There is so much misinformation about what to eat and what to avoid when trying to get pregnant, with or without the help of infertility treatment. We wanted to know what nutritional information is supported by strong science. According to Dr. Sheeva Talebian, with Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York, these are the top four foods to avoid.

  1. Artificial Sweeteners and Sugar Substitutes- These fake sugars can be found in a variety of food and beverages marketed as “sugar-free” or “diet. They go by names such as:
    • Acesulfame potassium (Sunett, Sweet One)
    • Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet)
    • Saccharin (SugarTwin, Sweet’N Low)
    • Sucralose (Splenda)
    • Neotame
    • Advantame
  2. Caffeine– Go easy on the caffeine—no more than one caffeinated beverage a day, but remember that many sodas contain caffeine.
  3. Fish high in mercury– Fish contain vital nutrients important to women trying to conceive, including omega-3s, protein, vitamins, and minerals such as iron; however, some fish are high in mercury and should be avoided. The fish to avoid include:
    • tilefish (from the Gulf of Mexico)
    • swordfish
    • shark
    • king mackerel
  4. Non-organic meat and dairy products. Doctors recommend that you get plenty of protein when trying to conceive. Dr. Talebian cited some studies that found benefits for women drinking one cup of whole milk each day. While some doctors do not care whether you eat organic or non-organic meat and dairy products, there seems to be a growing concern about antibiotics and growth hormones in non-organic meat and dairy products. When possible try to eat organic meats and milk.

You can hear more from Dr. Talebian in our interview: Lifestyle Choices That Increase Your Chances of Getting Pregnant

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Image Credit: Clem Onojeghuo