Women who eat too much junk food are ‘twice as likely to be infertile’ than those who eat fruits

Women who regularly tuck into takeaways and junk food take longer to get pregnant than those who eat lots of fruit, says a study.

Those who ate fast food four times a week or more took nearly a month longer to conceive and were twice as likely to be infertile than those who rarely ate it.

And would-be mums who ate fruit three times a day or more in the month up to conception became pregnant more quickly than those who did not.

The study found that while fruit and fast foods affected the time taken to conceive, green vegetables and fish did not.

Lead author Professor Claire Roberts, of the University of Adelaide, said the results showed how ‘a good quality diet that includes fruit and minimises fast-food improves fertility and reduces the time it takes to get pregnant’.

Researchers studied the diet history of 5,598 pregnant women in the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.

Of these, 39 per cent had become pregnant within a month and 8 per cent took longer than a year, which is officially classed as infertile.

Eating fast food four times a week or more doubled the risk of infertility from 8 per cent to 16 per cent, while eating fruit only rarely increased it by half, from 8 per cent to 12 per cent.

The study took into account other risks affecting fertility, such as body weight, smoking and alcohol consumption.

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Women who eat too much junk food are ‘twice as likely to be infertile’

Women who regularly tuck into takeaways and junk food take longer to get pregnant than those who eat lots of fruit, says a study.

Those who ate fast food four times a week or more took nearly a month longer to conceive and were twice as likely to be infertile than those who rarely ate it.

And would-be mums who ate fruit three times a day or more in the month up to conception became pregnant more quickly than those who did not.

The study found that while fruit and fast foods affected the time taken to conceive, green vegetables and fish did not.

Fresh fruit salad in the bowl

Lead author Professor Claire Roberts, of the University of Adelaide, said the results showed how ‘a good quality diet that includes fruit and minimises fast-food improves fertility and reduces the time it takes to get pregnant’.

Researchers studied the diet history of 5,598 pregnant women in the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.

Of these, 39 per cent had become pregnant within a month and 8 per cent took longer than a year, which is officially classed as infertile.

Eating fast food four times a week or more doubled the risk of infertility from 8 per cent to 16 per cent, while eating fruit only rarely increased it by half, from 8 per cent to 12 per cent.

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The study took into account other risks affecting fertility, such as body weight, smoking and alcohol consumption.

With increasing numbers of women cutting back on fruit in low-sugar diets, dietitian Melanie McGrice, of St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne, warned: ‘I’m seeing more and more who incorrectly think they should be avoiding fruit to help them conceive.

‘This study demonstrates that fruit consumption is not only safe, but beneficial … and should not be lumped in the same basket as sugar and soft drinks.’

Fathers are more likely to feed children junk food when their mother is away

Ever worry about what your other half gives the children for dinner when your back is turned?

Your misgivings could be well-founded – if you’re a mother.

Research suggests that mums and dads are not equally concerned about ensuring their children eat healthily.

While mothers generally try to make nutritious meals, fathers are more likely to serve up a quick ready meal or takeaway when they are in charge, a survey found.

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They are also more likely to give in to their children wheedling for a chocolate bar or ice cream – and children are only too happy to exploit their fathers’ lack of commitment to a good diet.

Health campaigns focus on the importance of eating nutritious meals at home. But the sociologists behind the survey found dietary standards tend to drop when mothers are not there to enforce them.

The researchers, from Stanford University in the US, interviewed 44 families which had at least one teenage son or daughter. Each family member was quizzed on eating habits and how these changed depending on which parent was in charge.

Enjoying some Domino's Pizza

In 41 of the 44 families – 93 per cent – both children and parents said the father’s dietary standards were much lower than the mother’s. Publishing the findings in the journal Appetite, researcher Priya Fielding-Singh said: ‘Mothers are seen as committed to healthy eating, while fathers are often perceived as a barrier to it.

‘They often turn to quick, less healthy options – such as fast food and processed meals – explicitly avoided by mothers. Teenagers are not only aware of these distinct parental approaches but exploit them. When they crave less healthy products restricted by mums, they turn to dads.

‘In obliging these requests, dads can undermine mums’ attempts at healthy eating.’

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Miss Fielding-Singh said although many modern fathers play a bigger role in housework, family meal planning is still largely down to mums. And fathers tend to be more focused on getting their children to eat the right amount, rather than worrying about what they are eating.

She added: ‘Fathers may be less likely to place limits on snacks. And conventional masculinity norms discourage fathers from engaging in healthy behaviours.’

Some of the fathers interviewed admitted being unaware of what their teenage children were eating, while others admitted they cared less about it than their wives.

‘Many mothers, particularly working mothers, wish fathers would do more “foodwork”,’ she said. ‘But they also fear his greater involvement would pose a risk to the children’s’ dietary health.’

Previous studies showed children whose fathers eat fast food are more likely to eat it too, while having an overweight dad increases the risk of a child being obese.