Foods to avoid when trying to conceive: dietitian recommendations | Nourish with Melanie #24
Today I’m going to share with you my top 6
foods to avoid when you’re trying to conceive.
When you’re trying to conceive, you want your
diet to be at its best.
What you eat now can influence your egg health,
which will impact both your chances of conceiving,
and also the epigenetics of your baby when
you do conceive.
Personally, I usually like to focus on what
to eat, rather than what not to eat, but,
I hear this question over and over again,
so I’ve put together my top 6 foods to cut
out of your diet..but just remember: don’t
shoot the messenger!!
Number one on the list are soft drinks.
There was a big study that found that women
who consumed at least one can of soft drink
per day had a 25% reduced chance of conceiving.
Now, please don’t kid yourself by saying something
like ‘I only drink soft drink a few days each
week’; it all adds up.
Sugar impacts your insulin production which
has a domino effect on your other fertility
hormones, so I’d urge you to reduce all sugar
That includes biscuits and cakes.
Which brings me to number two: diet soft drinks.
Just in case you thought you’d just switch
to diet soft drinks, think again.
A study of 524 women who were undergoing IVF
found the eggs of those who frequently consumed
sugar-free diet drinks, filled with alternative
sweeteners were 53 per cent less likely to
be of good quality than normal.
So, I’d strongly urge you to give these a
miss too, and drink water or milk instead.
Number three on my list is alcohol.
Now, I understand that this creates problems
for many women, especially those who are struggling
to conceive, as you don’t want people asking
you all the time if you’re pregnant.
But, becoming a non-drinker, or at least a
rare drinker is generally better for our health
Contrary to common belief, it’s not until
after menopause that alcohol has any heath
benefits for women.
Now, you may have heard that the research
on alcohol and fertility is still unclear,
and that’s true.
Drinking too much alcohol and drinking alcohol
close to the time of trying to conceive have
both been found to reduce chances of conception,
but the question for many women becomes one
of ‘how much can I get away with’?
Well to summarise the current research, the
more you drink, the longer it can take to
If you’d like me to put a number on it, based
upon the current research available, I’d recommend
that you have less than one drink per week,
and no, you can’t have two drinks every second
Alcohol has been found to decrease implantation
rates, and impact ovulation, as well as increasing
rates of miscarriage, and it’s high in calories,
so for most of us, it’s best for us to have
a sparkling water instead.
I’m awarding the top four spot to bacon.
The reason I’ve added bacon to the list is
that it’s one of the foods that contains the
highest amount of saturated fat.
Saturated fat can increase inflammation in
the fluid surrounding your eggs, reducing
their developmental potential.
Now, before you can celebrate that you’re
not a bacon eater, remember that bacon is
just an example, and all foods high in saturated
fat can impact your likelihood of conception,
so stop and take a look at how many other
foods rich in saturated-fat are clogging up
Maybe butter, croissants, chocolate, potato
chips…the list goes on.
Be honest, and do what you can to reduce your
saturated fat intake.
Number five goes to foods wrapped in plastic.
Now, I know that this is a broad category,
but it was hard to choose just one food.
BPA, or bisphenol A as it’s actually named,
is a chemical used in the production of polycarbonate
BPA has been found to impact our hormones,
and although there’s no concrete evidence
of it directly impacting fertility, yet, it
is generally recommended that women trying
to conceive, pregnant mothers and infants
have minimal exposure.
The best ways to reduce your intake of BPA
– Avoid putting plastic containers in the
dishwasher or microwave
– Use glass, porcelain or stainless steel
containers for hot foods and liquids
– Limit your intake of canned foods, and
– If you’re going to buy food wrapped in plastic,
look for foods with a BPA-free plastic.
Which, leaves us with food number 6.. drumroll
Position number 6 goes to flake.
Although fish is good for us, flake is actually
shark, not fish.
As sharks eat fish, they are often one of
the highest sources of mercury, which if overconsumed
can lead to developmental and learning delays
in your baby.
Obviously fish and chips is not an ideal meal
when you’re planning to conceive anyway, but
if it’s you’re only choice, opt for some grilled
fish and salad instead.
Make sure you order some sort of fish, such
as hoki, rather than flake, so that you’re
having less mercury.
OK, to summarise, I’d recommend limiting:
– Soft drinks and other sugar-laden foods
– Diet soft drinks and other foods containing
– Bacon and other foods high in saturated
– Foods and drinks at risk of BPA contamination,
– Foods high in mercury like flake.
So, by now you’re probably starting to think
“what should I be eating then?”.
Well, I’m glad you asked!
I’ve put together a nutritious fertility meal
plan for you.
You can choose any breakfast, any lunch, any
dinner, and any snack, so there’s plenty of
options to suit your taste preferences, and
It’s my gift to you!
Just go to melaniemcgrice.com/fertility.
As always, I’m here to answer any of your
dietary questions, so please feel free to
I look forward to catching up with you next
week on Nourish!