What Eating Meat Really Does to a Man's 'Other' Meat

Eating meat probably won't leave you impotent in bed. But if you have a hard time maintaining an erection, it might be worth reevaluating your diet.

Groups that advocate for a meat-free diet such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) are quick to warn consumers about how meat consumption affects sexual functioning. This anti-meat campaign strategy might seem exaggerated, but there's research indicating that red meats can actually be bad for a man's "other" meat.

A 2015 study looked at how different lifestyle factors could contribute to a person's risk of developing erectile dysfunction. Among the findings, researchers determined that eating meals high in whole grain, fruits, and vegetables — and low in red meat and fatty dairy products — made it less likely that men would suffer from sexual dysfunction.

A separate study published in the journal Urology in 2013, which analyzed the prevalence of erectile dysfunction among Canadian men involved in a national health survey, determined that the risk of developing the disorder decreased by 10 percent "with each additional daily serving of fruit and vegetable consumed."

What's more, processed meat consumption has also been associated with lower sperm count, which could make it more difficult to fertilize an egg if you're trying to have a child.

But how much meat is too much meat?

There aren't any established guidelines dictating the amount of meat you can safely consume without putting your partner at risk. That said, if you're one of the 15 to 30 million men that are estimated to suffer from erectile dysfunction — and you eat a lot of meat — then it couldn't hurt to limit your meat intake.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends eating no more than 4 ounces of meat per day, including just 1.8 ounces of red meat.

If you've read this far and still don't feel compelled to reduce your meat consumption for the sake of optimal sexual functioning, here's a buzz kill for you: eating meat can be bad for your health in other ways, too.

Studies have found that red meat can raise a person's risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Just some food for thought.