When it comes to trying to conceive, there is so much information out there about what you should avoid and what you should partake in, that the data can be overwhelming. Alcohol to shellfish, it feels like a new recommendation comes every day. In general, most things are fine in moderation, but which foods should you cut back on when trying to conceive? Do you have to totally revamp your diet?
Before you try anything new, you should talk to your healthcare provider about trying to conceive. There's a lot of information out there and some of it can be really scary — especially the list of foods you should cut back on; it's both complex and simple. If you're trying to get pregnant, it's likely you'd avoid a lot of these foods to begin with as many are a no-no in pregnancy, but luckily, most of the studies on diet and trying to conceive simply suggest cutting back. With some moderation, you can keep up your carefree days of eating sushi leftovers at midnight while standing over the sink with a beer in one hand and your chopsticks in the other.
Science is a cruel mistress sometimes. "Don't have more than one cup of coffee. Eat all your vegetables. Dark chocolate almond M&Ms with popcorn and a glass of cabernet is not a suitable meal." It's just mean. But trying to conceive can be hard enough without giving up your coffee, wine, and meat. So talk to your healthcare provider and keep this list of foods to cut back on when trying to conceive handy.
1. More Than 7 Glasses Of Wine Per Week
Turns out, women who drink wine get pregnant more quickly. But, there's a catch — you can't go full Real Housewives with your pinot. In the study cited by the British Medical Journal, women should not exceed seven drinks per week if they want to achieve peak fertility. Also, this only applies for wine. Sorry, beer drinkers.
A recent Danish study published in Epidemiology links the consumption of soda with decreased fertility. The study posited that it is likely due to the caffeine in the beverages, and possibly other additives, like sugar. However, the study looked at all sodas, not just the peppier, caffeinated varieties.
3. High-Mercury Fish
Fish high in mercury has long been a no-no in pregnancy, but recent studies have shown that it's also bad for trying to conceive, possibly lowering fertility or increasing risk of early miscarriage, according to Reproductive Toxicology. High-mercury fish are those which tend to get larger and feed on a lot of smaller fish, increasing the mercury in their flesh, like tuna, tilefish, shark, marlin, and bluefish.
4. Inflammatory Foods
Foods that increase inflammation in the body lower your fertility, according to Columbia Fertility Associates, by turning on your body's immune response and making pregnancy difficult to achieve. They suggest avoiding inflammatory foods like trans fats, too much sugar or refined carbs, and suggested seeking out whole foods and healthy fats.
5. Skim Milk
According to The Fertility Diet, skimmed dairy products that remove the cream may be removing the actionable hormone in milk that may help a woman's fertility. The studies found that consuming the full-fat versions of the product may actually increase a woman's fertility.
6. Too Much Animal Protein
Yes, this is a real thing. According to The Fertility Diet, women who consumed high amounts of animal protein experienced less fecundity than those women who ate primarily plant protein, and even found that women who eat soy, beans, and legumes showed an extra layer of protection about their fertility than women who did not. I'll admit this one surprised me. When I was researching what foods to avoid when trying to conceive, my love of Shake Shack was not something I thought would have been a big deal when I was trying to conceive. The more you know, right?
7. Foods Packaged In BPA Materials
If you're drinking from a bottle or eating from a plastic container containing BPA, dump that out right now. BPA has been linked to a gene mutation that has been shown to sharply decrease fertility, according to the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, so it's best to avoid it entirely.