Health & Fitness | July 13, 2016 9:00 am

One Thing You Definitely Didn’t Wanna Know About Fast Food and Male Fertility

We're gonna tell you anyway

One day soon, you will eat fast food.

And on that day, if only for a brief second, you will consider all the terrible things those over-processed foods are doing to your body. This much we already know is true.

But fast food’s most recently discovered bit of collateral damage might give you even greater pause: male infertility.

The claim comes from a team at George Washington University, who published their recent findings in Environmental Health Perspectives, a journal you will probably never, ever read.

So here’s the TL;DR:

By collecting data from the diets of nearly 9,000 participants, researchers found a strong link between eating fast food and a higher level of phthalates, a common high-production chemical compound used to make plastics more flexible, soaps less brittle, so on and so forth.

And while it’s widely used, it’s been known to cause a host of health problems including cancer, diabetes and most strongly, male infertility.

So forget about the actual food itself. This is about how your food is made.

As Robert Ferdman at the Washington Post explains:

“The more machinery, plastic, conveyor belts and various forms of processing equipment that food touches, the more likely the food is to contain higher levels of phthalates. And fast food tends to touch a good deal more of these things than, say, the food one purchases at a local farmers market.”

So what does this mean?

Basically, anything that’s been processed or industrially packaged is suspect. Which leaves you with … nothing?

Nah. Point is: if you eat fast food on the daily, you expose yourself to more phthalates, and that means calories are not the only count you should be figuring for.

Just chalk it up to just another terrible thing fast food does to the body.