Trying to conceive? Try the better baby diet of beef, butter & bacon

canfield

Canfield

Charmain Canfield knows firsthand that the foods we eat can impact our fertility. Diagnosed with unexplained infertility, she tried for 12 years to get pregnant — using ovulation drugs, inseminations, surgery — and finally in the last two years, three cycles of egg retrieval for in vitro fertilization.

Now, the 39-year old nurse from Ohio credits the ketogenic diet for helping her finally conceive her happy healthy twins, Hunter and Miya, born in March 2017.

“It made all the difference in the quality of my eggs and embryos — I saw it with my own eyes,” said Canfield, who with her husband Michael welcomed the twins into their family of three adopted daughters.

Recently, we highlighted the top eight reasons why women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) may want to adopt a low-carb diet. Reason #3 was that a low-carb or ketogenic diet can restore formerly absent or irregular periods, improve fertility, and result in pregnancies.

But whether or not a woman has PCOS, recent research is showing that women’s egg quality can improve and more pregnancies result by cutting carbs, or by even going full keto prior to conception.

In fact, many assisted reproduction programs are now advising both women and men to lower their carbohydrate intake and increase the fat and protein in their diet to naturally enhance the health and fertility of their eggs and sperm before undergoing fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization (IVF). Some fertility experts say it can increase fertility five times.

“We recommend that couples try the low-carb high-fat diet for at least two to three months before trying to conceive or before having egg retrieval for IVF. In our experience this diet produces the best quality eggs and sperm,” notes Dr. Michael Fox, of the Jacksonville Center for Reproductive Medicine, in Florida.

That’s the advice that Canfield got, too, from her fertility expert, Dr. Robert Kiltz, of CNY Fertility, in upper New York state. He told Canfield he called it the Better Baby Diet: Beef, Butter Bacon. The fertility program also creates a regular magazine for patients that includes information about low carb keto eating with recipes — and provides references to Diet Doctor and other low carb ketogenic resources. Dr. Kiltz has another popular saying he tells all patients and shares in his regular videos on CNY Fertility’s Facebook page: “Fertile fatty foods first! It’s the fastest path to reproduction.”

Miya CanfieldHere is what happened for Canfield: for her first egg retrieval for IVF in 2015, she and her husband ignored the diet advice and stayed eating the typical high carb American diet. “I was addicted to carbs. I loved my potatoes,” she said. That first cycle resulted in 12 poor quality eggs being retrieved, of which 10 fertilized, but only eight survived. But when she went for embryo transfer all eight embryos had arrested in their development and no transfer occurred.

For her second try at egg retrieval a few months later, “We did low carb half-heartedly.” That second cycle resulted in slightly better quality eggs: 15 eggs were retrieved, 10 of those fertilized and she had 10 embryos of which five were good quality and five were poor quality. But no pregnancy resulted.

For her third cycle, she and her husband decided to fully commit to the strict ketogenic diet, cutting out all sugars, processed foods, and starchy carbohydrates. “We thought we need to see if this can work. It is now or never.”

They ate keto for 90 days before the third egg retrieval, during which time Canfield lost 35 lbs and surprisingly eliminated all evidence of her previous chronic inflammation. On egg retrieval she had 21 eggs, 20 of which fertilized. By day 3 they had 17 healthy embryos, half of which they froze. The other half they let develop until day 5/6 and two made it. Those two embryos were frozen and three months later, with Canfield continuing to eat keto the whole time, the two were thawed and transferred. Their twins were the happy result.

Hunter CanfieldWhile she was unable to keep keto during her pregnancy due to cravings and nausea, they couple are now returning to keto eating. “I felt so much better eating that way and I know it made a huge difference to our success. Our journey was so long and so lonely for so many years, I want as many people as possible to know about keto eating and fertility.” Canfield is now hoping that with continued keto eating they may spontaneously conceive in the next few years. “I would faint after 12 years of trying, but now I feel anything is possible.” If not, they still have healthy frozen embryos they can transfer.

