Your afternoon soda may perk you up, but it likely has the opposite effect on your mini me. And yes, to be clear, we’re talking about your penis. According to a new study out of Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark, sipping fizzy drinks could diminish sperm count and increase the chances of developing erectile dysfunction.
To come to this finding, the researchers took sperm samples from 2,554, 18-year-old men that were undergoing physical fitness exams for the military. They found that those who drank a liter or more of soda per day had 30 percent less sperm than those who didn’t drink it at all. Their sperm count was still in a healthy range but on the brink of being too low. The scariest part: Over time, lower levels of sperm can result in erectile dysfunction. So what makes Coke such a threat to your manhood? The researchers aren’t completely sure, but they were able to rule out caffeine as the culprit. (Study participants who drank tea or coffee didn’t have lower sperm counts.) One theory is that it’s not just the soda that’s to blame, but the overall quality of soda drinker’s diets. After digging through the data, it became clear to the researchers that the cola drinkers ate far more fast food and fewer fruits and veggies than those who didn’t sip the stuff.
Feeling inspired to cut back on the cola? We thought you might be, which is why we hunted down these 15 New Drinks That Make it Easy to Quit Soda! And to err on the side of caution, you might also want to limit your consumption of fast food—especially if you’d like to start a family one day.