Eating fast food affects fertility, and could prevent women from getting pregnant quickly, new research suggests.
Researchers analyzed the diets of 5,598 women in Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Ireland, and found that women who eat less fruit and more fast food are less likely to conceive within one year. They are also more likely to experience infertility, USA Today reports.
Led by professor Claire Roberts from University Adelaide’s Robinson Research Institute in Australia, the team found that women who eat fast food four or more times per week took almost a month longer to get pregnant. Fast food referred to products bought from fast food shops, excluding items bought from supermarkets, like frozen pizza. Essentially, fast food consumption might actually have been underreported, the researchers say.
On the other hand, women who ate fruit three or more times daily raised their chances of conceiving quickly. Women who ate fruit less than one to three times monthly took half a month longer to get pregnant, the study found.
According to the results, women who ate the least amount of fruit raised their risk of infertility from 8% to 12%, and women who consumed fast food four or more times weekly increased the risk by as much as 16%. Infertility is defined as the inability to get pregnant after a year of trying.
Jessica Grieger, first author on the study, said,
We recommend that women who want to become pregnant should align their dietary intakes towards national dietary recommendations for pregnancy. Our data shows that frequent consumption of fast foods delays time to pregnancy.
Eating fish and leafy green vegetables did not seem to have any effect on conception time. Grieger said, “For any dietary intake assessment, one needs to use some caution regarding whether participant recall is an accurate reflection of dietary intake. However, given that many women do not change their diet from pre-pregnancy to during pregnancy, we believe that the women’s recall of their diet one month prior to pregnancy is likely to be reasonably accurate.”
The study was published in Human Reproduction.