If you're actively trying to get pregnant, you might want to give up sweetened drinks for a while. A new study from the Boston University School of Public Health finds that, in addition to causing issues like diabetes and obesity, soda affects fertility: drinking one or more sugar-sweetened drinks per day decreases the chance of getting pregnant, and it doesn't matter who is doing the drinking.
Infertility is a source of mental, physical, and financial stress for so many people across the country. About 15 percent of couples in North America experience fertility problems; each year, more than $5 billion is spent for fertility treatments in the U.S. healthcare system.
"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," says lead author Elizabeth Hatch, professor of epidemiology.
The study followed 3,828 women between the ages of 21 to 45 living in the United States or Canada and 1,045 of their male partners. At the beginning of the study, participants completed a baseline survey that detailed their medical history, lifestyle, and diet. The women completed follow-up surveys every two months for a year, or until they got pregnant.
The survey asked about how many of certain types of drinks the participants consumed, including soft drinks, diet soda, fruit juice, energy drinks, and sports drinks.
Both female and male consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks was associated with an overall 20 percent reduced fecundability (the average monthly probability of conception). Drinking soda resulted in at least a 25 percent lower probability of conceiving during that month, while men had 33 percent lower fecundability.
Energy drinks had an even more significant effect on fertility, though the results were based on a small number of people within the group so the results aren't conclusive yet. According to the new research, drinking fruit juice and diet sodas did not seem to cause lower rates of fertility. The bottom line on drinking sugary drinks while trying to get pregnant?
"Couples planning a pregnancy might consider limiting their consumption of these beverages, especially because they are also related to other adverse health effects," said Hatch.