People who have diets that are high in trans fats may be damaging their chances of becoming a parent, evidence from three studies has found, regardless of whether the person is overweight or not.
Three studies have been presented at a conference on fertility in the US, all of which found that trans fats can affect the health of ovaries and of sperm count.
High trans fats amounts are common in foods like cake, biscuits, and takeaways.
It has been known for a long time that being overweight or obese can inhibit a person’s chances of becoming a parent. However, issues stemming from being overweight isn’t the whole picture, and the issue with poor diet goes to a more fundamental level.
A team from the Harvard School of Public Health and Massachusetts General Hospital looked at the fertility rates of 141 men who were trying to conceive through IVF, and comparing the rates to diet, those who had the best diets were found to have an 83 per cent chance of getting their partner pregnant.
This compared to those who had the worst diets, who had just 47 per cent chance of impregnating their partners.
Another study found that mice, who were fed high trans fat diets experienced damage to the ovaries. This led to them having lower fertility rates, even if they avoided gaining a lot of weight.
The high fat diet is thought to have triggered inflammation across the body, and that this can cause decreased fertility, possibly because the stress causes the body to act as if it is in a bad environment to grow a baby.
A third study shown in the conference, from the universities of North Carolina and South Carolina, looked at the levels of elaidic acid in the blood streams of women who had low amounts of viable embryos, and had struggled to get pregnant.
High levels of elaidic acid were found in these women. This indicated that the women had had a diet very high in trans fats.
What this all points to is that being overweight will reduce your chances of becoming pregnant, but being slimmer does not mean this factor is reversed. Consuming a large amount of trans fats can reduce fertility in ways that aren’t immediately obvious.
A healthy, balanced diet will help to improve health, as will exercise, and this will make conceiving easier.