Cola lovers beware as a new study claimed that having a litre or more of cold drinks daily adversely affects male fertility and decreases the sperm count by almost 30 per cent.
"It's important to note that the men who drank a lot of cola were also different in many other ways," said Tina Kold Jensen who led the research. Stating that only a few studies have looked at caffeine's impact on reproductive health in men, Jensen said that the team decided to study the affect as Danish youth has been increasing their consumption of caffeine-containing soft drinks over the last decades.
According to researchers from Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark, the affect is unlikely due to caffeine, as coffee did not have the same effect, even though its caffeine content is higher.
Instead, other ingredients in the beverage or an unhealthy lifestyle could be behind it, the Telegraph reported.
For their research, the team studied more than 2,500 young men. They found that those men who didn't drink cola had better sperm quality averaging 50 million sperm per millilitre semen and tended to have a healthier lifestyle. In contrast, the 93 men who drank more than one litre of cola a day had only 35 million sperm per millilitre.
They also ate more fast foods, and less fruit and vegetables.
When looking at caffeine from other sources, such as coffee and tea, the decrease in sperm quality was much less pronounced, the researchers note in the American Journal of Epidemiology. It is still not clear if the cola or the unhealthy lifestyle, or both, is to be blamed. While the sperm counts would be considered normal by the World Health Organisation, men with fewer sperm generally have a higher risk of being infertile, the report said.