A study has suggested that soda consumption may increase testosterone levels and testicle size in men.
The study, conducted by researchers at the Northwest Minzu University in China and published in the scientific journal Acta Endocrinol, set out to determine the impact carbonated beverages such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi had on fertility.
As noted by the study authors, previous studies have linked soda consumption to harm to reproductive functions, reduced sperm quantity and reduced sperm motility.
The researchers, who relied on animal testing to conduct the study, found the opposite was true when it came to testosterone, the male hormone produced mainly in the testes, and testicle size.
To test their hypothesis, the researchers studied groups of male mice. The first group drank only water, while the remaining groups drank varying levels of Coca-Cola and Pepsi, respectively.
Over the 15-day period, the scientists performed tests on the mice to analyse the effects of the carbonated beverage consumption, which included blood tests and weight and diameter measurements of the testis.
The study found that the testes of the mice that just drank Pepsi or Coca-Cola were “significantly increased on day 15”.
“The outcome demonstrated a high dose of Pepsi or Coca-Cola could promote testis growth and development,” the study authors wrote.
In addition to increased testicle size, researchers also found that “the concentrations of serum testosterone in all mice were enhanced after the Pepsi-Cola and Coca-Cola treatment,” which “indicated that high doses of Pepsi and Coca-Cola could improve testosterone secretion of male mice”.
“In conclusion, drinking Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola could promote testis development, enhance testosterone secretion, increase serum EGF concentrations …. Our findings provided the scientific basis for fully understanding [carbonated beverages] effects and their mechanism on development and reproduction functions of humans, but also benefit to prevent prostate dysfunction and cancer,” the study authors wrote.
Although the study suggested that males may experience increased testicle size and testosterone production as a result of soda consumption, the researchers reiterated that the findings contradict previous studies. One such previous study includes a survey of 2,500 men that suggested sperm quantity was reduced by 30 per cent when a one-litre carbonated beverage was consumed every day.
The researchers also noted that previous studies have suggested links between soda consumption and fertility. One study found that carbonated beverages are associated with alterations in hormones that affect ovulation.
The researchers claimed that, “so far, there has been little documentation regarding correlation between carbonated beverage consumption and reproduction function and fertility in humans and animals”.
Although the researchers said more research needs to be conducted on the link between soda and fertility, the study acknowledges that carbonated beverage consumption “may lead to obesity, cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes,” and that previous studies have indicated “health damage effects of carbonated beverages on adolescents and children were serious”.
The recent study comes after a previous study found that “massive consumption of coffee or caffeine increased testosterone production”.
As for whether you should consume soda, health experts recommend against consuming the beverages due to the sugar content.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, one can of soda can have as much as 39 grams of sugar, while the American Heart Association recommends no more than 25 grams of sugar per day for women and 36 grams of sugar per day for men.