Along with seeking to improve their health, wellbeing and weight, many women in our community are also trying to navigate a natural way to better fertility and reproductive health.
Today we’re going to address some of the most popular and recurring questions we get asked about sugar and fertility here at our office.
1. “I’m trying to get pregnant but I’m overweight. Does quitting sugar help?”
Quitting sugar helps weight loss. Generally, overweight woman have a harder time falling pregnant, both naturally and with assistance. There is a lot of good evidence that proves this.
When a woman is trying to lose weight, I encourage them to eat whole foods, organic produce that is fresh and in season, reduce refined sugars, and ensure they don’t eat an excess of natural sugars (for example fruit). This will absolutely help with weight loss.
2. “Have you seen correlations between sugar and symptoms like PMS in your practice?”
Yes. I find that the worse the PMS, the worse the sugar cravings. Conversely, the higher the added sugar intake, the more severe the PMS. Hence, to manage PMS we recommend removing refined and added sugars from the diet.
Too much sugar can destabilise blood glucose levels; when blood sugar drops too low, moodiness, anxiety, depression, headaches and fatigue rear their ugly heads. These are common symptoms experienced in PMS.
3. “Will quitting sugar help my hormonal acne?”
Women with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) often have acne. This is related to the high androgen (male hormone) levels in those suffering from this syndrome. However when women quit sugar, they will invariably lose weight and this usually reduces levels of male hormones and hence improves hormonal acne.
Even without PCOS, high sugar and high glycaemic load are linked to bad skin. Too much sugar causes spikes in insulin which promotes sebum production (oily skin). It can also promote and feed skin infection.
So if you have hormonal acne, address your diet.
4. “After quitting sugar, what would be the secondary diet advice you would you give to women trying to conceive?”
To eat organic, seasonal, fresh and full-fat wholefoods.
It’s important we check the source of our food too. Pesticides, chemicals and toxins have detrimental effects on our health by disrupting normal hormonal function.
These nasties end up in our blood stream, and are found in placentas, umbilical cords and breast milk. Scary stuff.
5. “If I stop eating sugar, will my body bounce back or is the damage to my fertility permanent?”
To my knowledge, there is no evidence that sugar consumption directly and permanently damages fertility, although there was a very interesting study published last year in monkeys that showed added sugar affects fertility.
As we’ve seen, if we eat large amounts of sugar, we are likely to be overweight. This then has flow on affects – inflammation that affects most organs in our body. Inflammation is thought to be the cause of heart, liver and thyroid disease, to name a few conditions. It is also thought to play a key role in PCOS.
Quitting sugar will aid with weight loss and even if a woman is not overweight, in the case of PCOS, by removing sugar this may help the resumption of regular menses.
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