For women whose only problem is PCOS, Dr. Fox notes that the diet can help up to 90 per cent become pregnant within three to six cycles. For those who have blocked fallopian tubes, or other issues preventing pregnancy, the LCHF diet combined with treatment leads to better quality eggs, more fertilized embryos, higher rates of implantation, and more successful pregnancies while undergoing IVF.

In a fascinating observational experiment with 120 women undergoing IVF at the U.S. Delaware Institute for Reproductive Medicine, fertility expert Dr. Jeffrey Russell had patients fill out a three day nutritional diary. While he knew women with higher body mass index tended to have poorer quality embryos for IVF, he had been surprised to see that some thin, apparently healthy women had poor quality embryos, too.

When Dr. Russell looked at their nutritional diaries, however, the link became clear: those with poor quality embryos were consuming more than 60 per cent carbs each day. Women whose diet had less than 40 per cent of carbs, and higher amounts of fat and protein not only had better eggs, they had better embryo development and had four times the pregnancy rates. Moreover, when counselled to cut their carbs and increase their protein and fat in their diet, women with previously poor eggs and embryos saw that quality greatly improve and with pregnancies rates also increase four times. “We even found that some healthy women, who changed their nutritional profile to consume fewer carbs and more protein had unexpected spontaneous conceptions without any need for IVF,” Dr. Russell said.

Russell and his colleagues now require that all clients, women and men, do at least three months of lower carb diets prior to attempting IVF.

That advice is also being given by fertility doctors in the UK. Last week at the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology conference, as reported in Telegraph, British Fertility experts said they were recommending that their patients cut carbohydrates before IVF treatments. The Leeds Fertility program recently started a nutrition class, with cooking lessons for lower carb, for couples trying to conceive.

Canfield is doing what she can to spread the advice, too, sharing her story and posting on Facebook groups for keto eating. “I wish I had known about keto eating 12 years ago.”

Anne Mullens

More

Infertility, PCOS and the IDM program

Low carb for beginners

How to Reverse PCOS with low carb

Top eight Reasons to adopt a low-carb diet for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Earlier with Anne Mullens

Fighting Fat Phobia: Changing Fat from Feared to Revered Once Again

“A Light Went on for Me”

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  3. What to eat to get pregnant
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30 comments

Top comments

  1. vinessa Zorn
    The immune drugs that are frequently prescribed to women undergoing IVF do not improve egg quality. They do not magically make your eggs better and your embryos grow to blast stage. The article is about the effect of the ketogenic diet on egg quality and overall fertility. Stop bringing negative responses to an article that you clearly missed the point of.
    Read more →
  2. Brandi
    Jurgita aka Amanda-
    Can I just say that you are an extreme Stalker and obviously are completely obsessed with Charmine.. you should be more concerned about building other women up instead of trying to tear them down. This article is about Keto, not about what immune meds she did or did not do. Stop harrasing her and/or seek help for your unhealthy obsession with her.
    Read more →

All comments

  1. Charmain
    Thanks so much for helping me to share our story!
  2. Adrienne
    Went through the same thing...Dr.. Kiltz gave us our miracle....low carb for us too! What a blessing and a joy...God Bless you all?
  3. Andrea
    Was reading on Facebook groups this is not full story. Were you on some immune drugs too?
  4. Charmain
    This is a full story, the article clearly states I was doing ivf, no changes were made in my protocol between cycle 2 and 3 the ONLY change was keto. The comment your referring to is some who is jealous and wants to cause Trouble. I have always been very open and honest about my journey. This article is about diet and fertility not about investigational drugs. We are not meant to give medical advice. Thank you.
  5. vinessa Zorn
    The immune drugs that are frequently prescribed to women undergoing IVF do not improve egg quality. They do not magically make your eggs better and your embryos grow to blast stage. The article is about the effect of the ketogenic diet on egg quality and overall fertility. Stop bringing negative responses to an article that you clearly missed the point of.
  6. Andrea
    I have copied that discussion, saved it reading it now and do not see any jealousy in it to be honest. Unlikely someone who conceived herself could be jealous of someone who needed IVF for it.
    However, it does sound like her suggestion to update the article with full real story is reasonable.
    I read that article and was ready to jump into Keto right away. Sounded simply too good to be truth. But then I read the discussion, where you admitted you have been on Intralipids once a week (thats a lot), Prednisone (strong immune suppresant) and Prograf 2 mg a day (OMG - that is a very strong immune suppresant, as it is used for organ transplant patients) and Lovenox that is also meant to be anti-inflammatory.
    So I no longer believe that it is diet that made a difference. To be such a load of meds, all of which are reducing inflammation or providing anti-rejection properties. You MUST TEEL THE TRUTH.

