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In a recent study, Dr. Jorge Chavarro and colleagues at the Harvard School of Public Health investigated how different types of fats affected success of fertility treatment in 147 women undergoing In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) at Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center.
- Women who ate the most saturated fats had fewer mature oocytes (cells that form eggs). The main sources of saturated fat in the American diet are red meat and whole-milk dairy products.
- Women who ate the most polyunsaturated fats had more poor-quality embryos than those who ate the least. They also had a 12% higher proportion of cells in the embryo that were dividing more slowly than expected. Common sources of polyunsaturated fats are walnuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and chia seeds.
- Higher levels of monounsaturated fats increased the chance of a live birth after embryo transfer. Those who ate the most were about 3.5 times more likely to have a live birth than those who ate the least. In this group, the participants with the lowest percentage of monounsaturated fats in their diet ate about 9% of their total calories from these fats, while those in the highest group ate about 25% of their diet in these fats. High amounts of monounsaturated fats are found in olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil, peanuts, almonds, cashews, and avocado.
Chavarro stated that this is the first time that dietary fats have been linked to treatment outcome in IVF. However, he clarified that while the results are interesting, additional research is needed due to the small number of study participants.
Mediterranean Diet Foods, such as Avocados and Olive Oil may Boost Success of Fertility Treatments. Retrieved online July 11, 2012 from http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/mediterranean-diet-foods-avocados-olive-oil-boost-success-fertility-treatments-article-1.1110559.