Don't fall into these diet traps
If you’re planning to have a baby, are some diets a bad idea? Should you switch your eating-ethos ASAP? Is detoxing genius or dangerous?
With so many food cults promising miracles, all claiming to be The One And Only Solution, it’s a wild west out there!
The key to avoiding falling into a fertility diet trap is understanding a few key principles. Find out what to watch out for below.
Lack Of Consistency = Body Panic Mode
Sudden, drastic changes to your eating habits can knock your reproductive health sideways.
This is evolutionary biology doing its job. Your body can’t see the context for the change, all it sees is an upheaval in circumstances. So it assumes the worst. If it thinks it won’t get the nutrients it needs tomorrow, it will decide that baby-making isn’t a priority…
Weight loss diets are the ultimate culprit. Some people feel under pressure to shed pounds to optimise their fertility. This leads to severely restricting calories or radically rethinking the foods they eat, which can have the opposite effect.
Nutrient Deficiency Is The Kicker
Been following an eating regime for years? Find that it works well for you? We’re not here to tell you to give it up. But you do need to make sure you’re not missing out on any critical nutrients.
Chat with your GP or a nutritionist. You might need to get some tests done to check that you’re getting everything you need. Not everyone who’s on a restrictive diet will be nutrient deficient.
Having the right balance of nutrients now enables your body to tackle nuisances such as cholesterol that could slow down Mission Baby later on.
Fads Are A No-No
If a brand new diet hits the headlines, run for the hills! Do you really want to be an influencer’s guinea pig at this point in your life?
More established diets are less of a gamble, but they could still affect your future fertility.
Two Popular Diets That Are Really Risky
1. Fertility detox, herbal detox and detox diets
The human body has mechanisms to rid itself of toxins. So unless you literally need medical intervention, there’s no point in a detox (it’s just another form of crash diet). Also, some “recommended” detox herbs are known to be actively harmful to pregnancy.
2. Juice fasting
Causes deficiency of more nutrients than we can list. This is the sort of diet that could shock your body into stopping menstruating, as well as causing muscle loss, diarrhoea, dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, and speedy weight gain afterwards.
Three Popular Diets To Be Careful About
1. Keto, AKA the ketogenic diet
Can cause folic acid deficiency. Folic acid is essential for fertility in women and birthing parents, which is why many organisations recommend taking supplements (on top of an already healthy diet!) before you start trying.
2. Paleo, AKA the palaeolithic or caveman diet
Can cause deficiency in vitamin D and calcium due to cutting out dairy. This is bad for bone health, sperm production, and fertility conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome.
3. Vegan diet
Can cause deficiency in iron, folate and B vitamins, all of which play a role in reproduction, especially for women.
Not Sure Whether To Stick Or Twist?
The answer depends on your individual situation. Maybe you’re OK to keep eating what you’re eating. Maybe you need to add in some supplements. Maybe you’ll want to gradually transition to a different diet.
Nutrient deficiency is the point to remember, and your GP or a nutritionist can advise you about this best.