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The Fertility Diet: Groundbreaking Research Reveals Natural Ways to Boost Ovulation and Improve Your Chances of Getting Pregnant Hardcover – November 7, 2007

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About the Author

Jorge Chavarro, M.D., Sc.D., earned both master's and doctoral degrees in epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, where he is currently a research fellow studying the role of diet and lifestyle on reproductive function.

Walter C. Willett, M.D., Dr.P.H., is the Fredrick John Stare Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition and chairman of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, as well as a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is one of the leaders of the influential Nurses' Health Study, as well as the author of Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating.

Patrick J. Skerrett is coauthor, with Walter Willett, of Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy. He is the editor of the Harvard Heart Letter.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (November 7, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071494790
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071494793
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #798,658 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

400 of 440 people found the following review helpful By Julia FertileHeart on December 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
In 1992, I was in desperate search of a miracle cure for my furiously rising hormone levels, which - according to a well-documented study - reduced my remaining childbearing years to zero. At the time I was eating close to the recommendations of The Fertility Diet: whole milk products, brown rice, tofu, poultry, nuts and fruit, multigrain bread, an afternoon desert and coffee. Yet there I was, at forty two, going into premature menopause with several endocrinologists proclaiming my "ovulatory infertility" to be beyond repair.

One day, in a last-ditch effort to prop up my wilting ovaries, I resolved to raise the bar on my eating habits. The first food I eliminated was dairy. My decision to do so was inspired by my chronic sinus headaches. Several sources indicated a strong correlation between milk products and high levels of congestion. Amazingly, after three dairy-free weeks, my sinus headaches vanished. And eight months later (following a regime of additional diet changes and rigorous self-examination) I conceived a baby girl. After publicly sharing my story, I received hundreds of e-mails from women who emulated my process with similar results.

Notably, in 1994, the year of my daughter's birth, a large scale study in the Journal of Epidemiology, surveyed women in over 35 countries, showing that those in countries with the highest milk consumption experienced the sharpest, age-related drop in ovarian reserve. Women between the ages of 35-39 reported the highest rate of declining reproductive function. Some experts proposed that this delayed impact might've been caused by the cumulative toxic effect of galactose on ovarian germ cells.

No, not everyone needs to give up dairy to become pregnant.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful By M's Mom on August 17, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book taught me that, contrary to what many of us have been led to believe, fats are not evil. We women of fertile years NEED fat. Not too much, of course, but having enough is essential to ensure our bodies are working properly. My husband and I had been trying, unsuccessfully, to get pregnant for quite some time. I considered myself a healthy eater who led a healthy lifestyle. I had been a follower of a "clean" diet (See Tosca Reno's Eat-Clean Diet books--great for staying trim, and I still recommend them to people to teach them to avoid processed foods), and I exercised regularly, being a personal trainer as well. Reading this book opened my eyes to the need to incorporate more fats into my diet in order to boost my fertility. I ate ice cream, I drank milk that wasn't skim, and I followed other aspects of this "fertility diet" in the hopes I would prove the doctors (including the fertility specialists) wrong, that we COULD and WOULD get pregnant on our own.

I was almost at my wit's end. Since I had begun tweaking my diet as the book suggested, my period had returned so I thought I was having cycles again. However, the "experts" still said pregnancy was nearly impossible since there was such a ridiculously slim chance I could be ovulating. The last statistic I was given was that I had a slim 4-5% chance of getting pregnant without an egg donor only if I was on hormone replacement therapy, but zero chance without. Meanwhile, I skipped yet another cycle. I thought it simply meant they were right, that I was going through menopause at the age of 28. This time, however, I was pregnant! I had been on the fertility diet for about 2 months, and now, almost a year later, I have a very healthy, beautiful, 4-month old baby girl.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Maria on December 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was interesting but they summarize their ten rules for what you should eat and not eat in the first chapter and never really add anything to that. I could have just read three pages and gotten what I need from this book. Basically eat whole grains (no white flours/potatoes etc) Eat less animal protein and more vegetable protein, as well as fish. Lots of fruits and vegetables. Moderate alcohol and caffeine consumption. Absolutely no trans fats. Eat no low fat dairy products but do eat 1-2 servings of whole fat dairy products a day. Take an excellent multivitamin with allot of folic acid. Also supplement with Iron.
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171 of 217 people found the following review helpful By RaRa on December 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If researchers from Harvard University - Dr. Jorge Chavarro and Dr. Walter Willett - had merely published their data and encouraged additional study to validate their findings, I'd have nothing to write about today. In fact, I may have penned a quick post about the study since it did find some intriguing associations between diet and risk of infertility in women participating in the Nurse's Health Study II.

But, they didn't simply publish a paper. No, they also published a book - The Fertility Diet - that is now featured on the cover of Newsweek and also being touted in the media as the low-tech, do-it-yourself way to prevent and even reverse ovulatory infertility!

Worse though is the media advancing the findings in a way that implies the dietary strategy has been tested in infertile women!

Take a look at how MedScape opened their article - "Higher intake of monounsaturated fats; vegetable protein; and high-fiber, low-glycemic carbohydrates improved fertility outcomes in women with ovulatory disorder infertility, according to the results of a cohort study reported in the November issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology."

The data is not from women who specifically had a diagnosis of ovulatory dysfunction (irregular or absent menstruation). Rather, the data was from a cohort of women within the Nurse's Health Study II who were identified as actively trying to get pregnant during the period of follow-up data collection. That is a very different cohort of subjects than one exclusively made up of women with infertility, or a cohort designed as a comparison study of women with and without fertility issues due to ovulation!
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