    I have been through 5 IVFs myself. Each time egg quality was different and even today I can not tell what caused those changes. But I was never using those meds. I was on AIP diet however.

    I really think you MUST TELL THE TRUTH TO THE READERS.

    Reply: #9
  7. Charmain
    Thank you!
  8. 1 comment removed
  9. Charmain
    The immune medications were taken AFTER egg retrival not before, so they had no bearing on my embryo quality. The only difference was a ketogenic diet. Low carb is what helped me I am sorry your AIP diet didn't help you. The story is true. So please move on.
  10. Andrea
    Your commanding tone is not the most pleasant one, I'm afraid.
    The way I read it, your story is not about the egg quality, it is about you having achieved a pregnancy and successfully carrying twins and delivering them.
    Immune meds could have helped you carry the pregnancy. Yet there is no mention of them in the article.
    Also on Facebook group you stated that you had previous cycle with all the same drugs. Those drugs take time to improve egg quality by reducing inflammation. So it is possible that from previous cycle your egg quality was improved from immune drugs. Yet there is no mention of it in the article either.
    It would be only fair to tell the whole truth.
    Reply: #13
  11. Charmain
    Miya CanfieldHere is what happened for Canfield: for her first egg retrieval for IVF in 2015, she and her husband ignored the diet advice and stayed eating the typical high carb American diet. “I was addicted to carbs. I loved my potatoes,” she said. That first cycle resulted in 12 poor quality eggs being retrieved, of which 10 fertilized, but only eight survived. But when she went for embryo transfer all eight embryos had arrested in their development and no transfer occurred.

    For her second try at egg retrieval a few months later, “We did low carb half-heartedly.” That second cycle resulted in slightly better quality eggs: 15 eggs were retrieved, 10 of those fertilized and she had 10 embryos of which five were good quality and five were poor quality. But no pregnancy resulted.

    For her third cycle, she and her husband decided to fully commit to the strict ketogenic diet, cutting out all sugars, processed foods, and starchy carbohydrates. “We thought we need to see if this can work. It is now or never.”

    They ate keto for 90 days before the third egg retrieval, during which time Canfield lost 35 lbs and surprisingly eliminated all evidence of her previous chronic inflammation. On egg retrieval she had 21 eggs, 20 of which fertilized. By day 3 they had 17 healthy embryos, half of which they froze. The other half they let develop until day 5/6 and two made it. Those two embryos were frozen and three months later, with Canfield continuing to eat keto the whole time, the two were thawed and transferred. Their twins were the happy result.

    Clearly
    States the better embryo quality. Better embryos better chance at sucess... duh I was not on immune meds prior to transfer. Super hard for medications you are not on to make a difference in egg and embryo quality. Nothing was started until after transfer. And intermittent use isn't going to do anything for quality. No immune meds before my biopsy which showed chronic inflammation was gone.

