Saturated Fats Linked to Falling Sperm Counts



Saturated fats have been the bad guy for a while. Diets high in saturated fat have been linked to chronic disease, specifically, coronary heart disease. 

But the story just got a little more exciting. According to a Danish study, saturated fats have been linked to sinking sperm counts. New research to appear in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that young Danish men that ate diets high in saturated fats had a 38 percent lower concentration of sperm and 41 percent lower concentration of sperm in their semen than men that ate the lowest fat diets, according to MSNBC

The study followed 701 20-year-old Danish men who took medical exams for the military between 2008 and 2010. Researchers surveyed their diets three years prior to the exam. 

 MSNBC reports:

The men who got less than 11.2 percent of their energy from saturated fats had an average sperm concentration of 50 million per milliliter of semen and a total sperm count of about 163 million.

That compared to 45 million sperm per milliliter of semen and a 128 million count in men who got more than 15 percent of their energy from saturated fats.

The World Health Organization defines anything over 15 million sperm per milliliter of semen as normal. In the study, 13 percent of men in the lowest-fat group and 18 percent of men in the highest-fat group fell below that level.

The impact on the society as a whole is not known, but it should be said that Denmark's current obesity rate of 10 percent is low when compared to the U.S. rate of 33.8 percent.

A Brazilian study found that men who eat more grains like wheat, oats, and barley had higher sperm concentration and that men who ate more fruit had more agility in their sperm, according to the story


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Sara Novak writes about health and wellness for Discovery Health. Her work is also regularly featured in Breathe Magazine and on She has written extensively on food policy, food politics, and food safety.









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