Drinking one or more sugar-sweetened soft drinks per day could reduce fertility, both in women and men, according to a study led by researchers from Boston University School of Public Health. The study was published in the journal Epidemiology in January 2018.
The researchers found that women who consumed at least one soda per day had 25 percent lower fecundability (the average monthly probability of conception) than non-soda drinkers. In men, the the association was even stronger: male soda consumption was associated with 33 percent lower fecundability.
The researchers also found that consuming energy drinks was associated with even poorer fecundability rates, but this conclusion was based on data from a small number of study participants, making it less reliable.
Fruit juices and diet sodas did not appear to be associated with reduced conception rates.
The researchers surveyed more than 3,800 American and Canadian women aged 21 to 45, and more than 1,000 of their male partners. The study participants provided comprehensive data about their diet and other lifestyle factors, including their daily consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks. The women also completed a follow-up questionnaire every two months for up to 12 months, or until they got pregnant.
In an interview published on Boston University’s website, the study’s lead author said:
Couples planning a pregnancy might consider limiting their consumption of these beverages, especially because they are also related to other adverse health effects.
Earlier research has shown similar associations between soda consumption and lower fertility rates. For example, the researchers behind the Nurses’ Health Study found that women who were drinking two or more soft drinks per day had an increased risk of ovulatory infertility. This study found no difference between sugared soft drinks and diet sodas — both types of sodas were associated with ovulatory infertility.
A Danish study of pregnancy planners also found reduced pregnancy rates among soda drinkers, compared to those who drank coffee or tea.