  12. Leigh
    I also did keto along the same time Charmaine did (she was a huge help to me) I did not take the immune drugs because they would interact with other medication I was on and I had amazing results. I had more eggs and much better quality. I feel as though this was 100% due to keto. I had more energy my mood was better and I was able to handle stress better (at the time my husband was deployed and I was the sole caregiver to our teenager and I was doing Ivf with him gone). My embryos were better than Amy of my other cycles and I went on to have twins. Charmaine is not leaving anything out in this story she was on all the same meds before she did keto and fully committed to it and she did not have good results. Once she was on keto for 3 months she had amazing results and as a result her beautiful twins are in her arms today. What is the point in calling her out on this? She didn't leave out information she did keto and it made all the difference it was what she needed to change in her life in order to get pregnant and it worked. I did the same thing and it also worked this was not a coincidence this was 100% diet and lifestyle change related.
  13. Anne Christensen
    This article is about improving egg quality and increasing your chance of implanting embryos. Did you actually read or just skim the article? No need to be rude. The ketogenic diet is highly suggested by my RE as well. There are many of us working hard to have babies and the keto diet helps! Now go carry on :)
  14. Denise
    Maybe, Andrea, you are just reading into it what you want to read into it. Facts still remain. I'm also another Keto believer since I've done 5 IVF cycles. My first two, on Keto, I had 100% fertilization and good quality day 3 embryos (I did a 2day transfer my first cycle) My second two, not on Keto, 2/4, 2/5 fert rate and barely 4 celled on day 3. My last cycle, 6 months on Keto and again 100% fertilization rate and all good quality. Am I being misleading too? LOL
  15. Brandi
    Jurgita aka Amanda-
    Can I just say that you are an extreme Stalker and obviously are completely obsessed with Charmine.. you should be more concerned about building other women up instead of trying to tear them down. This article is about Keto, not about what immune meds she did or did not do. Stop harrasing her and/or seek help for your unhealthy obsession with her.
  16. Temaco
    Andrea-
    Your not going to believe her numbers unless you see for yourself. You have a dissenting opinion with the poster-but it's just that YOUR OPINION. Charmain is not selling anything. She is simply giving hope to women who month after month have been dealing with big fat negatives. Let the women have their hope. Women undergoing infertility will be discussing this diet with their doctor. Throughout her treatments, she took the same meds . The only thing that changed was her diet. If you know anything about keto, the whole basis is to remove the carbs and sugars from your diet which are thought to cause inflammation which casacade into a downward spiral of horrible health. I invite you to interpret my post with commanding tone because you are very misguided in your "logic". Please consult your doctor about what's right for you and stop playing doctor on this thread. Your "opinion" has been debunked to the point of tireless exhaution. Please move on.
  17. 1 comment removed
  18. Temaco
    Andrea-
    Your not going to believe her numbers unless you see for yourself. You have a dissenting opinion with the poster-but it's just that YOUR OPINION. Charmain is not selling anything. She is simply giving hope to women who month after month have been dealing with big fat negatives. Let the women have their hope. Women undergoing infertility will be discussing this diet with their doctor. Throughout her treatments, she took the same meds . The only thing that changed was her diet. If you know anything about keto, the whole basis is to remove the carbs and sugars from your diet which are thought to cause inflammation which casacade into a downward spiral of horrible health. I invite you to interpret my post with commanding tone because you are very misguided in your "logic". Please consult your doctor about what's right for you and stop playing doctor on this thread. Your "opinion" has been debunked to the point of tireless exhaution. Please move on
  19. Somer Mason
    Here's the deal. Keto is used before and during stims. That's when it would have had an impact on the eggs she produced. She had a better fertilization rate and more made it to blast than any other cycle. The only thing that would have impacted that is what she was doing when she was growing those eggs in her body and the only thing she did different was Keto. She was on no autoimmune drugs during that time. The autoimmune drugs were for transfer only. They would have had nothing to do with how her eggs fertilized or how many made it to blast. If you were interested in it, try it. See what happens. Eating less carbs for a few months isn't going to hurt you so what do you have to lose? Is Keto going to magically get everyone pregnant with twins, no. And she's not saying that. What she's saying is it helped her, and many other women who have commented on here, to have more better quality embryos. So if you've tried to conceive and failed or had multiple miscarriages, maybe it's something you can try IF YOU WANT TO. It's not mandated. No one is making you do it. I've seen many women have this same outcome and I've tried everything else that hasn't worked for me. So I'm trying this because what do I have to lose? If it doesn't make any difference, am I going to come on here and yell at people and call them liars? No. Because I'm a grown up that made a choice to see how MY body responded. It made a difference for others so for me it's worth a shot. If nothing else, I've already dropped four pounds in six days so it's done something for me. If you read it and don't like it or don't believe in it, kindly keep scrolling.
  20. Elma
    Jurgita/Andrea: you are absolutely intentionally missing the point and bringing up stuff that is totally unrelated as you are jealous. Since you want to blast people let's blast you for a minute. You're just a jealous spiteful woman. You think people should be telling your story of how you magically conceived without IVF and are upset the store isn't about you. You think because you did a different version of the diet and because you don't agree with keto since "our ancestors didn't eat meat" as you posted in several Facebook groups that somehow you are superior because you got pregnant after another diet. You also went on to say that you changed your diet but weren't in ketosis ever so why are you here? This is clearly a keto page! Just to bash people who don't agree with you? You had to have infections treated to be able to get pregnant and stay pregnant so how is that any different than someone using an immunosuppressant after implantation to remain pregnant? You just need to quit.
    I am proof that keto works. On my 1st IVF I had 13 eggs fertilize and nothing make it past day 3 all embryos arrested. 2nd cycle I didn't even have anything fertilize they disintegrated . 3rd IVF after 3 months of keto i lost 25 pounds and I had 10 eggs retrieved and finally had 5day blasts able to be frozen. I used immunosuppressants only after transfer for the first time with the last cycle but that isn't the point. The point is I had the best embryos out of any cycles and now have a beautiful 7.5 month old and frozen embryos still waiting on me. So please stop saying that it isn't the full story. There is no misleading info here. Keto resulted in better eggs and embryos. END OF STORY!
  21. Andrea
    I'm really glad that someone in the group highlighted this issue.
    Hope every smart person now will be able to realise what is truth what is not.
    It's a pity when someone (Charmain) tries to deceive everyone telling only half a story.

