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.
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.’