Sugar and Your Fertility


This morning I happened to come across an article about a study that was published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. This article was published back in November of 2007 on Science Daily.

I took some time and read through the study earlier and while difficult to weed through, had some interesting findings. Now, it does seem that only one human subject was studied, but still interesting to say the least.

Basically the researchers found that when there is to much sugar in our diets, our livers convert it into a lipid. And the researchers discovered that this increased amount of lipids in the body shut down a gene called Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG) which reduces the amount of SHGB protein in the body. This protein plays an important role in the amounts of testosterone and estrogen available for the body to use.

“If thereโ€™s less SHBG protein, then more testosterone and estrogen will be released throughout the body, which is associated with an increased risk of acne, infertility, poly cystic ovaries, and uterine cancer in overweight women.” (quote from article)

While I don’t have any information to add to that, I definitely thought it was worthy sharing with you. Especially since I know so many of us are trying to cut back and/or cut out sugar in our diets.


Want to read more?

You can click here to read a few reasons why and how to cut back on your sugar intake.

Already cutting out sugar? Learn what your cravings can mean and what to do about them.

Want to know what you CAN eat while TTC? Check out the Natural Fertility 101 and Fertility Diet series.


Donielle Baker

Donielle Baker

owner and editor of Natural Fertility and Wellness at Natural Fertility and Wellness
I believe women can learn how to heal their bodies & balance their hormones through natural methods. An advocate for natural health, I have a passion for nourishing/real food nutrition and natural living. My personal background includes both infertility and miscarriage and I started Natural Fertility and Wellness in 2008 in order to share all of the information I found helpful in my journey to heal from PCOS and overcome infertility.
Donielle Baker
Donielle Baker
Donielle Baker
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  1. kia

    I am doing well, but then I have that cane sugar allergy. I wish you all the awesome will-power you can muster this weekend. You have been doing so good this challenge so far.

    Also, great study to highlight. When I was prepping to conceive I was concerned about excess lipid stores generating feeback loops for hormone productions but did not know the precise mechanisms for this generation. SHBG could be a clue.

  2. Heather

    I am such a miserable failure :(…While I cut back a LOT of sugar, I kept forgetting about the sugar in a Carmel macchiato Starbucks…
    But, on the other hand, I have cut out the rest of the junk! I was even able to pass up on Oreos! So, thank you again for doing this challenge and being real! It made it a lot easier to cut way back!

  3. Paula

    I did HORRIBLE. I had been doing REALLY well up until yesterday. Valentine’s Day party and I totally forgot that I was doing no sugar. And once I have one, I cannot stop. ๐Ÿ™ I ate a piece of cake AND a cupcake and four sugar cookies topped with icing. It wasn’t until after my fourth cookie that I realized I had just totally blanked out and was eating sugar like before. ๐Ÿ™ I told my husband to be kind to me the next few days as I detox again and crave sugar like crazy. We have a plan for him to help me and not having any of that junk in the house will help because I would have to THINK and go out and buy some if I wanted it. It is when it is there staring you in the face that you don’t think and just reach and grab. That is what I need to work on. ๐Ÿ™

  4. Laura

    I’m new here, just found your site a few days ago. Love it! So about the sugar…we are going gluten free and to a whole foods/real food way of eating. This means we have almost completely cut out our sugar intake which is good since I struggle with candida anytime I eat sugar regularly. Thanks for the post, it’s very motivating to me as we are trying to conceive after three consecutive losses.

  5. Sara

    I just realized last night that I’ve been going along without sugar for awhile now and hadn’t noticed it as much! I only have a little Stevia in my morning coffee, and in the past couple of weeks I had a teaspoon of honey with my plain yogurt. I do eat some bread (long-rise/fermented that I make) and potatoes & carrots every few days, so I’m not starch-free. But I haven’t wanted any other sugar.

    The only possible downside is that the past two days I’ve been experiencing what I suspect is candida die off…past two nights, same time, I started feeling very, very nauseous and had to lie down. I hadn’t eaten in a couple of hours, so I knew it wasn’t food related, and I felt fine during the day, so it wasn’t a cold or flu. I’d been reading about candida (and suspect now that it’s behind several lingering health problems) and last night I suddenly wondered if my nausea was a die off reaction. I suspect it is. But supposedly candida die off symptoms mean your body is overloaded with toxins (from the die off) and that you should ease back on killing the suckers? Have you heard anything about that? I don’t want to have to eat sugar, though, now that I’m used to not having it! Argh, so confusing…

  6. Celia

    I am trucking along on day 43. I MISS sugar. I just want a small amount back in my life but I am not due for another four weeks. And it could take up to six more for my body to snap out of the gestational diabetes. If it does. But as soon as I am cleared, I am ordering a See’s scotchmallow. Yes I am.

