Highly Processed Diet Linked with Lowered Sperm Count: Study

Results from a new study out of Harvard indicate that young men who regularly consume diets of highly processed foods have lower sperm counts than their counterparts who eat healthier, more balanced diets of whole foods.

Study overview

The researchers studied the menus and semen quality of nearly 3,000 healthy young Danish men who underwent a compulsory military-readiness medical exam between 2008 and 2017.


Diets consisting of plenty of fish, chicken, vegetables, fruit, and water — were associated with the highest sperm counts.  Diets of highly processed foods (red meat, chips and other high fat foods) were linked to the lowest sperm counts. Men who ate the highly processed diets had sperm counts between 8.86 million and 42.3 million lower than men who ate more healthy diets.


Reference: Nassan, F., et al. Dietary patterns and testicular function in young men, O-178: Session 51: Male fertility, epigenetics, the environment and lifestyle, European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology 2019 Conference.