Fast food and fertility: The more you eat, the longer it takes

August 25, 2018

SOMETIMES FAST IS GOOD: Ashley Henderson, 22, of San Diego State University, recently ran the 100-meter dash in 10.98 seconds, making her the fastest woman on the planet in 2018. (She did it in 10.96 in 2016, but Florence Griffith Joyner’s 1988 world record of 10.49 still stands.)

But sometimes fast isn’t good, like when it’s fast food that delivers high saturated fat with low nutrition, or meals and snacks crammed with processed ingredients, sugars (in McDonald’s buns, for example) and additives (like gut-disrupting emulsifiers). Those empty calories and health disruptors don’t just increase your risk for obesity, Type 2 diabetes and heart woes, they also ding your reproductive system and make it more difficult to get pregnant.

A study in the journal Human Reproduction found that women who eat fast food four or more times weekly take an extra month to become pregnant. In contrast, those who eat fruit three or more times a day (a berry, banana, kiwi smoothie qualifies) became pregnant more quickly than those who eat fruit fewer than three times a month.

Why would fast food affect fertility? The researchers don’t say, but we’re convinced the chronic, bodywide inflammation that fatty, processed foods trigger interferes with hormonal balance, metabolism and a healthy circulatory system.

So if you’re looking to start a family, plan ahead, and take it slow — slow food, that is. Enjoy homemade meals with unprocessed grains, and seven to nine servings daily of produce. Skip red or processed meats and added sugars. Take prenatal vitamins and omega-3 DHA from algal oil.

Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.

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