Can High-Protein, Low-Carb Diet Boost Fertility Treatment?

That's the conclusion of small, early study of women undergoing in vitro fertilization

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The traditional Mediterranean diet is low in red meat, dairy and processed foods, but high in fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, olive oil and whole grains.

Both Ross and Grifo said "good" fats, like those in vegetable oils, plus fruits, vegetables and other healthy carbs, are important for women undergoing IVF -- as they are for everyone.

Russell said women at his center are now routinely counseled on nutrition before undergoing IVF. If they are below the 25 percent mark for protein, they get advice on how to add more to their diets and cut out empty carbs.

In counseling women at the NYU center, Ross said she sees where women are starting from, as far as diet and lifestyle, and goes from there. Some women may need more protein, but others may not, she said.

And although the current study focused only on women, Ross said men's nutrition matters in sperm quality, so she gives advice to both women and men ahead of and during infertility treatment.

More information

Learn more about fertility issues from the U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

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