Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Boston (but no marathon)

Thank you for those who tweeted "are you running?" Um no.
I’m in Boston for Dr Weil’s Nutrition and Health Conference. This is a conference I look forward to and have attended twice before in New York and also San Diego. Presenters, at any event,  are always a mixed bag and sometimes the sessions you expect to be best are not the highlights. Dr Robert Lustig opened the morning yesterday. His name may sound familiar as he figured prominently in 60 Minutes sugar segment; he’s also the endocrinologist quoted in the NYT early puberty article. Dr Lustig presented on fructose. I was really excited but not for the biochemistry lesson he started in with. There were two fun facts, after 45 minutes, first that 80% (wow) of supermarket items have some sugar. And second, Lustig’s “4 foods of the apocalypse”
Trans fats
Corn Fed Beef
Ethanol (alcohol)
Fructose
No surprises on the list but imagine if America worked on decreasing all of these…

The highlight of the day was a seminar on food and fertility by Dr Victoria Maizes who works with Dr Weil at the University of Arizona and I’ve seen present on diet and cancer before.  She is a fantastic speaker and offers suggestions versus mandates.  It startling when you look at the fertility data. Many women postpone having children to focus on work while fertility starts to decline in our 30s. As far as diet, it matters more vis-à-vis fertility as we get older, if that makes sense. So what’s been associated with decreased fertility?
  1. Cereal- many foods were tested and cold cereal, likely because of glycemic index, decreased fertility more than most others
  2. Nonfat milk- you know, if you read regularly, I’m not a skim fat but while nonfat milk decreases fertility whole dairy improves it.
  3. Trans fats – a 2% increase in trans fats was associated with a 73% increase in infertility, think packaged products and read labels for hydrogenation. Trans fats were on Lustig’s list above and they really are about as bad for us as we thought, it not worse
  4. Soda but not necessarily all caffeine

What foods improve fertility?
  1. Whole Dairy
  2. Fish/omega 3's- many women cut out fish due to mercury phobia and this is a mistake. Omega 3’s decrease miscarriage risk, postpartum depression and certain pediatric cancers.
  3. Prenatal vitamins- I am not such a multivitamin all in one fan but feel strongly, after this presentation, that both men and women trying to conceive should be taking one (though not the same one).

What happens in utero and what women do before they conceive really, as Dr Maizes said “wires you for the rest of your life”. So I can focus on my mother and how screwed I am or I can try to pass this information on.  And finally, infertility isn’t always discussed and has to be one of the hardest things to go through. I have a sister to struggled with IVF and I tried for a long time with my older son. Dr Maizes reminded us of the compassion needed. I also think “tools” are helpful so please, if appropriate, pass this information along. And congratulations to all the Boston runners, well done.
 I have to get over to the Westin for today’s sessions. I’ll tweet @Foodtrainers about  them if you want to hear more.
Are you eating much of the apocalyptic foods? Or are you limiting fish due to mercury concerns? What do you think makes a good speaker or presentation?

25 comments:

  1. I wish I'd known this earlier. Torin is an IVF baby. What a journey that was! I drink skim milk-always have since college and lots of it. Hmmmmm. That wasn't my only problem, but probably didn't help. Thanks for sharing. I am passing this along to a few of my girlfriends who are having a hard time trying to conceive right now. Thanks Laur!

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    1. congratulations Bryna. It's never 1 thing, right? Please pass info along. Thanks for commenting new momma.

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  2. Your conferences sound a lot more informative than mine. (And Bryna's baby is adorable!)

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    1. but still boring at times, what do you think makes a good public speaker/presenter M? Curious.

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    2. I look for sessions that have interesting speakers w a variety of experiences. I hate power point presentations. My conferences tend to have a lot of speakers rehashing the same topics...give me something new!

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    3. agreed, no more boring powerpoints/recycled info.

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  3. Such interesting information, thanks for sharing. I know so many women who know that diet is tied to infertility somehow, but aren't sure what to change (other than eating healthier whole foods).

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    1. have to say vitamin info and fertility surprised me, not just preventing defects but improving fertility. Interesting.

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  4. Thanks for sharing your thoughts from your conference. Sounds like it was a good one! It's amazing what can and cannot influence fertility and how crucial how diet and daily behaviors really are. I know, my hubby and I tried on/off for about 9-10 months before conceiving. I never felt healthier during that year though. We were both really careful about the quality of foods going in to our bodies. The only food of the apocolypse that my hubby and I are guilty of is alcohol...but I wouldn't say in excess.

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    1. you and your husband were prenatal posterchildren, anything that I mentioned a surprise to you? Feel good.

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  5. Thank you for sharing! Great post!

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  6. Informative as always! I'm surprised about cereal. Good to know.

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    1. probably because of gylcemic index sam

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  7. Thanks for a great post!
    I have a friend trying to get pregnant now so I will pass this information along to her.

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    1. other tips too but this was the synopsis.

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  8. Very interesting and good to know for future!

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  9. Sounds like a great conference, and, I too am interested in the nutrition and fertility information. I have a friend who has asked me some questions about this, so I will pass along the information to her. Hope you had a great trip! (I'm still recovering from jetlag. Somehow it was much easier going, than coming back home. Must be the piles of laundry, and work I need to catch up on that's making me sleepy :-)

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    1. it's one of those cruel travel tricks, jet lag on way home stinks!

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  10. I would have loved to go to this conference!! It sounds like something I (and all RDs) would really enjoy. I'm wondering if skim milk is talked about the same as fat free yogurt. Any ideas? I was getting 2% yogurt for a while, now I've switched to fat free.....should I go back?! I mean I'm not really worried about infertility; I take my fish oils and eat fish, I don't get trans fat in my diet, and my sugar intake is very minimal..so I doubt I have to worry, but I'm curious about that dairy thing!
    Thanks for the great information Lauren.

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    1. It's a good conference, I've been a few times. This wasn't the best year. And not a lot of RD's go b/c they prefer the pepsi sponsored one.
      It was all nonfat dairy, androgens get concentrated and I think the question is, why eat nonfat dairy? It's not "better" for anything...

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  11. I eat a lot of fish...mostly because I don't eat chicken or beef anymore. Sometimes I worry about the mercury levels but I know that I can't worry about everything! So I close my eyes and hope nothing happens. :)

    Lucky you in Boston!

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    1. funny enough (whole other subject) the selenium content in many fish sort of cancels out the mercury so it's not as big a concern.

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  12. I will pass this on. Thank you for a great post. :) Any great places you recommend in Boston?

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