    I don’t crave sugar the way I did when I ate it everyday. But I really miss the coziness of sitting down with coffee and a cookie( ok 2 cookies). I just miss the friendliness of a shared dessert with my family.

    But I am thrilled that I have been able to keep my blood sugar under control without insulin. So I don’t imagine I will ever eat the way I used to.

  7. Jes

    I just stumbled upon your site a few days ago, but I am super excited to have found you doing this challenge! I am going to be going sugar free for lent this year, and it is so encouraging to see someone else in the blogosphere doing a similar challenge!

    PS Love your site!

  8. Deanna

    I am doing quite well. Cravings are pretty much gone. I no longer feel I HAVE TO HAVE that piece of candy or that dessert. I haven’t been perfect, I have slipped up BUT this challenge has changed for me. Instead of being a competition with myself and willpower I have started looking at it as a long term change… especially being pregnant (found that out after the challenge started ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). I can have a scoop of ice cream when my heartburn acts up (which has gotten a lot better) and I feel I have had enough. Things like cookies almost seem too sweet (but things have seemed overly salty to me lately too… pg?). Simply, I’m not craving it (but OMGoodness do I want some hot wings from Costco!!!!!) This challenge has done me well and will hopefully help this baby stick around full term.

  9. Allison

    I finished my 30 day challenge at the end of Jan, and I felt fantastic. Then a week of indulging made me feel terrible. I’m trying to find the right balance of giving in every once in a while to keep me sane, yet not over doing it. So far, it seems that I’m either an all or nothing kind of girl.

  10. Raine Saunders

    Sara – I don’t know if what you are experiencing is candida or not, but I have had trouble with candida for years, and I have had the nausea as you described at various points in my healing process. I used to get it all the time, and I can almost pinpoint exactly when the die-off was happening based on that symptom plus some others. I used to get terrible symptoms a couple of years ago when I was going through my first stages of real healing after being very sick. I had chronic insomnia that kept me up for nights in a row. When I was having the die-off, I remember waking up with panic-attack like symptoms that sometimes would keep me up for hours – racing heart, shaking (almost like low-blood sugar), night sweats, nausea, and sometimes even bowel movements in the middle of the night. I also remember feeling this sense of “fight-or-flight” adrenaline rush, for no apparent reason. If I was eating well, I would not get these symptoms at all. But if I ate even one thing I shouldn’t – carbs like bread, rice, or potatoes (even sprouted breads or soaked grains), that could happen to me. I really had to watch my sugar intake for the better part of a year, and then I had to repeat my candida cleanse again the following year. I find that now if I cheat too often, those symptoms start returning again, although they aren’t anywhere near as severe as they used to be.

    Anyway, all I know is, when I avoided sugar I felt great and never had symptoms. I think the die-off reaction is probably not necessarily bad for you to experience, just unpleasant. And it probably all comes down to what you can tolerate. I’ve heard about some people who detox really fast by doing it all at once and become really sick, but then it’s all done and over with. I prefer the slow, gradual detoxing for my own body’s needs. Hope that helps!

  11. Danielle A

    I am so happy to have read this article. I was already thinking about eliminating sugar for awhile. Especially the refined kind such as candy, cookies, cake, and even DQ ice cream. It is hard especially when Sunday comes around, and church is giving us donuts during hospitality time. ๐Ÿ™‚

    But I really want to be able be in the best shape to conceive when that time is right. Hopefully later this year. My biggest fear is not being able to. I figured to relieve that fear, I should work on steps I can make, and I think sugar is my number one bad habit. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thank you.

  12. Melissa

    I was just diagnosed with PCO this week and considering some diet changes before diving in to medical treatment (metformin). I eat more sugar than I should, but don’t have terrible cravings for it. Is it still important to do the whole detox process or should I just cut back to the recommended 25g per day?

    • donielle

      @Melissa, I don’t necessarily think that the “recommended” 25grams is right for everyone. And you’ll never know how well your body CAN function if you don’t cut it all out. ๐Ÿ™‚ Especially is someone has insulin or hormone issues. Personally, I find the best results with consuming very, very little sugar.

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