Bad diet can affect sperm count, study says


By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |

Published: February 24, 2020 5:00:02 pm


junk food, reproductive health, men, indian express news Conducted by US researchers, the study found that young men who ate junk food on the regular had a significantly-less sperm count. (Source: Getty/Thinkstock)

Men, beware! What you eat is directly linked to your reproductive health. A recent study has found that a bad (read: everything junk and unhealthy) diet can affect your sperm quality and count, and even bring it down. Conducted by US researchers, the study found that young men who ate junk food on the regular had a significantly-less sperm count than those who ate healthy food.

For the study, the sperm quality of some 3,000 Danish men was analysed, keeping in mind their eating habits. Published in the journal JAMA Network Open, the study found that those men who ate a lot of pizza, burgers, fries and sugary foods, had a 25 per cent lower sperm count than those who ate veggies, fish and fruits. In fact, their sperm count was said to be around 167 million to the 122 million count of unhealthy eaters.

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In other words, between 2017 and 2019, the semen samples were studied by researchers, who came to the understanding that the median total sperm count was 140 million per ml, well within the normal range set by the World Health Organisation (WHO) — that of 40 million to 300 million. The respondents were divided into four food groups: western pattern, prudent pattern (healthiest), open-sandwich pattern and vegetarian-like pattern (low in meat). As mentioned before, while the healthiest eaters had a count of 167 million, they were followed by those who ate mainly vegetarian, with 151 million.

junk food, reproductive health, men, indian express news The study found that those men who ate a lot of pizza, burgers, fries and sugary foods, had a 25 per cent lower sperm count than those who ate veggies, fish and fruits.

While the western pattern comprises pizzas, burgers, fries, processed meats, energy drink and beer, among others, the prudent pattern consists vegetables, fruits, fish, poultry, water, cereal and eggs. The open-sandwich pattern predominantly includes Danish bread, cold processed meat, fish, condiments, eggs and wine, and the vegetarian-like pattern includes sugary drinks, energy drinks, grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, eggs, tomatoes, coffee, to name a few.

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The study reaffirms the fact that food is directly linked to the reproductive health of men. In fact, numerous other studies have shown that the quality of semen has deteriorated in many western countries in the last few decades.

Men who consumed recreational drugs, smoked, had a high BMI, or used muscle-enhancing supplements, were not included in the study.

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