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Nutrition Is Key for Fertility – A Tale of Two Diets

By Beth Heller, M.S.

So, you think you eat healthy?  Read on and you might be surprised.  The low-fat dietary pattern that is generally touted as healthy is actually low in nutrients that have been shown to be important for fertility.  To illustrate this point, we charged Pulling Down the Moon nutritionist Margaret Wertheim, R.D. to run a nutritional comparison of two diets 1) a typical low-fat diet taken directly from the practice manual of the American Dietetic Association and 2) a fertility-friendly meal plan based on Pulling Down the Moon’s nutrition program.  The results were  striking.

Here’s the low-fat diet based on recommendations from the American Dietetic Association:

Typical Low-Fat Diet info

Typical Low Fat Diet – Click to enlarge

And here’s the fertility-friendly eating plan per Margaret’s recommendations:

Fertility Friendly Diet Info

Fertility-friendly Diet – Click to enlarge

At first glance, both diets look pretty healthy.  The calorie content is the same – just around 1830 calories.  Yet, a nutrient comparison reveals a different story.   Head-to-head the Pulling Down the Moon plan blows the typical low fat diet pattern away in key fertility nutrients.  The low fat diet proved deficient in  iron, vitamin E, vitamin D and very low in the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA – all nutrients that are linked to optimal fertility and healthy ovulation.  The difference?  The fertility-friendly diet derives about 10% more of its calories from healthy fats at the expense of carbohydrates.   Foods in the fertility-friendly diet are also less processed – note the absence of  ”diet” dressings,  as well as”low fat” and “sugar free” foods.

Dietary Comparison LF vs. FF – Click to enlarge

This exercise illustrates a central concept of Pulling Down the Moon fertility-friendly eating that we call “nourishing up.”  In short, nourishing up means that even at your perfect body weight you may still be getting insufficient nutrients for optimal health and fertility ( read more about nourishing up in a previous post here ).  Remember that current dietary guidelines are based on the idea of preventing deficiency (helping us survive), rather than promoting wellness (helping us thrive).  Even  ”healthy” diets such as the low fat diet above are missing the mark.   Note that this low fat diet doesn’t even include guilty pleasures and convenience foods like McDonalds, Starbucks and Lean Cuisine. Also note that the fertility-friendly diet is rich and satisfying, and doesn’t feel like “diet food.”  Our belief is that many women end up starving themselves of important nutrients in order to lose or even maintain their weight.

For this reason we recommend that women who are trying to conceive seek out a nutritionist who specializes in fertility to learn important steps they can take to optimize their diets for fertility.  In addition we also offer the Pulling Down the Moon Nutritional Program,  a three part program of nutritional supplementation that includes the Pulling Down the Moon Supplement Packet, a prenatal vitamin that has been optimized to include nutrients like CoQ10, extra B-vitamins, omega-3′s and choline, Probiotic Powder to support digestion, elimination and the immune system, and our PhytoNutrient Powder, a 100% certified organic fruit and vegetable drink to provide antioxidants their most effective form – that of whole food.*

Have we convinced you that diet is important?   Click here to book an appointment with a Pulling Down the Moon nutritionist or call 312-321-0004 (Chicago)/301-610-7755 (Rockville) for more information.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.