Trying to conceive? You may want to put down that Mountain Dew.

By Jaime Milan
Updated: August 15, 2018

Infertility is unfortunately common in the United States. According to the CDC's National Survey of Family Growth, 12.1 percent of women between the ages of 15-41 have impaired fecundity—meaning it’s difficult or impossible for them to become pregnant.

There are many factors at play when it comes to fertility, but a recent study, published in Epidemiology found links between drinking one or more full-sugar sodas a day and a decreased chance of getting pregnant.

Americans are eating more sugar than they have in decades—a large portion of which comes from sugary drinks. Drinking sugar-sweetened beverages has already been linked to weight gain and type 2 diabetes.

But researchers from the Boston University School of Public Health wanted to see if there was also a connection between the increase in sugar, and a decrease in fertility. So they surveyed 3,828 women—ages 21 to 45—and 1,045 of their male partners.

Participants took a diet and lifestyle survey, and female participants completed a follow-up questionnaire every two months for up to a year (or until they got pregnant).

“We found positive associations between intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and lower fertility, which were consistent [even] after controlling for many other factors, including obesity, caffeine intake, alcohol, smoking, and overall diet quality,” wrote Elizabeth Hatch, professor of epidemiology and lead author of the study in a press release.

The study found that drinking one sugar-sweetened beverage a day—by either partner—was associated with an overall 20 percent reduction in fecundity. And women who drank more than one soda a day had 25 percent lower fecundity, while their male partners had 33 percent lower fecundity.

Energy drinks were related to even larger reductions in fertility, but results were based on a smaller sample size, so more research will need to be done to draw a clear link.

The bottom line: Drinking the occasional Dr. Pepper or Red Bull may not seem like a huge deal, but if you’re struggling to conceive you may want to lay off the sugary drinks. Dr. Hatch said in a press release, “Couples planning a pregnancy might consider limiting their consumption of these beverages, especially because they are also related to other adverse health effects.”

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