    Brandi, I am Andrea, not Amanda. I am not obsessed with anyone, in fact the she-ro of this article makes me wonder how true this whole website is. If this story is fake, how many more are.
    I have no respect for Charmain at all and I wish she would realise what she is doing finally.

  22. Rikki
    Andrea/Jurgita,

    It is one thing to have a differing opinion than someone else. It's a whole different thing to create an alternate personality to hide behind while you completely bash someone who's opinion is different than yours.
    Infertility sucks! It is hard enough to have to deal with it, but adding in your absolute negativity is helping no one.
    Charmain's point was that keto helped her egg quality which, in turn, led to her beautiful twins. You don't have to like her story, or agree with it, but you shouldn't be trying to drag her good name through the mud. She has been such an amazing source of support to so many others. It's too bad the same can't be said about you.

  23. Natalie
    This whole thing is ridiculous! Quit tearing other women down. Charmain shared her story (you don't need her entire protocol to comprehend this is about EGG and EMBRYO QUALITY) and she is INSPIRING others! Don't believe in Keto? DON'T follow it! But, it's becoming more and more recommended by RE's. Give it a chance to watch YOUR results! Until then, quit being jealous, negative Nancy's! And...MOVE ON! I've never seen such childish behavior just trying to prove a point. Bye, Andrea!
  24. Charmain
    I am not deceiving anyone..... you seem to not understand so here you go...
    October/November 2015-- first IVF cycle all embryos arrested between day 3 and 5
    January 2016---second ivf half assed keto.... primed for 30 days prior with estrogen and neupogen. Took lipids one time, 3 weeks of lovenox... low dose prednisone until bfn. Slightly better egg quality....slightly.... transfers all resulted in bfn fresh and frozen transfers. No embryos made it to blast.
    February 2016----laparoscopic surgery endometriosis and chronic inflammation found.
    March 2016- fet-bfn - NO IMMUNE meds...did try hcg boosters. Yeah that was hell.
    April-hubby and I started Keto
    May-keto
    June-keto
    July-keto---retrival was at the end of this month. Best cycle ever. Finally had eggs make it to blast. Those two are my now 4 month old twins. Had an endometrial biopsy done showed NO inflammation!!!! This is what 4 months after any immune med. hmm so tell me again how it helped my egg quality again?
    August transfer of those two blast resulted in my bfp this is when I started lipids again not until AFTER transfer.

