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Simple Carbs Are Linked To Infertility, Study Finds

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Simple Carbs Are Linked To Infertility, Study Finds

What are simple carbs?

Simple carbs are forms of carbohydrates that are quickly digested and moved into the blood stream as various forms of sugar, usually glucose. Simple carbs are often highly processed. For example, white pasta and French bread are two common foods that are considered to be high in simple carbs. They are made from wheat which has been subjected to refining processes that strip away a high proportion of their natural fiber and other nutrients. Whole grain foods take longer to be broken down by the body and are sometimes referred to as “complex carbohydrates” or “slow carbs.”

You may already know that simple carbs are not good for digestive health. They tend to lack fiber and so relying on them as a primary source of carbohydrates can leave you at increased risk of constipation and digestive discomfort. Ingesting too many simple carbs can also cause blood sugar levels to crash, resulting in symptoms such as irritability, tiredness and strong cravings for yet more simple carbs. Simple carbs also tend to be high in calories yet contain little by way of nutrition, meaning that a diet high in these kinds of foods puts you at risk of unwanted weight gain.

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The link between simple carbs and fertility

In addition to these considerations, there is also a connection between simple carbs and fertility you should be aware of if you are trying to become pregnant. When your body ingests a simple carb, it rapidly breaks it down into sugars. This triggers the pancreas to release insulin so that the amount of sugar in the bloodstream can be regulated.

If you consume simple carbs on a frequent basis, you are likely to have high levels of insulin circulating in your bloodstream. This can impair a woman’s ability to ovulate on a regular basis because insulin encourages the production of abnormally high levels of male hormones in the ovaries. This hormonal disruption can drastically lower a woman’s fertility.

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Research looking at the dietary habits and fertility of 18,000 women carried out by those behind the large-scale Nurses’ Health Study concluded that whole grains, healthy fats and lean proteins are helpful for women looking to get pregnant. Making dietary changes will not help every woman who is struggling to get pregnant, because fertility is caused by a lack of ovulation (also known as “anovulation”) in a quarter of cases. If you have been trying to conceive for over a year and have not become pregnant despite making significant lifestyle changes, it is important to consult with a medical professional in order to uncover the underlying reason behind your infertility. However, a significant minority of women may find that changing the foods they eat may bring them the result they want.

Moreover, eating fewer simple carbs will help you feel more energized in general, which is important throughout pregnancy and beyond. Even if you require additional medical help in order to conceive, eating a healthier diet is always a smart move.

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Make sensible dietary swaps to increase your chances of conceiving

As a first step in improving your diet and increasing your chances of a natural conception, consider swapping your favorite processed carbohydrates for some more wholesome alternatives. Try whole-wheat bread instead of white versions and cauliflower rice in place of white rice, for example.

If you dislike the taste or texture of whole grain foods, remember that it can take time to retrain your taste buds. Start by including whole grain foods with one meal of the day and building from there. If you like to eat toast for breakfast, you could begin by swapping white bread for a whole grain variety. Adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet is another great way to control your blood sugar levels and regulate the amount of insulin circulating in your body.

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Jay Hill

Jay writes about communication and happiness on Lifehack.

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