BABY, IT’S A WRAP
Skip grills, fry-ups and roasted foods pre-pregnancy
A PRE-PREGNANCY diet that avoids sugar, grilled, fried and roasted foods will be tested as a fertility booster, after Melbourne researchers found these items had “toxic” effects on the womb.
One in six Australian couples experience infertility, with obese women particularly more likely to struggle getting pregnant, have an early miscarriage or complications during pregnancy or labour.
Researchers from the Hudson Institute of Medical Research and Monash University have found that certain proteins inside the uterus become toxic after exposure to sugar and other foods cooked at high heat, a process that triggers inflammation in the womb of infertile women who are obese.
“We can have a fertile seed, an absolutely perfect embryo, but unless the lining of the womb, the endometrium, is actually ready to receive the embryo then pregnancy can’t occur,” said lead researcher Dr Jemma Evans.
Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are compounds that occur naturally in the body, but also accumulate through consumption of high sugar or highly processed foods, and foods that are cooked using high heat such as grilling, caramelising, roasting or frying. The team analysed endometrial tissue and a uter- us wash of 33 lean and obese women.
Obese women had higher levels of AGEs, which detrimentally altered cells in the lining of the womb and reduced an embryo’s ability to implant. The findings were published in the journal Human Reproduction.
Dr Evans said while AGEs had been linked to complications in diabetes and degenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, studies had shown that diet could reverse their harmful effects in as little as four weeks.
“If we stuck to guidelines that tell us to have a mainly plant-based diet full of whole grains we’d be healthy, but that message has been lost in our modern lifestyle,” she said.
Annie McDougall, who is 28 weeks pregnant with her second child, said this trial was greatly needed to give women more evidence-based advice.
“You try to look for evidence-based advice, but for people who are struggling with fertility, anything you read that suggests you might have a chance, you’ll grab onto that little bit of hope,” Ms McDougall said. “That’s why these studies are really important.”
Annie McDougall is 28 weeks pregnant and eating well for her baby. Picture: DAVID CAIRD The team needs to recruit 50 overweight women planning to start a family, for an eight-week randomised control trial of the diet. Email email@example.com