Eating Too Much Meat Raises Risk of Infertility in Men: Study

by Shelby Scott
(Photo by: Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

For all you aspiring dads out there, you might want to reconsider your meat intake—especially if it accounts for the majority of your meals each day. Yes, unfortunately, recent findings show that eating too much meat raises the risk of infertility in men. Read on to know how to maintain future dad status and how much is too much meat.

Specifically, the New York Post recommends men should limit their amount of chicken, beef, and lamb intake. So apparently, if you’re a pork connoisseur, you and your future babies are in the clear.

The research behind the claim comes from a study conducted at the University of Worcester. The study’s conclusion found that high protein diets decrease men’s testosterone levels by a significant 37%. In fact, health experts report in the average man, this kind of decrease signals medically low testosterone levels, not to mention decreased sex drive.

The study’s lead researcher, Joe Whittaker, explained, “In our study, high protein diets caused low testosterone, so it is very likely they also caused low sperm counts, which would reduce men’s fertility.”

Further, the study demonstrates that not only does increased meat consumption put men at risk of infertility. Low testosterone levels can also be linked to chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s.

Officially, the effects of increased meat consumption have been deemed “protein poisoning.” And if that’s not a turn-off (no pun intended), then I’m not sure what is.

How Much Meat is Too Much Meat?

For the study’s purposes, Whittaker and fellow researchers identified that people whose diet consists of 35% protein or more over the course of two weeks can lead to “dangerous territory.”

The findings consist of a diet numbering 2,500 calories per day. That said, 35% of that total would consist of 865 calories in protein alone.

While Whittaker said, “It could be safe for some people,” he did express caution. He emphasized, “it is not well studied, and what little research exists on it, strongly suggests it will do harm.”

Fortunately, most Outsiders shouldn’t have to worry about their protein, and therefore infertility risk, too much. The findings relate, mostly, to “men trying to put on muscle, and those that rely on a lot of protein shakes.”

Namely, Whittaker is referring to bodybuilders and weight lifters.

“Anecdotally,” he noted, “I have heard numerous men complain of mild symptoms of protein poisoning such as stomach ache and diarrhea when trying to bulk up.”

Meats like lamb, beef, and chicken definitely contribute to increased protein levels. However, the outlet reports eggs, fish, dairy, beans, and other high-protein foods can also inflate risks.

Statistics from the UK detail the daily protein consumption for men and women. Findings show that most of us are actually getting more than ample amounts of protein per day. In fact, the research even suggested many of us could stand to decrease things like meat consumption.

For men looking to start a family then, Whittaker suggests limiting meat, and general protein, intake to 15% to 25%.