Drinking Soda Daily Reduces your Fertility - Sue Ritchie

Drinking Soda Daily Reduces your Fertility

Woman drinking soda

Drinking Soda Daily Reduces your Fertility

If you are trying to get pregnant, you might want to cut back on soda.  A new study has found that it could reduce your fertility.  New research published in the journal  Epidemiology — finds that drinking one or more sugary drinks each day is linked to reduced fertility, for both men and women.

What Research has Revealed

The research revealed that drinking soda was linked with a 20 percent reduction in the average monthly probability of conception for both men and women.

Women who drank at least one soda per day demonstrated a 25 percent lower monthly probability of conception.  Men who drank at least one soda per day had a 33 percent lower probability of successfully conceiving with their partner.

A Further Study at an IVF Clinic

A study carried out at an IVF clinic was presented at the congress of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, in Salt Lake City. This study found that would-be mothers who opted for soda drinks with artificial sweeteners, or put sugar substitutes in hot drinks, produced poorer eggs and embryos.

While many people tend to think that taking artificial sweeteners is healthier than taking sugar, both options raised the risk of an embryo being found to have at least one deformity.

The Amount of Sugar in Soda Drinks

A 12 oz can of Coke contains 9.75 teaspoons of sugar – 39gms of sugar. The NHS recommendation is that adults should have no more than 30gms of free sugar a day.  So by drinking just one can of Coke you are close to the recommended amount of sugar per day.

Ah, but I drink Diet Coke so that is OK isn’t it? There isn’t any sugar in that is there.  No, it doesn’t have sugar per se. It has sweeteners such as aspartame in it and that does the same thing in your body that regular sugar does.

Studies have shown that it actually has more dangerous side effects than regular sugar, because it is a chemical. Many of the chemical sweeteners in diet soda, such as aspartame, alter the microflora in your gut in ways that promote insulin resistance. Women who think they’re taking in fewer calories because they’re drinking lots of diet soda are less likely to use good portion control when eating other foods. That’s one reason why people actually gain weight by drinking diet soda they end up eating more.

Drinking diet soda is also hard on your kidneys. Just two or more diet sodas a day can reduce your kidneys’ ability to filter your blood by 30%.

What is the impact on your body?

As far as fertility goes, excess amounts of sugar can lead to, weight gain, disrupted hormones, inflammation, an unhealthy gut, addiction and more. Your body then has to deal with these things instead of focusing on conceiving and growing a healthy baby and this has the effect of reducing your fertility.

Other things in soda drinks are not helpful to general health and fertility either.  There are chemicals, additives, preservatives, and food colouring. None of these are fertility friendly things you want in your body–before, during, or after pregnancy.

These are some of the key effects on your body that reduce your fertility

Gut Health

Sugar and sugar substitutes and the other unhelpful ingredients that are in soda drinks have a detrimental impact on the flora and fauna in your gut that make up your gut microbiome.

It disrupts the proper balance of good bacteria and encourages the growth of bad, unhelpful bacteria, because sugar is their favourite food.

All things connected to gut health

Having a well-balanced gut microbiome is critical to your overall health not only physically, but also mentally.  Not only is your gut 80% of your immune system, but 70% of serotonin (the feel good factor hormone) is produced in the gut. The gut and the brain are connected and they talk to each other on a constant basis.

Many of the key hormones are made in the gut. Not only does the gut microbiome produce hormones, it can also signal to the glands in your body, letting them know how much of each hormone should be created and released.

Your gut microbiota influences nearly every hormone in the body, including:

Your thyroid hormones

Oestrogen

Melatonin

Stress hormones like cortisol

You can read more about gut health and fertility in my article https://www.sue-ritchie.com/gut-health-and-fertility-connection/

Weight Gain

Soda is full of empty calories. This means they add calories into your diet without adding any nutrients. In fact, the refined sugar in soda actually causes your body to steal nutrients from its stores just to metabolise/digest it.

The problem with empty calorie is that they cause you to gain weight because they’re calories that don’t do anything.  They don’t nourish you, they don’t make you feel full.  It leads you to crave more. You then end up eating far more than you need to and as a result gain weight.

