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The News is Not Sweet: Sugar Has Got to Go

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by Cindy Bailey of the Fertile Kitchen™, May 27, 2010

Those on a fertility diet already know this: processed sugar has got to go. It negatively affects blood sugar levels, leading to hormonal imbalance, which you don’t want while trying to conceive. Sugar also causes inflammation and compromises are immune systems.

Giving it up is not easy, though, especially for those with a sweet tooth.

Sugar seems to be in everything these days, and I’m not talking about just the cookies and ice cream. Sugar gets added to breads, cereals and a host of other off-the-shelf products. It goes by many names, too: high fructose corn syrup, maltodextrin, brown sugar and cane sugar. (Side note: When reading labels, if you don’t know what an ingredient is, Google it to find out.)

What about artificial sweeteners? Quick answer: Don’t go there! They're artificial and you don’t want anything artificial in your body while trying to optimize fertility and get pregnant.

So what can you eat?

No, all hope is not lost. It’s OK to have natural sugars in moderate amounts, as they don’t adversely affect blood sugar levels. These can include honey, maple syrup and brown rice syrup. But read the labels to make sure they’re all natural (or better, organic) and that nothing has been added, like sugar (yes, it happens!).

Watch out for high concentrations of natural sugars, though. Eat whole fruits rather than drinking fruit juice, as the concentration of natural fructose is too high in the juice. Same goes for fruit-only jams.

A great, healthy alternative to sugar is Stevia, an herb said to be ten to fifteen times sweeter than table sugar. Stevia has a negligible effect on blood sugar (some reports say it even lowers it). It's sold in both liquid (in a dropper bottle) and dry powder forms. Read the label and opt for the pure extract version (with nothing extra added). Stevia is great for sweetening cereal, tea and more. You can even bake with it.

You may need to give yourself at least two weeks of no sugar before your cravings subside, but once you do, you’ll be able to taste the sugar in a piece of toast—and just maybe, that’ll be too much for you.

Your body will be getting plenty of sugar from natural sources, such as fruits, rice and other carbohydrates, so no need to worry. If you’re really missing dessert, try this: Slowly bake a green apple in the oven until it is soft, and then drizzle it with honey and eat. Yum!

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Comments (4)

In researching Stevia and fertility on, the research does not agree on the impact of stevia on fertility. Some studies show no differences, some show definite differences, and some of the older studies talk about the CONTRACEPTIVE effects of stevia for up to 60 days after stopping usage. Yikes! That is definitely NOT what I'm looking for.

First want to say that I am SO glad you are doing your own research and making informed decisions for yourself. This is what I recommend to my readers and workshop participants, because we are all unique and ultimately responsible for our own well-being. Second, to address your issue with stevia and fertility... the old studies you refer to injected both male and female rodents with an extremely high dose of stevia each day (something like 6% their body weight). That means if you weigh 140 pounds, you would have to eat 2.4 pounds of stevia every day (and also be a rodent) to see the effect of decreasing offspring. If you consumed that amount of processed sugar every day, you'd be dealing with much more than a huge fertility issue - you'd also suffer many issues with overall health. Considering that stevia is 10 to 15 times sweeter than table sugar, the assumption is that you would consume it in small amounts anyway, far less than the amounts used in the older studies. So, my opinion (along with many others) is that it is safe and healthy to use, as long as you don't way overdo it (as you shouldn't overdo anything anyway).

But of course you can just personally choose not to use it. Instead go for moderate amounts of all-natural forms of honey, maple syrup and agave nectar, for example.

Here are some interesting links on stevia to explore further:,, and (the comments are interesting on this article). Hope it helps! All the best!

I've heard all kinds of crazy things about how nutrition can affect ones ovulation patterns. I'd like to see what type of diet is really suggested for meat?? I'm sure that most of these diets really just mean, real, whole foods, right? What is better, watching what you eat all the time or just knowing that your food is good because it is fresh, healthy, varied, and there isn't too much of it.

Yes! A whole foods, healthy diet with plenty of veggies, lean protein, good carbs, healthy fats is good for both men and women. For fertility, men also want to be sure to get plenty of zinc, selenium, vitamin B12 and vitamin C, as well as plenty of antioxidants. (See my previous post on this: I see watching what you eat and just knowing that your food is good as the same thing! You might have to "watch" a little more at first, but once eating in a wholesome, healthy way becomes a habit, you'll be watching less and enjoying more--esp. in how you feel. So glad you're tuned in to eating fresh, healthy and varied. Makes a huge difference!

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