Women who want to conceive may benefit from a low-carb diet, as fertility experts suggest it can significantly boost the chances of success.
Research found that the success rate among women with a lower carbohydrate intake was fives times that of women following standard diets.
One US trial involving 120 women who were undergoing IVF treatment looked into the effects of diet on success rates, with the women divided into two groups based on their carbohydrate and protein intake.
The researchers from the Delaware Institute for Reproductive Medicine found that in the ‘low-carb’ group (where at least 25 per cent of their diet was protein), 58 per cent of the women gave birth.
Meanwhile, in the ‘high-carb’ group (where less than 25 per cent of the diet was protein), only 11 per cent of the women went on to have a baby.
The executive director of the fertility group IVI, Dr Gillian Lockwood, advises all of her patients to reduce their carbohydrate intake if they are trying to conceive.
“They should be eating plenty of fresh vegetables and protein and limiting their carbohydrate intake to just one group and portion a day,” Dr Lockwood said.
“I tell my patients that if they are going to have toast for breakfast, then that is their carbs for the day. They cannot then have a sandwich for lunch and pasta for dinner.”
Professor Adam Balen of the British Fertility Society, said: “We know that diet has a major impact on chance of conception and on egg quality, and increasingly it seems that carbohydrates play a particular role.”
However, more research is still required, with a spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association saying: “As dietitians we don’t promote demonising nutrients, but paying attention to diet, encouraging moderation and portion control both pre and during pregnancy are extremely important for mum, dad and baby.”