There are many different reasons that men decide to go on a diet. Whatever the reason, dieting can be good for your overall health. On the other hand, some diets can impact something you never expected: your testosterone level. So, while you’re looking to reduce the numbers on the scale, you inadvertently may be lowering your overall free testosterone levels in your bloodstream, which can have unexpected effects on your body.
These effects might include loss of muscle mass, weight gain, reduced sex drive and other negative effects. The only way to be sure is to consult with a hormone replacement doctor to determine your actual testosterone level.
Sugar Can Impact Your Testosterone
Eating a diet high in sugars and refined carbohydrates results in sugar spikes, which can lead to a reduction in testosterone levels. Your body will process complex carbohydrates that include fruits and vegetables differently than it processes pastas and bread products. Your body will quickly digest refined carbs with a resulting release of sugars into your blood, which spikes your insulin. It’s this spike in insulin that leads to a reduction in testosterone.
Don’t Give Up Fats
Surprised? Most men are. The fact is most men think that cutting out fats from their diet completely will lead to quicker weight loss. But the problem is that testosterone is derived from cholesterol, which of course is from the fat in your diet. Some studies show that cutting your fat intake, from 40% to 20% of your diet, will significantly lower your testosterone levels.
The bottom line is to not restrict fats completely. If you replace the polyunsaturated fats in your diet with saturated fats, your testosterone level will be about 20% higher. So choose foods with saturated fats from quality grass-fed meats, coconut oil and red palm oil.
Forget Low-Carb, High-Protein Diets
Remember the diet revolution of the 80’s and 90’s, where dieters were eating high levels of proteins and very little carbs? Well, that diet is still popular today. But the main problem is it tends to lower testosterone levels.
One theory of the diet’s impact on testosterone is that glucose is required for releasing a hormone in the body that occurs before testosterone is produced. When carb levels are low, glucose levels are low, and ultimately so being testosterone levels. Carbohydrates are an integral part of a good diet and are necessary for both building muscle and for maintaining optimal testosterone levels.
Careful of Your Calorie Counts
Another testosterone reducer is a diet that significantly cuts calories. And here’s something else: the more calories that are cut, the more muscle mass that is reduced too.
Eat Out A Lot? Watch Out!
Finally, there’s something to be said for guys who eat out often. Sure, you enjoy a nice restaurant occasionally, but if your diet consists mainly of fast food meals, watch out. The culprit: phthalates. It’s hard to pronounce, but it’s a group of chemicals that you’ll find in food packaging and processing. These compounds are added to plastics to give them their ability to flexibility.
The problem is that they also have the ability to cause your hormones to go wild. And while additional research is needed, one study found that men who consumed large quantities of fast foods had phthalate levels that were up to 40% higher than those who ate fast food infrequently.
Phthalates get into your food thanks to takeout boxes, plastic gloves worn by food handlers and a whole host of food processing equipment. The answer: eat food prepared at home as much as possible. Studies show that home cooked dinners have lower harmful phthalates than fast-food and restaurant meals. If you want to keep your hormones are in balance, start cooking!
Image Credit: Jeremy Perkins | Unsplash