plays a big part as women who eat fast food four or more times a week took nearly a month longer to become pregnant than those who never or rarely consume fast food.

Researchers also found a correlation to infertility, which was defined as inability to conceive within a year. Among all the couples who participated in the study, 8 percent were found infertile and 39 percent conceived within a single month.

Women with the lowest intake of fruit increased their risk of infertility from 8 percent to 12 percent, while women who eat fast food four or more times a week increase their risk of infertility even more from 8 percent to 16 percent.

Researchers Weigh In

Lead author Claire Roberts, Lloyd Cox Professorial Research Fellow from the University's Robinson Research Institute, explains that their findings demonstrate how maintaining a high quality diet with fruit and little fast food can help women get pregnant more quickly and improve their infertility.

"We recommend that women who want to become pregnant should align their dietary intakes towards national dietary recommendations for pregnancy," Jessica Grieger, first author of the study and post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Adelaide, adds. "Our data shows that frequent consumption of fast foods delays time to pregnancy."

Green leafy vegetables and fish do not seem to affect the span of time getting pregnant, according to the study.

Moving forward, the researchers recommend further research of a broader range of food and food groups.

The study "Pre-pregnancy fast food and fruit intake is associated with time to pregnancy" is available online in the journal Human Reproduction.

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