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Fertility and Diet

Low-Fat Dairy Products Linked to Increased Infertility Risk

A new study found low-fat dairy product consumption is linked to an increased risk of infertility. A total of 18,555 premenopausal women from the Nurses’ Health Study II who attempted a
pregnancy or became pregnant between 1991 and 1999 were evaluated for the association between dairy products and infertility. Women who consumed two or more servings per day of low-fat dairy products had 1.85 times the risk for infertility. While total dairy product intake
was not associated with an increased risk of infertility, the majority of fat in dairy products is saturated fat, which is linked to increased cholesterol, insulin resistance, overweight and obesity, and other health problems.

Chavarro JE, Rich-Edwards JW, Rosner B, Willet WC. A prospective study of dairy foods intake and anovulatory infertility. Hum Reprod. 2007;22(5):1340-1347.

Meat-Eating Moms Have Less-Fertile Sons

A new study in Human Reproduction finds that a pregnant woman’s meat consumption can reduce her future son’s sperm count. Researchers at the University of Rochester in New York analyzed the relationship between various sperm parameters of 387 men and the eating
habits of their mothers from the Study for Future Families. The more beef a mother consumed, the lower her son’s sperm concentration. Sperm count was 24 percent higher in men whose mothers consumed less beef. The difference may be due to steroid hormones found in animal products. Six hormones are commonly used in the United States to induce increased growth and development in cows, and measurable levels are routinely present in the animals’ muscle,
fat, liver, kidneys, and other organs. Cattle raised without extra hormones still have significant hormone levels in their tissues because of endogenous hormone production, and the nutrient profile of animal products tends to elevate hormone levels in the human body.

Swan SH, Liu F, Overstreet JW, Brazil C, Skakkebaek NE. Semen quality of fertile US males in relation to their mothers’ beef consumption during pregnancy. Hum Reprod. Advance access published on March 28, 2007

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