A study found that Men who eat processed meat like bacon have poorer sperm.
1. Daily rasher of bacon can harm men’s fertility.
2. Eating bacon lowers sperm quality, study shows.
Hoax or Fact:
Fact with some missing information.
These online messages, also from the mainstream news, talk of a study to have found that men eating processed meat like Bacon daily can have poorer Sperm quality that can harm their fertility. Yes, it is a fact, but the said study is preliminary and further studies are needed to confirm it.
About the Study
Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health examined whether meat intake is associated with semen quality. They analyzed more than 350 semen samples from 156 men in couples who were suffering problems conceiving and attending a fertility clinic. They learnt about their diet and studied the size and shape of their sperm. The study was presented in October 2013 in Boston, at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s annual meeting.
The study found that men who eat lots of processed meat and foods like bacon, sausages, hamburgers, ham and mince on a daily basis have poorer sperm quality than men who don't. They found that eating processed red meat has a negative effect on the “sperm morphology,” i.e. the size and shape of sperm’s cell structures. The researchers considered four main parameters in rating the quality of sperm: the concentration of sperm, its motility, shape, and the sperm count. Certainly, having abnormal sperm can contribute to infertility.
The study also found that men who have a diet heavy in fish have healthy sperm and more of it. Men who ate the most white meat fish like cod, halibut had their sperm in better shape, and those who ate the most dark meat fish like salmon, bluefish and tuna had increased sperm count.
Dr Myriam Afeiche, from the Department of Nutrition, at Harvard School of Public Health talked about the study saying, “We found that processed meat intake was associated with lower semen quality and fish was to higher semen quality”. He added that it was not clear why such foods might negatively affect sperm quality.
Dr Allan Pacey, a fertility expert at the University of Sheffield, said, “The relationship between diet and men’s fertility is an interesting one and there is convincing evidence that men who eat more fresh fruit and vegetables have better sperm than men who don’t. However, less is known about the fertility of men with poor diets.”
Researchers believe that Bacon in United States contains high levels of pesticides and other substances that can interfere with hormones.
As reported by CBS News, the small study in Boston is considered preliminary since the findings are yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal. Dr. Myriam Afeiche said that further studies are needed to confirm the findings, and she isn't ready to make any dietary recommendations based on the research.
It is a fact that a small, preliminary study in Boston suggested that processed meat intake like Bacon is linked to poorer semen quality, and fish is linked to better semen quality. Further studies are needed to confirm this. Nonetheless, it is certain that healthy diets contribute to healthy sperm, and it is already known that high intake of processed meat is linked to other health issues. Not just for the sperm quality, a greasy bacon is bad for your waistline as well. So, to improve your sperm quality, we advise to follow a diet with less processed meat and more of white meat fish like halibut. But remember that consuming fish these days has concerns of Mercury Poisoning, and it is more so in case of large fish like Tuna. Also be careful about the kind of meat you are eating. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables can also increase your fertility and sperm quality.
Few other studies presented at the International Fertility Conference also suggested the importance of exercise to boost sperm count and quality. The studies found that men who head to the gym and carry on moderate-to-vigorous physical activity like Weightlifting for seven hours a week had significantly higher sperm concentrations.