Man’s Diet Can Dramatically Affect His Fertility


WARNING:  Bacon is NOT Birth Control!!

A Harvard School of Public Health study found that men who “eat lots processed meat such as bacon and sausage” have 30% fewer normal sperm than men who didn’t.  Processed meats had an adverse affect on the quality of the sperm of more than 250 samples from 156 men in “subfertile couples” who went to a specific fertility center and answered questions regarding their diets. The scientists, who analyzed the data, determined that eating processed red meat resulted in abnormal size and shape of sperm’s cell structures, which can contribute to infertility. Even one slice of bacon or sausage link per day can deform sperm, they concluded. The findings were presented recently in Boston at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine‘s annual meeting and published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, as reported by LAWeekly.

Unknown-3Dr. Jorge Chavarro, one of the study’s researchers, told the New York Daily News, that the way meat is produced in the United States is concerning in regard to infertility in this country. “Many beef producers give cattle natural or synthetic hormones to stimulate growth, a few days or weeks before the animals are killed. We wanted to examine how these hormones might affect people who consume them.” The study accounted for other factors such as age, body mass index, abstinence interval, prior fertility evaluation, smoking status, race and caloric intake.


The hormones shot into livestock may not be the only culprit when it comes to meat and infertility.  A Danish study links the saturated fats found in meat, cheese and other dairy products to “dwindling sperm counts,” as reported by an earlier article in the New York Daily News.  This report, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that “young Danish men who ate the most saturated fats in the study had a 38% lower concentration of sperm and 41% lower sperm counts that those who ate the least fat.”  The researchers in the study said that their findings may partially explain decreasing sperm counts around the world. Tina Jenson, the study’s lead author, said that the “next step is to find the mechanism by which saturated fat could influence sperm count and then to see whether sperm counts improve when men cut down on saturated fat in their diets.”

Unknown-2A UCLA study from their Fielding School of Public Health, found that  men who ate walnuts every day can boost the quality of their sperm, as reported by the New York Daily News.  The research involved 117 health men between the ages of 21 and 35 and their sperm samples at the beginning and end of a 12-week study. Half of the men were instructed to eat around a half cup of walnuts a day as part of their usual diets. After 12 weeks, the walnut consumers showed improved quality in their sperm, while the non-walnut eaters did not. Even better, the walnut-eating men whose sperm were the weakest swimmers at the beginning of the study improved the most.

According to scientist, Dr. Wendie Robbins, “walnuts are the only nuts with appreciable levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to better sperm quality in prior research.” Even though eating fish will provide omega-3 fatty acids also, why not avoid the possible pollutants and contaminants found in many fish and consume walnuts instead?

Click here to learn more about the vegan sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids and which fish may be too toxic to consume!


In 2011, a study in Brazil found that eating more grains, like wheat, oats and barley, was associated with improved sperm concentration and mobility, as reported by FoxNew.com. Also, researchers found that fruit was linked to a boost in speed and agility of sperm.  The study concluded that the chances of a successful in-vitro fertilization increase if men consume a diet not only high in fruit and grains, but low in red meat. Alcohol, coffee and smoking were all linked to a lower chance of fertilization. Evidence is steadily mounting that what a man eats, as well as his lifestyle, affects his fertility. The article quotes Lynn Westphal, a women’s health and fertility specialist at the Stanford University Medical Center, as saying “that most of the emphasis tends to be on making sure the woman is as healthy as possible…this is really interesting data that lifestyle factors for men, even when you’re doing ICSI, (intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection) are significant.”


From the standpoint of Vegan American Princess, we would never to presume to provide a miracle cure for readers’ issues with infertility but when potentially important studies are presented and supported by medical evidence, we want to share that information with you.  We haven’t read any information that says eating processed meat is actually good for you, but it is interesting to note that it can have an adverse affect on a man’s fertility. Hypothetically speaking, if my husband was having fertility problems and he was made aware of these studies by our doctors, why wouldn’t he give up or drastically reduce his consumption of meat, especially processed meat, alcohol and coffee, and increase his intake of walnuts, fruits and grains? People go to such great lengths and sacrifice to conceive a child—these adjustments seem like they would be well worth it, not to mention that healthier mommies and daddies may result, to boot! A healthy lifestyle for the man seems to be as important as for the woman, which was not believed to be the case, previously. We are very fortunate to be able to have access to this information and it is our privilege to be able to share it with you.


We would love to hear your comments about your experiences and how you feel about this very emotional topic.

Click here for a recipe to get more walnuts into your life from Vegan American Princess


Click here to learn more about the vegan sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids and which fish may be too toxic to consume!

• • • • •

Click to read the Fertility and Sterility report of the study on processed meat and sperm quality

Click to read the article in LA Weekly 

Click to read the article about processed meats in the New York Daily News

Click to read about the Danish study in the New York Daily News

Click to read the report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Click to read the article about walnuts in the New York Daily News

Click to read about the Brazilian study on FoxNew.com

xox Ellen



  1. My testosterone levels are 3 times higher since I became a vegan. My cardiologist says this is typical of his male patients who switch to a vegan diet.

  2. Sounds like something I should research for this blog! Did your cardiologist know specifically what the cause and effect is? It seems like the combination of giving up animal-based foods and increasing whole plant-based food is like dynamite!

  3. Christiana says:

    Thank you for posting on such an interesting and significant article. I will definitely be sharing this. In Utah, where I live, there is a high rate of infertility. Utah also has the highest rate of autism in the country (1 in 47). We have poor air quality due to several factors, but I also believe people’s diets contribute to health conditions such as the ones mentioned. Very fascinating scientific research findings.

    • You’re welcome Christiana! We are so glad that people are making the strong connection between health and diet. I was unaware of those infertility and autism statistics in Utah. Ugh! Hopefully, more people will wake up and change their diets. Thanks for visiting our site, and for your insightful comment!

  4. Wow that was strange. I just wrote an really long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t
    appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyhow, just wanted to say superb blog!

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