Real Men Drink Low Fat Milk
It is obvious that if you think about the source of milk, milk contains female hormones. They are not powerful, but they certainly are present, and they become a source of estrogen in the diet of many people. It is natural to wonder if then if this could lower the sperm count and motility in men.
A Harvard study published recently in Fertility and Sterility, evaluated the diet history of a group of men and compared men who regularly ingested full fat versus low fat milk. The subjects’ diets were also studied, comparing a “prudent pattern” diet of fish, low fat diet, fruit, vegetables, whole grain to the Western diet. The Western diet, a much maligned diet pattern, contained processed and red meat, fried fish, butter, margarine, full fat dairy, french fries, refined grains, pizza, snack, high energy drinks, mayonnaise and sweets. They found that there was a drop in fertility in this group of men who were 36 years of age in an infertility clinic.
Low fat dairy, particularly low fat milk was related to higher sperm concentration and motility. Cheese intake was also noted to be deleterious to sperm concentration, particularly among past or current smokers. So, real men should drink low fat milk. As far as I could tell from the study, the other elements of the diet pattern did not correlate with sperm parameters.
This is reassuring. Often men ask their infertility specialist if they can do anything to their diet, and, based on this study, a Western diet is not a bad thing for male fertility. And of course, make the choice to drink low fat milk instead of whole milk. However, obesity in men is another topic altogether, with definite risk factors related to sperm quality and obesity, which we will cover in another post.