    It's clear keto helped my egg quality! I did not continue keto once pregnant as I could not stomache it. Also clearly stated in the article.

    It took us 12 years of blood, sweat and tears for my miracles. Keto helped us. Will it help you? I don't know, everyone is different. One thing is for sure keto is amazing for your health overall, no matter if your ttc or not.

    I'm not concerned if you respect me or not. Your one hater out of what OVER 1200 shares. I have not held anything back. You don't agree that's fine but this is exshausting it's time you moved on and leave the rest of us who believe in keto and have proof that it works alone.

  25. Jessica
    Andrea I think maybe it would be best for you to stop right where you are. What all you are saying is uncalled for. It truly shows the type of person you are. I myself do the keto diet and feel so much better. I feel totally safe taking the prograf, lovenox, prednisone and all of the other medications to do whatever I possibly can to have a baby. I'm pretty sure you don't have the title Dr. in front of your name. I think you seem like a bitter person for some reason and there is no reason for you to take it out on here.
  26. Megan
    Can I just point out, keto wasn't part of her PREGNANCY as keto is not safe for pregnant women. Babies do need carbs... so trying to say keto isn't why she was able to carry and deliver her twins... is correct, congratulations! Also, this story doesn't claim she carried and delivered her twins due to keto, she has no prior pregnancies, and would not be able to compare a non keto pregnancy to a keto pregnancy (again, not safe)

    Yes, CNY Fertility OFTEN uses immune protocol to get AND keep their patients pregnant, because, as you can imagine, many of us that struggle to conceive also struggle to carry.

    Andrea- why is it so detrimental to you that she discloses how she kept her pregnancy thriving and healthy when keto was not part of that leg of the journey? Why do you feel the need to spew negativity over a story that has happened time and time again with the patients at this clinic! Charmain is a PERFECT example, because she has so very much negativity to compare this one positive egg retrieval to. Maybe just move on if you're so bent on pulling people down?

  27. Bob
    I hate to get all far-out conspiracy, but maybe, just maybe, considering it's the voiced agenda of many governing bodies globally, that it's a well thought out plan to reduce world population by advising people to eat fertility busting quantities of carbohydrate. A less aggressive method than forced sterilisation while making a tonne of money from fake food and medical supplies and intervention. That sounds like a win-win-win for all except us.
  28. Cassie
    I know this to be true Charmain, I had PCOS and struggled with 4 years of miscarriages and heartache before I miraculously had my first baby, she must’ve been a real fighter because my diet was terrible and I was awfully overweight. 5 years of no periods and no pregnancies at all, I went low carb around June 2015 and got pregnant in August 2015 and gave birth to beautiful healthy twins in March 2016. I’ve since had ultrasounds which show that the hundreds of cysts in my ovaries when I was diagnosed with PCOS are completely gone, they look normal!
  29. Charmain
    That’s amazing Cassie! Congratulations to you:-) love hearing keto help other women achieve their dreams!
  30. 1 comment removed
  31. Jess
    Can I find out, did you go full keto, or does it work with a liberal low carb diet?
    Replies: #32, #33
  32. Sammi
    Hi Jess. Depends on where you are on the carb continuum.

    If you have Insulin Resistance or diagnosed with real PCOS (As in a blood test not just an ultrasound) then you need to go full keto atleast until you are "normal" or healthy.

    If however you have no diet related issues or syndromes and your body doesnt have any physical reasons why it cant reproduce (eg fallopian tubes) then lower more liberal non inflammatory carb will probably be better than full keto. The body needs a bit of glucose for the Luteinizing Hormone to do its thing

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12519869

  33. Charmain
    Hello Jess:-)
    I went full keto! I tried doing just lower carb and wasn’t able
    To stick with it. Full
    On keto is what helped us:-) good luck in your journey!

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