October 16, 2013 9:56 am

How bacon and sausages are changing your sperm quality

Researchers out of Harvard’s School of Public Health say that eating even a single piece of bacon or sausage each day can damage a man’s fertility.

(Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

TORONTO — It’s been villainized  for harming cardiovascular health, but now a new study is suggesting bacon is also to blame for hurting male fertility.

Researchers out of Harvard’s School of Public Health say that eating even a single piece of certain processed meats like bacon or sausage each day can damage a man’s fertility.  Sorry, fellas.

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But if you’re in the business of baby-making, the study points to swapping your bacon breakfasts for fish like cod or halibut to keep sperm count strong and healthy.

Read more: Two components of red meat increase risk of bladder cancer, American researchers say

“We found the effect of processed meat intake lowered quality and fish raised quality,” lead researcher Dr. Myriam Afeiche told the Daily Telegraph in the U.K.

Her complete findings were published by the American Society of Reproductive Medicine. Read the full study here.

The study was based on 156 men in relationships. The couples were all patients at the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center to undergo in vitro fertilization treatments.

Read more: Red meat eaten daily increases risk of early death, study says

The researchers studied the men’s diets along with the size and shape of their sperm. Turns out, men who regularly ate processed meats — bacon, sausages, hamburgers and ham — had less healthy sperm.

Read more: Red meat eaten daily increases risk of early death, study says

But those who ate less than a slice of bacon a day had about 30 per cent more normal sperm compared to their bacon-eating counterparts. Then there are the men who ate white fish every other day — they also fared better.

The British Fertility Society was quick to offer some caution about the findings.

Dr. Allan Pacey, chairman of the BFS, told the Daily Mail newspaper that the study is small and it’s hard to accurately measure sperm size in the laboratory.

“The relationship between diet and men’s fertility is an interesting one and there is certainly now convincing evidence that men who eat more fresh fruit and vegetables have better sperm than men who don’t,” he said.

Afeiche said it’s unclear why certain foods might negatively affect sperm quality.

Read more: Is iron in steak to blame for risk of Alzheimer’s? Study suggests excess red meat bad for the brain

This isn’t the first study done by Harvard looking at male infertility. Earlier this year, the East Coast researchers alleged that young men who kill time watching TV on the couch may also be hurting their sperm count.

The recent research is also one in a library of studies pointing to the dangers of eating red meat.

carmen.chai@globalnews.ca

© Shaw Media, 2013

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