One or more sugary drinks — for either men or women — were shown to decrease the chance of pregnancy, a new study from the Boston University School of Medicine found.
The sugar found in sweetened beverages, like soda, accounts for about one-third of the added sugar total in the average American diet, an amount that’s been linked to weight gain, diabetes, low semen quality in men, early menstruation in women and, now, a greatly reduced possibility of conceiving a child.
“We found positive associations between intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and lower fertility, which were consistent after controlling for many other factors, including obesity, caffeine intake, alcohol, smoking and overall diet quality,” the study’s lead author Elizabeth Hatch said. “Couples planning a pregnancy might consider limiting their consumption of these beverages, especially because they are also related to other adverse health effects.”
For the study, published in the journal Epidemiology, the researchers surveyed almost 4,000 women between the ages of 21 and 45 and about 1,000 of their male partners on their medical histories, lifestyle choices and diet — including how many sugar-heavy drinks they consumed. They found that women who drank at least one soda per day had a 25% lower chance of becoming pregnant and male soda consumption was associated with a 33% reduced probability.
Drinking energy drinks was associated with even more severe odds, the study noted, but fruit juices and diet sodas had little association with fertility.
“Given the high levels of sugar-sweetened beverages consumed by reproductive-aged couples in North America,” the study said, “these findings could have important public health implications.”