Low-carb dieting could curb pregnancy odds

Filed under: Study — Tags: — @ June 28, 2004

A new study notes that an “Atkins style diet” could reduce the chance of a woman becoming pregnant. The findings were shown at a fertility conference in Berlin. However, the research was done completely on mice; the effects on humans are still unknown.

bq. A diet containing 25 percent protein disrupted the normal genetic imprinting pattern in early embryos

Update: Atkins has responded to the claims, the full release follows below.


In regards to the research presented by Dr. David Gardner at the 20th annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, it is essential to clarify and define the research results as well as the Atkins Nutritional Approach.

It is important to note that there was no mention of carbohydrate control in the research conducted by Dr. Gardner. The study subjects were mice, which are herbivores. Whether or not these findings or effects would apply to humans, who are omnivores, is unknown.

“The differences between mice and human embryos have recently been demonstrated by the ability to produce mice embryos from a single parent, a process that can not be replicated in humans,” said Stuart Trager, M.D., medical director for Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. “This casts a large discrepancy on the ability to derive conclusions about the clinical implications of this study with regard to humans.”

In fact, some studies show a positive correlation between controlling carbohydrates and female fertility. Dr. Eric Westman presented an abstract at the Society of General Internal Medicine’s 2004 annual meeting on a study of women with polycystic ovary syndrome treated with a controlled-carbohydrate approach.(1) On average, the women experienced improvement in hormonal levels as well as weight loss. In addition, two of the women in the study who had previous experienced difficulty in becoming pregnant, conceived during the study.

“The positive role of controlled-carbohydrate nutrition has been well established clinically in women who are either overweight and/or not ovulating normally,” said Ben Gocial, M.D., a reproductive endocrinologist from Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

In addition, there are more than 28 studies focused specifically on the Atkins Nutritional Approach, each of which demonstrates that on averagethe subjects experience improvements in both weight loss and overall health. In addition, a building body of supportive scientific research continues to develop, and will continue to provide the opportunity for those interested in helping people and improving health with the information they need to use controlled-carbohydrate nutrition.

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