There are many different articles about the effects of various diets and infertility: but what about how sugar affects fertility? More research is needed on the overall relationship between sugar and infertility. However, some studies do show the impact of particular kinds of sugar. At the same time, we also know how sugar affects overall health. Many of those health issues can make also it harder to become pregnant. Here is a guide to current information on sugar and reproductive health. We also offer some alternatives to help cut back on processed sugar intake.
How Does Sugar Affect Health?
Sugar is a type of carbohydrate, or carb. Carbs occur naturally in many different foods, like vegetables and whole grains. Other foods contain processed and/or added carbs, such as white bread and rice, many snack foods, and sugary drinks or candy. Naturally occurring carbs, including natural sugars, are an important part of a nutritious diet. However, processed carbs, including refined sugars, can negatively affect your body’s processing, causing spikes and instability in blood sugar and insulin levels. A diet heavy in refined sugar and processed carbs is also associated with a variety of health issues, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and hormonal imbalances. These health conditions can present challenges when it comes to conceiving and increase the risk of complications during pregnancy. So, sugar certainly affects health. But does sugar affect fertility?
What Do Studies Show About How Sugar Affects Fertility?
Several studies show an association between products high in processed sugar and lowered fertility. For instance, a 2018 study from Boston University found that drinking sugary beverages reduced fertility in both men and women. In fact, people who drank even as little as one soda a day had between a 25-33% lower probability of conceiving each month. In general, studies suggest that eating lots of foods with processed carbohydrates can negatively affect ovulation, egg quality, and sperm quality. Reducing these types of foods can improve ovulation, sperm parameters, and hormonal balance. This can also help regulate other fertility-associated conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
Simple Ways to Reduce Sugar Intake While Trying to Conceive
So what does this mean for people who want to get pregnant? When it comes to fertility, improving your general health will improve your reproductive health. With that in mind, here are some simple substitutions for sugary foods:
- Swap soda for flavored seltzer water, or flavor still water with berries, mint, cucumber, lemons, or limes
- Reach for fruit instead of a candy bar – berries, grapes, and mangoes all pack a sweet punch
- Satisfy a sweet tooth on the go with dried fruits like cranberries, dates, or mango (make sure to buy the kind with no added sugars)
These simple adjustments can make a big difference in minimizing any affect of sugar on fertility. However, keep in mind that we also suggest an approach focused on moderation. Food is a complicated topic for many people, and hyper-focusing on diet can create anxiety, stress, or even disordered eating habits. In the end, there’s no such thing as “bad” food or “good” food. Instead, consider your goals and what kinds of food can help you achieve those goals, while still making time to enjoy an occasional treat. For more information on how to achieve a balanced diet while trying to conceive, reach out to us today.