A shocking piece of misinformation has recently captured the attention of young people – it’s the idea that Mountain Dew, a popular, highly-caffeinated soft drink, could be used as an effective contraceptive.
If you believe Internet chatter, young people think that drinking Mountain Dew can kill sperm, or at least lower the sperm count of young males.
Some people feel that Mountain Dew could bring on impotence, and others think it’s a great, cheap method of birth control.
Keep reading and we’ll give you the real story.
So…. Does Mountain Dew Kill Sperm?
We’ll say it again. No, it’s not true. Mountain Dew doesn’t affect your penis size, testis or sperm in any way at all. However, some experts have stated that the high caffeine content in Mountain Dew (55 mg) versus other drinks, like Pepsi (37 mg), could affect your ability to perform sexually.
In another story, the coloring agent Yellow Dye Number 5 supposedly affects your sperm count or sexual performance. There is no scientific proof to this theory, either. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already confirmed that this dye is not in any way associated with side effects, unless someone is allergic to it.
So, does this mean that there is really more to the issue?
Can Caffeine Adversely Affect Sexual Performance?
Research has shown that high doses of caffeine may impact your sexual health and sperm quality. If you drink one cup of coffee a day, your sperm motility increases. However, the motility and density will soon decrease if you drink four or more cups of coffee a day and smoke one pack of cigarettes, too. This only implies that smokers need to worry about their sperm, if they also drink a lot of caffeine.
Ingredients in Mountain Dew
You can easily find out if Mountain Dew kills sperm by simply taking a good look at its ingredients. They include:
- High fructose corn syrup
- Carbonated water
- Concentrated orange juice
- Citric acid
- Erythorbic acid
- Sodium benzoate
- Natural flavors
- Brominated vegetable oil
- Gum Arabic
- Calcium disodium
- Yellow Dye #5
Keep in mind that the ingredients are slightly different in different countries. In Canada, Mountain Dew used to be caffeine free! It is now available with and without caffeine in Canada.
Food Dye Yellow #5: Is It Safe?
After looking more closely at the ingredients in Mountain Dew, the only ingredient worth worry is FD&C Yellow #5. This makes people skeptical about how healthy this drink is – or is not.
Yellow #5 is used in candy, drinks, potato chips and jams. It’s also used in pet food. Some medications and vitamins include it. However, Yellow #5 has already been banned in Austria and Norway, and some other countries in Europe have had warnings issued about the possible negative effects.
Side Effects of Yellow #5
To best ascertain whether Mountain Dew kills sperm or causes other issues, take a look at possible negative side effects of Yellow #5.
Some children have developed hyperactivity symptoms after regular ingestion of Yellow #5. In the UK, a warning was issued in 2o08 that some food colorings, including Yellow #5, could cause children to experience excitable behavior, or make them more impulsive.
In a placebo-controlled, randomized study, researchers in the UK discovered that food coloring is connected to hyperactivity for children. They recommend that children avoid or limit the consumption of any products containing those food colorings.
In studies on food dyes, the UK Center for Science in the Public Interest mentioned that there is not a connection between dyes used in food and cancer. The issue here is that the guidelines of the FDA concerning the number of subjects needed, and some requirements for testing, were not followed.
In addition, earlier studies have also not taken into consideration the high consumption of Yellow #5 and other food dyes by children who already are more sensitive to agents that cause cancer.
Yellow #5 may cause allergic reactions like asthma, for people who are more sensitive to the dye. These people usually also have a hypersensitivity to aspirin.
Other Possible Risks
A 2006 study discovered that if patients have sensitivities to drugs, they should be tested for tartrazine (Yellow #5) and only given medicines that don’t contain it. In addition, Yellow #5 is considered to be responsible for causing other health issues, including fatigue, anxiety, blurred vision and migraines. It could cause damage to chromosomes, but that hasn’t yet been scientifically proven.
Possible Mountain Dew Side Effects
As you can see, there are various side effects to Yellow #5. Because of this, Mountain Dew cannot be determined to be free of negative impacts on health. Even if the eventual answer to the question “Does Mountain Dew Kill Sperm?” is “no”, you may still wish to limit your intake, to avoid other potential issues with your health. They include:
Mountain Dew contains high amounts of sugar, which can cause obesity. This is connected to an increased risk of diabetes. Taking in too much sugar has also been linked to cardiovascular disease, liver disease and other concerns regarding health.
Non-sugar sweetened beverages may contain fructose or other types of artificial sweeteners, but they cause damage, too. However, cutting back on foods and drinks that are sugar laden can help in the prevention of issues that are related to obesity and chronic health issues.
Dental Health Concerns
Many dental professionals feel that excessive consumption of Mountain Dew could lead to what is known as Mountain Dew Mouth. This refers to the tooth decay that comes along with drinking excessive amounts of sodas like Mountain Dew. This condition can cause painful toothaches.
Brominated vegetable oil, also known as BVO, is a chemical additive in Mountain Dew that could have potential dangers. It comes from corn or soy and is then combined with bromine. It keeps the flavoring from floating up to the soda surface.
BVO is used in soda because it weighs down citrus flavorings so they mix better with sugar and water, but it also can build up in your body’s systems and lead to complications that include muscle problems, memory loss, skin lesions and nerve disorders. PepsiCo, who makes Mountain Dew, is in the process of removing BVO from Mountain Dew and their other soda products.