She Says… Bring on the whole milk

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I know, I know, I’ve already talked a lot about a healthy diet. And I’m pretty confident that my diet is unrelated to my ovulation issues; I eat a flexitarian diet of almost entirely vegetables, whole grains and lowfat dairy. I take prenatal vitamins, fish oil and vitamin C every day. I get plenty of healthy fats from olive oil and avocados and nuts, and I try to balance protein and fiber in every meal. Blah blah blah. So tonight I was watching Access Hollywood (don’t judge!) and they were discussing “fertility-friendly foods”. Since we all know that Access Hollywood rarely has breaking news in the health department, I didn’t think much of it. But a quick Googlefest led me to some startling research.

NOTE: I am fully aware that this one research study and its “findings” are not a cause for concern, and should not be treated as undeniable truth. However, it can’t hurt to be aware, right?

The more low-fat dairy products you eat, the greater your risk of ovulatory infertility. — HealthyWomen.org

Women who had a high intake of lowfat dairy food were more likely to experience ovulation problems. An increase in low-fat dairy foods of 1 serving per day was associated with an 11% greater risk of an ovulation problem resulting in infertility. Women who had a high intake of high fat dairy foods were less likely to have ovulation problems. — Randy Morris, MD

Benjamin and I often joke that we should get a cow because I drink so much milk. Skim milk. My morning cereal bowls are overflowing, and I’ll often have another glass of milk with a piece of fruit as a snack. And a hefty pour in my cup of tea or iced coffee (decaf, these days). And almost every day I have a yogurt or string cheese for breakfast or a snack. Nonfat yogurt. Reduced fat string cheese. Choosing lowfat or nonfat anything is out of the ordinary for me, as I much prefer natural, whole foods to their processed, lowfat counterparts. However, I eat so. much. dairy. that I always figured I was better off choosing skim. Also, I recently learned that lower-fat milks have more calcium per cup than whole milk (because some of the volume in whole milk is displaced by milk fat, which has no calcium). Score another for skim! But now this.

Could my seemingly healthy dairy habits be contributing to my anovulation? We probably won’t ever know for sure… but it can’t hurt for me to test out the theory. I think I’ll stick with 1% in my cereal and switch to full-fat yogurt. Yum! Since yogurt is portion-controlled, I know I’ll only be getting one serving at a time. Anyone else heard about this? Thoughts?

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8 responses to “She Says… Bring on the whole milk

  1. OMG. I was watching the same episode and thought the same thing! I actually have heard that full-fat dairy is better. Who knows!

  2. I’ve never heard that low-fat stuff is linked to an increase in fertility problems, but I have heard that full-fat can help. Plus I’ve heard that milk fat is good for you in other ways…but I can’t remember what those other ways are. I’m so helpful. 😉 Anyway, it sure can’t hurt, and full-fat cheese and yogurt taste so much better anyway! (not milk though…I could never go above 2%!)

  3. I’m with Sue…I could never drink over skim again…I actually drink it with ice cubes. However, I am all for full-fat yogurt and full-fat cheese! You just made my day! 🙂

  4. I’m with you guys… I won’t be pouring whole milk exclusively (it seems like pudding to me, being a skim drinker!), but it sounds like an excellent excuse to go for full fat cheese and yogurt. Yum!

  5. I had not heard of low-fat dairy products contributing to fertility issues before. Hmmm. I do know, that as a lactose intolerant person with IBS, that low fat and nonfat dairy are my enemies. Low fat and nonfat dairy products often have extra whey, which means extra lactose (which is a form of sugar for flavor to make up for the missing fat), which means extra tummy troubles.

  6. Sam, Thanks for those links! They all support the same theory… but I guess they’re all based on the same study, too, so who knows how valid it is. But it is shocking to me that if this is true, that more women don’t know about it. I don’t know anyone my age who drinks whole milk… and I guarantee they are not aware that that choice may be affecting their fertility.

    My gynecologist did some hormone testing at the very beginning when I wasn’t getting my period, and I believe the normal levels that she found ruled out PCOS. I have done some reading about the syndrome, and I do not have any of the other symptoms or indicators (besides not ovulating), so I think we’re running with the theory that it is not PCOS. That said, I know a lot of doctor’s treat PCOS with Provera/Clomid, which is most likely what I’m going to do when my waiting time is over. So even if I’m not diagnosed with it specifically, I may be treated the same way.

  7. *waves to Sam* You posted the exact thing I was going too. I can’t deal with any dairy and if I did it would be the non fat variety because of my IBS. Hopefully not having dairy in my diet won’t mess things up even more.

    Katie – you are correct about the provera/clomid thing. That is what I will end up on.

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