Another problem with sugar is that your body has to produce more insulin to deal with the sugar. It does this to manage your blood sugar levels. Insulin is a fat growth cell hormone so it can become a bit of a vicious cycle. Also, being overweight can make it harder for you to conceive. Fertility is boosted when you are close to your ideal body weight.

Blood Sugar Levels

When you drink sweetened drinks like soda it creates a quick spike in your blood sugar levels. This then causes a sharp rise in your insulin levels. Insulin is the hormone in our bodies that moves sugar into our cells so it can be used for energy.

The trouble is that because insulin is chemically similar to our ovarian hormones that help our eggs mature, and the ovaries confuse elevated insulin with their own growth factors what happens is that they down-regulate the production of reproductive hormones. This can potentially interfere with egg maturation and ovulation reducing your fertility.

Another negative factor that is related to having consistently elevated insulin levels, is what is known as insulin resistance. Insulin resistance can cause the cells in the ovarian tissues to produce too much testosterone. An excess of testosterone may cause abnormal hair growth, acne, and hair loss that is sometimes associated with polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS.

Dehydration

So how can drinking something make you dehydrated? It’s all fluid isn’t it?

The reason why soda drinks make you dehydrated is that they are a diuretic. This means that it will make you want to urinate more and you will lose water and salts from your body. Other drinks that are a diuretic are coffee, tea and alcohol.

young woman drinking glass of water

So when you drink these types of drinks you need to drink extra water to make up for the hydrating effect that it is having on your body. So how much more? The rule of thumb is that you need to drink an additional 1.5 times of water to make up for the dehydrating effect. So if you drink a 12oz can of cola for instance then you would need to drink 18oz of water. That is almost a pint.

The problem is that if you drink a soda drink because you are thirsty it isn’t actually helping to rehydrate your body. In fact it is having the opposite effect. Things like constipation, headaches, tiredness, dry skin are a few of the signs of dehydration.

What should you be drinking instead?

Filtered Water

Good filtered water is the best drink to be drinking whether you are trying to conceive, are pregnant or just wanting to keep your body healthy. Many tap waters have unhelpful chemicals and metals in them. Jug water filters are the easiest and cheapest option, but you can get under the sink filters too. They tend to be more expensive initially, but work out cheaper in the long run and are more convenient. The water is literally on tap 24 hours. Depending on the water filter system you use you generally only have to change the filter once every 6 or 12 months.

So how much water should you be drinking a day? The recommendations vary, but around 4 pints a day along with other drinks would be a good level to keep to.

How to Reduce your Consumption of Soda Drinks

Of course, if you are regularly drinking a lot of soda each day, it may be difficult to just stop drinking it. It can be addictive and is designed to be that way. So just start by dropping one drink of soda a day and replace that with water or another healthy drink. Continue to do that over a few days until you are no longer drinking any form of soda drinks.

Adding flavour to water

You can add flavour in the form of fresh lemon or lime or berries to you water if you want to zing it up a bit.

Herbal Teas

There is a wide range of herbal and fruit teas available today- camomile, lemon and ginger, three ginger, lemongrass and ginger, blackcurrant etc. Be aware that peppermint is also a diuretic. Caffeine isn’t helpful to fertility so replacing normal black tea with Rooibos tea can be a good alternative.

It is best to find herbal teabags that are not glued round the edges. Use the ones that have a string and are stitched with cotton. Also, organic ones are better for you than non organic.

Fresh fruit Juices

Juicing fresh fruits at home is the best form of fruit juice to drink. Many fruit juices sold in shops, even though they say they are natural, have a large amount of sugar added to them. So you really want to be avoiding those. Check the labels carefully.small bowl of fresh fruits orange, kiwi, strawberry next to 3 kilner glasses of kiwi, strawberry and orange juice

I know that when you are looking to becoming pregnant, you want to do the best you can for your own health and the health of your baby.  You will also want to increase your potential for conception as well, so I’d like to encourage you to think about that when you feel the pull to have a soda drink and say “No”.

 

If you are struggling to conceive and you’d like to have a chat you can book a complimentary Fertility Focus Session here. 

Take the Optimum Fertility Check

 

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