Soy is generally known as the food of choice for vegans/people who want every meal to be a miserable, tasteless experience, often using bizarre soy "meat" substitutes. But soy really is everywhere -- if you've ever cooked with "vegetable oil," there's a good chance that you've cooked with soy. Then you have Asian cuisine, where soy sauce is used so often it's just sort of assumed to be present in every dish. And so on.
Soy also has the weird effect of making you live a terrible, humorless life.
In a Harvard study, scientists assessed the diets of 99 men who were having their semen analyzed at a fertility center, taking specific note of 15 types of soy-based foods. Even after accounting for age, alcohol intake, abstinence and other words beginning with the letter "A," the scientists noticed that there was an inverse association between soy food intake and sperm concentration, meaning either the participants were experiencing an adverse effect on their body chemistry or were ejaculating every time they took a bite.
This was not a minor difference. Those who consumed the most soy food had an average of 41 million sperm/ml less than those who didn't eat soy food at all. For perspective, the average sperm count is around 60 million sperm/ml, meaning significant soy intake could more than halve your collection of potential offspring.
Every slice is another stolen childhood.
It turns out that soy has a pro-estrogenic effect on your system, meaning it can increase estrogen levels in your body, which can potentially lower your sperm count. It gets worse if you're obese, which also causes you to produce more estrogen. So, a hefty gentleman who crams an excessive amount of soy products into his face stands at an even greater risk of lowering his sperm count. Which is a shame, because the world definitely needs to be populated with more fat vegans.
Simon Bower is a freelance writer and amateur comedian (read: unemployed). You can follow him on Twitter or email him.
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