One of the most commonly consumed beverages among Americans is soda. It’s offered at every restaurant, comes with every fast food meal, and is even included with every kids birthday party package. This is a beverage that is less than beneficial though, including when it comes to optimizing your fertility health.
Both female and male intake of sugar-sweetened beverages was associated with 20 percent reduced fecundability, the average monthly probability of conception. Females who consumed at least one soda per day had 25 percent lower fecundability; male consumption was associated with 33 percent lower fecundability. (source)
1. Phosphoric acid
The fizzy part of soda comes from phosphoric acid. Phosphoric acid can cause a flip from a parasympathetic state to sympathetic. Another way of saying this is it flips you from “rest and digest” to “fight or flight”. Digestion essentially can’t occur when you’re in a “fight or flight” state. Typically a soda is consumed with a meal, which means the nutrients from that meal aren’t being absorbed properly. Phosphoric acid can also directly interfere with the body’s ability to utilize certain nutrients that are already in the body, like calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc. These are nutrients that play important roles in fertility health. For example, zinc can have an impact on sperm motility and egg quality, while magnesium is necessary for progesterone production.
Phosphoric acid is also an ingredient in things like fertilizer feedstock, a rust inhibitor, and many household cleaning products, so this is not something you want in your body when preparing for pregnancy.
Most sodas have caffeine in them. Caffeine is a stressor on the adrenal glands. The health of the adrenal glands is very important when it comes to fertility. Even though they may seem unrelated, adrenal stress can negatively affect the thyroid which in turn can interfere with fertility. It’s like a domino effect.
The sweeteners in soda are a major offender when it comes to fertility. In one 12 ounce can of coke, there are 39 grams of sugar, which comes out to be a little over 9 teaspoons. Sugar is less than ideal when trying to conceive because it can contribute to conditions like PCOS, as well as cause an interruption in sex hormone production. With excessive sugar intake, the adrenals have to get involved by releasing cortisol. In order to continue to produce cortisol, the adrenals need to use a hormone called pregnenolone. This is a problem because that pregnenolone is also what’s needed to make reproductive hormones, but that won’t happen if the adrenals are constantly having to steal it.
Diet sodas are equally harmful as artificial sweeteners can negatively impact both egg quality and implantation.
A soda habit can be a tough one to break, but for the sake of fertility and pregnancy, it’s a good idea to reduce the soda you drink or stop it all together. These drinks have the “fizziness” that’s missed from soda without the phosphoric acid.
Sparkling mineral water – Adding in some fresh squeezed fruit juice provides a delicious flavor without the chemical flavorings or sweeteners.
Kombucha – Kombucha is a fermented tea that provides probiotics, but can also give you a little caffeine from the tea. (Some store bought kombuchas are still fairly high in sugar, though less than soda. Try not to drink a whole bottle in one sitting.)
Make your own fermented drink – There are many recipes floating around the internet for homemade fermented drinks that can take the place of soda. The bubbles in the drink come naturally from the fermentation.