Tag Archive for: Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates or “carbs” are a hot topic of conversation in many different areas of health. Did you know they can play a big role in improving your fertility?

What is the link between carbs and glycemic index?

Carbs are found in many foods including breads and cereals, dairy products, fruit and some vegetables (as well as sweets and sugary foods). The glycemic index or “GI” is a ranking of carbohydrate foods on a scale of 0 to 100 according to the extent to which they raise blood glucose levels after eating.

Low GI foods are those with a lower number (less than 55). They are absorbed slowly, and lead to a gentle rise in blood glucose levels. Moderate and high GI foods have higher rankings and these carbohydrates have faster absorption and quicker rise in blood glucose levels.

The body responds to blood glucose levels by releasing a hormone called insulin.  A larger amount of insulin is required to cope with the higher GI foods (and also larger serves of carbohydrates, in general).

How can GI help with my fertility?

The process of successful conception requires a balance of the right hormones, at the right levels, at the right time. It is known that higher levels of circulating insulin can have a negative impact on a woman’s hormone cycles – specifically ovulation.  Incorporating low GI foods into your diet will assist you keep your blood glucose levels steadier and consistent, thus minimising insulin spikes, and the amount of circulating insulin in general. This, in turn, can improve fertility.

What can I do right now?

Here are some easy food “swaps” that will lower your dietary GI. Choose:

  • Grain or rye bread rather than white or wholemeal;
  • Sweet potato rather than white potato; and
  • Basmati or Doongara rice in place of white or brown rice.

Most dairy foods and many fruit are also low in GI and are good to include in your diet.

How can a Lifestyle Maternity Dietitian help me?

Incorporating low GI foods into your usual eating pattern is just one of many ways you can optimise your diet when planning a pregnancy. Why not see a Lifestyle Maternity dietitian for further advice and a tailored healthy eating plan?

Other topics we can discuss with you include:

  • How to achieve your most comfortable or healthiest weight to assist with conception
  • What the right amount of carbohydrate is to include in your diet each day
  • Which supplements to take when planning a pregnancy
  • The facts about caffeine, alcohol, fish intake and food safety for early pregnancy

To make an appointment book here or enrol in an online, self-paced course.