Do Carbs Curb Conception?
I for one certainly hope not. Bread, rice, and all things sweet are my favorite treats, especially right before that time of the month. The monster cravings for candy and bowls of white rice can be unrelenting. Everyday I hear people discussing their love-hate relationship with pasta and the like. Thanks to the popularity of high protein diets carbs have gotten a bad rap over the last couple of decades. Blame (or thank) Dr. Atkins, blame (or bless) Loren Cordain (the MD behind 2014's trendiest diet craze, The Paleolithic Diet) for making carbs the enemy to many women and their weight loss goals. Having infertility pinned on carbohydrate rich foods would likely be the nail in the coffin of the already waning bread sales. Fortunately for us and Sara Lee, to my knowledge, there are not any research findings which suggest a low or no carb diet helps with fertility nor does the average amount of carbohydrates in most people's diets reduce fertility.
What does seem to matter though is the source of our carbohydrates. The affect of a baked sweet potato (unfortunately my grandma's candied yams don't count) on our health and fertility is far different than that of 3/4 cup of white rice even though they contain roughly the same amount of carbohydrates. J.E. Chavarro and his fellow researchers found a connection between the glycemic index of foods, total carbohydrate intake, and fertility. Diets rich in foods with a higher glycemic index and those with 60% or more of their total calories coming from carbohydrates were related to increased risk of infertility. As a general rule, the more processed a carbohydrate containing food is the higher its glycemic index. Choosing unprocessed or minimally processed foods in the proper amounts once again is shown to be an important and effective strategy for staying fertile and healthy.
Figuring out which foods and how much to include regularly need not be difficult. Simply choose foods as close to how they started out in nature as possible and give each food group some attention on your plate. The hardest thing for me to change was the amount of rice and potatoes on my plate. You see, I come from a long line of carb lovers. My mom and grandma were notorious for filling the entire plate with rice or potatoes then putting the rest of the food on top. Rice was never meant to be the plate just a delectable and delicious item on the plate. Roughly a fist of minimally processed carb rich foods is enough. To round it all include about a palm's worth of protein and fill the rest of the plate with veggies. Balanced, nutritious, and yummy.