It’s not something many of us think of all that often, but there are foods and diets that cause low testosterone. In fact, the foods and diets that cause low testosterone are a regular part of many people’s lives. Most of us simply eat what we like; when we’re hungry we grab the food we want and rarely give any thought to anything other than taste. Let’s face it, know one wants to eat food they hate. If the food you’re eating taste like dirt, it’s going to be extremely difficult to make yourself consume it. However, if taste and only taste is the only thing you’re concerned with you’re more than likely going to create a problem.
Then we have those who are actually health conscious. Such individuals are actually trying to stay in shape, maybe they need to lose a little weight, and they are trying their best. Unfortunately, there are foods and diets that cause low testosterone that are seemingly healthy on their surface, but when hormone levels are taking a beating this is a problem. It’s easy to assume that if the food is organic or low in calories that it’s automatically good for us to eat, but this isn’t always true. Let’s take a look at the foods and diets that cause low testosterone and in doing so recognize what to eat so that we protect our levels.
Low Fat Diets:
Throughout the 80’s and 90’s, low fat diets were all the rage, and while these diets did reduce the caloric intake of many, unfortunately, they also crushed their testosterone levels. In an attempt to lose weight or simply live a healthier lifestyle, many fell prey to this fad that completely destroyed their hormone production. Other than vegetarianism, which we will cover shortly, of all the foods and diets that cause low testosterone nothing is worse than a low fat diet. This really shouldn’t be all that surprising; after all, cholesterol is essential to testosterone and cholesterol is generally found in fat based foods.
Many are petrified of cholesterol and its purported relationship to heart disease, but many physicians have begun to prove this to be an unfounded fear. Dr. Stephan Sinatra is one such doctor. Most doctors agree inflammation is the leading cause of heart disease. Inflammation is something all such individuals have in common, but high cholesterol is only shared by approximately 50%. When it comes to inflammation, high amounts of sugar consumption is the leading cause, this is undisputable. In short, cholesterol is more of a friend than sugar. Sinatra contends replacing your sugar, including foods that convert to sugar/glucose with fats and vegetables is far more beneficial, and we tend to agree.
High Carb Diets:
From low fat diets, we then turn to those who don’t care what they eat, and once again testosterone levels take a beating. Diets that are heavy in simple sugars will have a negative impact on your testosterone levels. You will gain more body fat, which will hurt your levels more and you provide nothing your body needs to help it run efficiently. If the bulk of your diet comes from food found in the center aisles of the grocery store, you aren’t doing a thing to help your health, including your hormone production. Many men who eat like this will also find their estrogen levels necessarily increase all the more damaging their testosterone levels, promoting inflammation and increasing the risk of heart disease. Carbohydrates should be kept to a minimum, only what you absolutely need, and when choosing carb based sources, choose from foods low on the glycemic index.
Then we have those that care but care too much, vegetarians or merely the extremely health conscious to their own detriment. Such individuals often consume large amounts of soy, which kills testosterone. According to the Journal of Endocrinology, because it contains phytoestrogens, soy will dramatically reduce testosterone levels. Further, it has been shown to also greatly increase Sex-Hormone-Binding-Globulin (SHBG), which is a hormone that binds our testosterone making it useless to the body. Then we have meat, and while there are other foods that will promote testosterone production, none come close to meat. When it comes to foods and diets that cause low testosterone, vegetarian and high consumption of soy may be the worst, but none of the diets we’ve talked about are all that great.
Beyond testosterone, some have argued that vegetarians live longer; however, there are no medical stats available to back this claim; in fact, it was proven false by Dr. Russell Smith in 1991. We do, however, know that low testosterone increases the risk of heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease greatly, as well as osteoporosis and diabetes. These are all good enough reasons to keep testosterone levels optimal, but that’s going to be nearly impossible following a vegetarian diet.
Other Important Notes:
- You will not protect your heart – see cholesterol discussion above.
- You will clean your body from toxins – there is no data to support this claim.
- You will decrease the risk of cancer – it has been found that vegetarians have a slightly less risk of breast cancer, but a greater risk of brain, uterine, cervical and ovarian cancer as well as Hodgkin’s disease and malignant melanoma.
Diets to Avoid – Summary:
When it comes to foods and diets that cause low testosterone, you should make an effort to avoid what we’ve discussed. Yes, it will take an effort if you’re already following bad habits, but it will be worth it in the end. Avoid the following:
- Low Fat Diets
- High Sugar, High Carbohydrate Diets
- Vegetarian Diets
- High Soy Based Diets
Food You Do Not Need:
Foods and diets that cause low testosterone, if you’re going to avoid a low level condition, it can largely be done by avoiding and limiting certain foods. Now some of this may come as surprise, some of these foods you’ve been told are healthy, but often what we think we know simply isn’t so. For example, bread; we’re told to eat whole wheat bread instead of white bread due to the nutrition found in whole wheat. Unfortunately, whole wheat bread isn’t good for your testosterone production. Any kind of bread converts to sugar once digested, and as we discussed early on this isn’t good for testosterone either.
- Bread: Limit all bread; there is no advantage to it in your diet. A little here and there won’t hurt, but it should not be a staple. Foods and diets that cause low testosterone, any that are bread based are not your friend.
- Bran Flakes: Heavy in fiber, an extremely beneficial nutrient; however, low fat/high fiber diets will reduce testosterone. Balance the two, fat and fiber. We’re not saying you shouldn’t eat bran flakes, but you shouldn’t be consuming meals comprised of this and nothing more.
- Soy: Let’s be clear, soy doesn’t necessarily directly lower testosterone, but it does increase estrogen and flip the balance between the two hormones. As estrogen begins to become dominant, often testosterone levels begin to go down. Combine this with other poor testosterone related choices and before you know it you have very little left.
- Alcohol: When looking at foods and diets that cause low testosterone, such a discussion isn’t complete without the mention of alcohol. Of all things we can put into our body, nothing may be as detrimental as alcohol when it comes to food and beverages. In fact, studies have shown 4-5 drinks can cut our testosterone levels in half! Studies have also shown that the mere consumption of 4oz of alcohol, regardless of the source, it can take up to 72 hours for the body to return to normal assuming no more alcohol was consumed.
Foods You Need:
The foods and diets that cause low testosterone are fairly straightforward, but are there foods that increase testosterone levels? The answer, absolutely! By consuming a testosterone friendly diet, we can increase our levels to a degree, but more importantly protect them from going too low. If you already suffer from low testosterone, it is highly unlikely you’ll be able to recover through food, but before you get to that low level state these foods can offer protection:
- Lean Red Meat (all meats will help, red meat the most)
- Whole Eggs
- Nuts & Legumes
- Natural Peanut Butter
- Olive Oil
– Consume plenty of foods that are high in B Vitamins and Zinc – B1, B6, B12, Folic Acid and Niacin should all be a regular part of your diet. You will also find supplementing with Viatmin-D3 to be beneficial as well as Omega-3 Fish Oil.