Vegetarians and vegans may be harming their chance of having children after a study found that men who do not eat meat have significantly reduced sperm counts. Although a diet that is rich in fruit and vegetables can protect against many illnesses and can prolong life, it appears that it may also harm fertility.

Researchers at Loma Linda University Medical School, in southern California, embarked on a four-year project to find out how diets affect sperm. The region has a high population of Seventh-Day Adventist Christians who believe that meat is impure and so are strict vegetarians. Seventh-day Adventists live an average of 10 years longer than the American life expectancy of about 79 years and the researchers wanted to find out if their astonishing longevity might be linked to sperm quality.

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