Study: Saturated fats tied to falling sperm counts

Updated 08 January 2013
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Study: Saturated fats tied to falling sperm counts

COPENHAGEN: Saturated fats, like those found in rich cheeses and meats, may do more than weigh men down after a meal — A Danish study also links them to dwindling sperm counts.
Researchers, whose report appeared in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that young Danish men who ate the most saturated fats had a 38 percent lower concentration of sperm, and 41 percent lower sperm counts in their semen, than those who ate the least fat. “We cannot say that it has a causal effect, but I think other studies have shown that saturated fat intake has shown a connection to other problems and now also for sperm count,” said Tina Jensen, the study’s lead author from Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen, the Danish capital.
The research is not the first to connect diet and other lifestyle factors to sperm production and quality. In 2011, Brazilian researchers found that eating more grains — such as wheat, oats or barley — was associated with improved sperm concentration and mobility, and fruit was also linked to a speed and agility boost in sperm. But that study and most others looked at these associations using data on men seeking fertility treatments, which may not be representative of all men. For their study, Jensen and her colleagues surveyed and examined 701 young Danish men who were about 20 years old and getting checkups for the military between 2008 and 2010.
They were asked about the food they ate over the prior three months, and then asked for a semen sample. The researchers then broke the results into four groups, depending on how much of the men’s energy intake came from saturated fats, and compared how much sperm the men in each group produced.



The men who got less than 11.2 percent of their energy from saturated fats had an average sperm concentration of 50 million per milliliter of semen and a total sperm count of about 163 million.
That compared to 45 million sperm per milliliter of semen and a 128 million count in men who got more than 15 percent of their energy from saturated fats.
The World Health Organization defines anything over 15 million sperm per milliliter of semen as normal. In the study, 13 percent of men in the lowest-fat group and 18 percent of men in the highest-fat group fell below that level.
Although the study cannot determine whether other lifestyle factors might account for the link, Jensen said her team’s findings may partially explain studies that have found sperm counts decreasing around the world.


Dhaka relishes traditional ‘Dhakaia iftar’ in Ramadan

Chawak Bazar Iftar market vendors on a busy Wednesday afternoon. (AN photo)
Updated 24 May 2018
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Dhaka relishes traditional ‘Dhakaia iftar’ in Ramadan

  • While much has changed in Dhaka, its tasty Ramadan dishes have stayed the same in the 400-year old city established by the Mughal dynasty.
  • The exquisite variety of kebabs attracts food lovers from far and wide, reminding them of the existence of Mughals through different food menus — offering tikka, shutli, jaali, shami, irani and other kinds of kebabs.

DHAKA: “To me it’s like a festival. During Ramadan, all of us friends regularly gather at my house and have the ‘Dhakaia Iftar’ together,” said Abdullah Alamin, 48, a city dweller of old Dhaka.

While much has changed in Dhaka, these tasty dishes have stayed the same in the 400-year old city established by the Mughal dynasty.

“Chawak Bazar Iftar market of old Dhaka has a history of more than 100 years. Many things of the area have changed with the passage of time but the Chawak Bazar Iftar remains unchanged,” said renowned historian Muntasir Mamun, a professor at Dhaka University.

Chawak Bazar became the city center of Dhaka during the Mughal regime in the early-16th century. The iftar bazar is a continuity of the retail market set up since then, Muntasir said.

During Ramadan, people from all over Dhaka get something more to add to their regular iftar menu.

In Chawak Bazar, vendors in makeshift shops offer a variety of iftar items. These include “boro baper polai khai” (only the son of an influential father eats this), shahi jilapi, shahi paratha, beef, chicken, mutton, pigeon, quail roast, keema roll, keema paratha, doi bora, borhani.

The exquisite variety of kebabs attracts food lovers from far and wide, reminding them of the existence of Mughals through different food menus — offering tikka, shutli, jaali, shami, irani and other kinds of kebabs.

Boro baper polai khai is the most popular iftar item among the locals. People from old Dhaka can simply not complete their iftar without having a piece of it. This is an exclusive food of the city made of chicken, minced meat, potatoes, brain, chira, egg, spices and ghee.

“This is a traditional food of old Dhaka. I saw my grandfather enjoying eating boro baper polai khai,” said Hajji Joinal Molla, 79, who has been living in the Lalbag area of old Dhaka for many years.

“We love to treat our special guests with this dish,” Joinal said.

Most of the 200 vendors at the market are second- or third-generation businesses. 

“My 11-year-old son is very fond of shami kebab at Chawak Bazar. Today he has invited some of his friends to our house, which brought me here to this iftar market,” said Shamsuddin Ahmed, 55, a resident of Uttara, new Dhaka.

“These traditional Iftar items have become an integral part of our iftar culture,” Shamsuddin said.