When we talk about foods that lower testosterone levels, there’s generally a lot of misconception. People just don’t know what’s true and what’s not true anymore, and that misinformation can be a serious problem.
Three foods that often get a bad rap are
- Hydrogenated oils,
- Alcohol, and
But, are these foods really as harmful to your testosterone levels as rumored?
Let’s discuss the murky truth about the effects of three particularly controversial foods on your testosterone levels.
Foods That Lower Testosterone Levels — Hydrogenated Oils Do Lower Testosterone
Hydrogenated oils, also called “trans-fats,” are infamous for their health risks, including inflammation and heart disease. They tend to be very high calorie, and they seem to have little-to-no health benefits.
You will often find them in restaurants that fry foods on a large scale, since these chemically altered oils are far cheaper than a higher-quality option — think fast food and chain restaurants.
These oils will often be listed as “partially-hydrogenated” and should really be avoided as often as possible.
Most importantly for our topic, these oils have an extremely high content of testosterone-reducing PUFA’s (polyunsaturated fats).
In addition, they also cause more trouble by reducing the amount of healthy, testosterone-producing HDL cholesterol.
If you’re concerned about your diet’s impact on your hormone levels (or your health in general), you may want to steer clear of hydrogenated oils as often as possible.
Foods That Lower Testosterone Levels — Alcohol Can Lower Testosterone
Alcohol in large quantities is bad for our bodies in any number of ways, particularly for our liver.
Another negative effect is that, if consumed regularly and in larger-than-average amounts, it interferes with hormone and enzyme production — boosting estrogen and lowering testosterone.
Alcoholic men frequently suffer infertility and abnormally low testosterone levels.
But the defining factor is that phrase I used above — large quantities. Light alcohol consumption does appear to have a number of benefits.
What studies have found is that even 2-3 beers per day will not significantly affect your testosterone levels, so if you’re keeping an eye on your intake, you likely have little to worry about.
Foods That Lower Testosterone Levels — Soy Is Probably OK for Testosterone Levels
So, is soy one of those foods that lower testosterone levels? Soy has taken a beating in the popular publications on health and fitness because it contains a substance called phytoestrogen, which has a chemical structure similar to our bodies’ naturally produced hormone estrogen.
It was, therefore, suspected that ingesting large amounts of soy would suppress testosterone production in the same way that large quantities of estrogen might.
Scientific studies do not seem to back up the theory that soy is one of those foods that lower testosterone levels; though, of course, that can always change. For now, soy seems to be a healthier food option compared to many other dietary choices we might make.
By the way, the same appears to be true of flax seed oil and flax seed products, both of which also contain lignans, another phytoestrogen. The actual science, again, does not seem to confirm the concerns around these food products.
To say that more clearly, despite all the rumors and stories, the actual science on phytoestrogens says soy has little measurable effect on your free testosterone levels.
Here is an article we wrote previously which discusses the effects of soy in greater detail.
Basically, soy is probably just fine for you, and you shouldn’t remove it from your diet because of hormone concerns.
Foods That Lower Testosterone Levels — Truth and Rumor
What does all this mean?
First, the trends and rumors in the fitness forums, popular health culture, and the supplement industries may not actually be factual when it comes to the effects on testosterone or other hormones. Don’t be shy about digging deeper if you are really concerned and looking at actual scientific studies.
Second, take things in moderation — it’s always your best defence. Vary your diet and use common sense.
That being said, diet can aid and help regulate your testosterone levels to some extent, and, if your hormone levels are borderline, it’s possible they could be raised closer to normal levels through diet and exercise changes — here are some suggestions for foods that might help to raise your testosterone levels.
But, if your symptoms of low testosterone are severe and your levels are clinically low, diet alone will likely not solve your problem. See us for a consultation to find out if testosterone replacement therapy is the best course of action for your individual health needs.
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