Click here to learn about how the Western diet, which includes high intakes of red and processed meats, refined grains, and sweets, affects fertility.
Over the past 40 years, the quality of human semen has decreased by 50% - 60%. One of the major proponents of this decrease is the rise of high-fat diets and obesity, both of which create and contribute to unhealthy lifestyles.
A recent study by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health indicated that men who eat Western diets may have lower sperm quality and testicular function than men who eat healthier diets.
The Western diet is a dietary pattern characterized by high intakes of red and processed meats, pre-packaged foods, refined grains, sweets, and other foods. The study used data from 3,000 Danish men with four different eating patterns: Western, generally healthy, vegetarian-like, and traditional Danish. The study found that men who consumed a Western diet had the lowest total median sperm count and those who consumed a generally healthy diet had the highest.
The Western diet also coincides with a series of other lifestyle factors which can affect fertility, included in which are physical health and exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals. A similar study found conclusive evidence that age, smoking, weight, and exercise have a direct effect on the fertility of both men and women. Diet plays an active role in weight and exercise, affecting general health and wellbeing, reproductive health included.