Can Fast Food Affect Your Fertility?

Can Fast Food Affect Your Fertility?

With hardly any nutritional value and lots of saturated fat, food on-the-go can also make it harder to start a family.

Sometimes fast is good: Ashley Henderson, 22, of San Diego State recently ran the 100-meter dash in 10.98, making her the fastest woman on the planet in 2018. (She did it in 10:96 in 2016 but Florence Griffith Joyner’s 1988 world record of 10:49 still stands.)

But sometimes fast isn’t good—like when it’s fast food that delivers high saturated fat, low-nutrition, meals and snacks crammed with processed ingredients, sugars (in McDonald’s buns for example) and additives (like gut-disrupting emulsifiers). Those empty calories and health disruptors don’t just increase your risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart woes. They also ding your reproductive system and make it more difficult to get pregnant.

A study in the journal Human Reproduction found women who ate fast food four or more times weekly took an extra month to become pregnant. In contrast, those who ate fruit three or more times a day (a berry, banana, kiwi smoothie qualifies) became pregnant more quickly than those who ate fruit less than three times a month.

Why would fast food affect fertility? The researchers don’t say, but we’re convinced the chronic, body-wide inflammation that fatty, processed foods trigger interferes with hormonal balance, metabolism and a healthy circulatory system.

So, if you’re looking to start a family, plan ahead and take it slow—slow food, that is. Enjoy homemade meals with unprocessed grains and seven to nine servings daily of produce. Skip red or processed meats and added sugars. Take pre-natal vitamins and omega-3 DHA from algal oil.

Medically reviewed in January 2020.

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