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fertility | no low fat dairy

So, here it is….my series on fertility, pregnancy and nursing nutrition.  I will try to pass along all of my research, in small doses!

There is a lot of research on hormones in our food effecting our estrogen levels and thus our fertility!  There is “new” research that low fat dairy can effect ovulation due to the hormones!  So, if you’re trying to get pregnant, it is advised that you switch to FULL FAT DAIRY.

Much of my research in trying to decide which milk is best…cow, soy, almond, etc…has led me to the fact that as adults, we do not need dairy at all!  If you like it, great, eat or drink it. If not, eat your leafy greens, nuts and take your multi-vitamin and you’ll be fine. (Interesting research on the dairy industry and food politics!)

Dairy is optional. But, if you choose to eat dairy and are trying to get pregnant….

  • as little as ONE serving of low fat dairy can decrease your fertility
  • no whey protein
  • If you cut out red or processed meats, it may help to compensate for the extra calories in the full fat diary
  • Once pregnant or no longer trying to conceive, you can switch back to low fat dairy if you wish ( I’m currently doing research that may suggest otherwise….more on that later)
  • High amounts of dairy actually block iron absorption

Serving sizes are important to maintain weight so I will be including some info on appropriate serving sizes. You can vary these but it’s a nice guideline to have. (For example, I usually only add .5 to 1 oz of cheese to my eggs so 1.5 oz seems high.)

Serving Sizes

  • Milk or yogurt                                  1 cup
  • Cheese (cheddar or swiss)           1.5 oz / 45 g


The Fertility Diet by Jorge Chavarro, Walter Willett, and Patrick Skerrett,  Fertility Foods by Jeremy Groll and Lorie Groll, Skinny Bitch Bun in the Oven by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin, Feed the Belly by Frances Largeman-Roth RD

shawna - love this!

Emily - I think it’s absolutely fantastic that you’re doing this. So many people have no clue how the foods they eat affect their body. It wasn’t until we had trouble conceiving that I started to delve into all the nitty gritty details. It’s shocking they don’t teach you this stuff in high school biology! I’m going to add a few things for you that I discovered in my own research– People who are big fans of soy should know that it acts as a false estrogen. The drug I took to conceive Andrew– Clomid, can be replaced by taking doses of soy isoflavones in a similar pattern ie a set amount on 5-8 consecutive cycle days early in the cycle. Another thing many people don’t know is that green tea prevents the absorption of folic acid so it’s really important to stay away from that while you are ttc or pregnant. A lot of people drink it for the other health benefits but I won’t touch the stuff with a 10 foot pole. So there ya go, my tiny contribution to your work! You’re doing great stuff 🙂

Rachael - This is so informative Tori! Personally I switched back to low fat dairy (milk) after I got pregnant but only because I could stomach it better than whole milk. I did the full fat dairy nutrition when trying to conceive though (and that’s what my husband prefers so it was convenient too). 🙂

tori - Thx! I was going to blog on soy! And green tea is interesting. I will post on caffeine & iron absorption also. And I had no idea about the Clomid!

Ellen - Tori – you have some great information. I am a nutritionist for Women, Infants, and Children, and friend from high school. I want to let you know a little bit more about the comment “High amounts of dairy actually block iron absorption”. Calcium blocks iron absorption, so if you take a supplement for calcium, Don’t take it at the same time as prenatal vitamins or iron tablets. It reduces the absorption of iron and folate. Many women just take all their supplements at once. Take one at night and one in the morning. Usually women like to take supplements containing iron at night, b/c it often causes upset stomach.

ashley - Loving all of this! I did not know about the Whey Protein. I would be curious to know what you found on Soy as I have started to drink Soy over regular milk… still get a fair amount of dairy from cheese, but more goat dairy over cow.

tori - Thanks so much for your feedback Ellen! I hope you keep up w/ the rest of my “series” and add more input to my posts!

Shibahn - URGH you are telling me that drinking my non-fat organic dairy milk is bad for conception!? Now that makes me fustrated… I got so much to learn….

tori - Don’t kill the messenger! Remember, everything in moderation. If you end up having problems, you can cut out your favorite Starbux drink or cut down or just do your own research and decide! I’m sorry 🙁

Shibahn - I’m not killing the messenger at all… picking brains. But I find some of these facts to be a little anecdotal rather than based on research. “Whey” protein is found in milk… so therefore cutting out whey is nearly impossible in whole milk. True? Additionally, the hormones (from the cow) found in the whole milk would obviously be more than the hormones found in the skim milk, so of course scientists recommend drinking the full fat milk. Interesting information though.
And I don’t drink Starbucks.

tori - I wish I didn’t drink Starbucks :-/ It’s one of my favorite occasional treats!

I am just passing along the notes on the books that I have read. Feel free to disagree or do your own research. From the info I have read when the fat its removed from the whole milk to make it skim, there are chemicals and proteins added and the balance of hormones is changed and can affect fertility negatively.

There was a “prospective study of dairy foods intake and anovulatory infertility” in 2007 that showed that even one serving a day of low- or no-fat dairy product increased the risk of problems getting pregnant.

Again, take it for what it’s worth. If you’re not having problems, who cares. I think it’s interesting. I know there are women who get pregnant every day that are eating low- or no-fat dairy products! But, if it’s a concern for you….here is some info. To me, if there is possible research out there that shows, for example, that there is information that says that it is possible, but still inconclusive, that caffeine may cause miscarriage, I am not willing to take the risk. That is my opinion. Even if the research is not clear yet, i want to know about it so I can live as healthy as I can and be aware of “possible” risks, whether anecdotal or proven and I will make up my mind either way. That is what i’m doing here with my blog posts.

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