Bacon is hard to ignore
Is bacon birth control for men? A new study shows that bacon is not just unhealthy: eating one piece of bacon a day can negatively affect a man’s reproductive ability. Researchers from
The Harvard Health Institute found that men who regularly eat processed meats, such as bacon, significantly reduce the number of normal sperm. In addition to bacon, meat in hamburgers, sausage, minced meat and ham have a similar influence.
On average, men who ate less than one piece of bacon a day had at least 30 percent more motile sperm than those who ate more meat products.
The researchers collected information on 156 men. These men and their partners were undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF). IVF is the combination of a man’s sperm and a woman’s egg in a laboratory dish.
Extracorporeal means “outside the body”. IVF is a form of reproductive technology that helps women get pregnant if they are having difficulty fertilizing naturally.
Each of the participating men was asked about their diet: whether they eat chicken, fish, beef, and processed meats. The results suggested that men who ate more than half a serving of bacon a day had fewer “normal” sperm than those who didn’t.
Dr. Miriam Afeishe, author of the study, said her team found that eating processed meats reduced sperm quality. Afeishe said that very little research has been done on the relationship between fertility and bacon, therefore, it is not entirely certain why such a food has a negative effect on sperm quality.
Some other professionals say the study was too small to be conclusive, but that may be a reason to do other similar studies.
Fertility expert Allan Pacey of the University of Sheffield said eating healthy can indeed improve male fertility, but it’s not clear if certain types of food can cause sperm quality to deteriorate. Pacey says the relationship between male fertility and diet is definitely interesting.
There is evidence that men who eat more fruits and vegetables have better sperm than those who eat less, but there is no similar evidence for unhealthy diets.
Bacon is known to be hard to resist. Unfortunately, bacon, even aside from its negative effect on sperm, is not very beneficial in terms of nutrients.
The problem with bacon is high amounts of saturated fat and sodium. Saturated fat is strongly associated with cardiovascular disease, and sodium affects blood pressure. One strip of bacon contains about 40 calories, but since it is very difficult to stop after one, you can gain weight very quickly.
An alternative to regular bacon is tempeh bacon. Tempeh is a vegan alternative that many substitute for bacon. It is rich in proteins and many serious vegetarians prefer this soy product.
A study on whether bacon is a birth regulator was presented at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in Boston. Perhaps this study will lead to further exploration of the subject and provide stronger evidence. In the meantime, women should take birth control pills, as it is not clear whether bacon can be an effective contraceptive for men.