Junk Food Fed Gulls Become Sterile!

Not even wild animals can handle this ...

By on July 23rd, 2007 10:17 GMT
The fact that obese people have fertility problems is a well-known fact. Obesity raises the risk for C-Section, impedes breastfeeding, while these children are more prone to high birth weight and childhood obesity and chronic disease. More than half of the overweight and obese women get excessive weight during pregnancy. The same problem is also faced by our pets.

All these problems appear in our society due to our diet based on junk food, which is rich in carbohydrates (sugars) and fats (lipids).

But if you thought that junk food affects only human sex, learn what researcher Heidi Auman of the University of Tasmania found out: Seagulls gorging themselves on greasy junk food can also get overweight and have breeding problems.

Auman has discovered that silver gulls (Larus novaehollandiae) feeding on fatty scraps thrown to them from seaside cafes in Hobart have turned morbidly overweight. She has been comparing city birds to those from wild populations on the remote Furneaux Islands, off Tasmania's north-east, as part of her doctoral thesis for almost four years. "The urban gulls were about 10 % fatter and had higher cholesterol, which was leading to poor-quality eggs and a possible nosedive in their populations.", said Auman, who has investigated human impacts on sea birds for 20 years.

"The roly-poly gulls were still able to fly but the junk food was having the same effect on them as it does on humans."

Still, another Harvard research shows that fat shortage in the food also impairs fertility. A low-fat dairy diet inflicts anovulatory infertility, by preventing ovulation. Anovulatory infertility was found to present much higher percentage in women who ate only low-fat dairy products (like skimmed milk and low-fat yoghurt). The researchers are puzzled as other fat types than the ones to be found in diary products do not have the same effect.

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