If you’ve gotten a little sloppy with your eating habits lately, it may be time to include them – and not just because of your weight. A new study, the largest of its kind to date, suggests that a certain type of drink has the ability to significantly affect men’s reproductive capacity. Here’s what a team of nutrition and men’s health experts, including several from Harvard, found in a study of nearly 3,000 young men.
With the help of nutrition and epidemiology scientists in Scandinavia, researchers from Harvard Medical School, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston collected 10-year fertility data on samples from 2,935 healthy young men with a. measured mean age 19 years. The researchers’ goal was to understand the effects of sweetened beverages on semen quality and reproductive hormone levels, according to a study due to be published shortly in the journal Human Reproduction.
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As part of their method, the researchers asked participants to report their own four drink intake: sugar-sweetened drinks, artificially sweetened drinks (such as diet soda), energy drinks, and juice.
In conclusion, the team found that sugar-sweetened beverage consumption was associated with “lower sperm concentration, lower total sperm count, and a lower serum inhibin-B / FSH ratio”. (Serum Inhibin-B / FSH is a marker for sperm production.)
In particular, the young men, who most frequently drank a 7.5-ounce serving of sugar-sweetened beverage daily, saw an average sperm concentration 13.2 million per milliliter lower than non-users. As a reference, the Mayo Clinic states: “Normal sperm densities range from 15 million to over 200 million sperm per milliliter of semen.”
The study’s authors say that other lifestyle factors that may have influenced the results should be considered. But if their results speak to you, it may be time to recall those sugary drinks.
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