Conducted at Worcester University Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular BiologyFound that a low-fat diet reduced testosterone levels in men by 10-15%.
Optimal testosterone levels are important for male health. Low testosterone levels increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease. Healthy testosterone levels are also important for men’s athletic performance, mental health, and sexual health.
Since the 1970s, average testosterone levels in men have declined and the proportion of hypogonadism (medically low testosterone) has increased. A low-risk diet may be a useful treatment for low testosterone.
This study was a systematic review and meta-analysis, combining the results of six well-managed studies with a total of 206 participants. These studies found that men were first fed a high-fat diet (40% fat) and then moved to a low-fat diet (20% fat), reducing testosterone levels by an average of 10-15%. Worst of all, the vegetarian low-fat diet reduced testosterone by up to 26%.
The authors linked their results to similar studies conducted in humans and mice. These studies found that high intakes of the monounsaturated fats found in olive oil, avocado, and nuts may stimulate testosterone production. However, omega-6 polyunsaturated fats, primarily found in vegetable oils, can impair the ability of cells to produce testosterone. This is because highly unsaturated fats, such as polyunsaturated fats, are easily oxidized and damage cells.
“Low testosterone levels increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.”
The authors stated that further research is needed in this important area.
Ideally, I would like to look at some more studies to confirm our results. But these studies may never come. Researchers usually want to find new results rather than duplicating old results. In the meantime, men with low testosterone may be wise to avoid a low-fat diet. “
Joseph Whittaker, Senior Researcher
Dietary fat is a controversial topic in nutrition, and proponents of different diets are often quite disagreeable (low fat and low carbs). The benefits of a low-fat diet, such as lower cholesterol levels, should be weighed against potential drawbacks, such as lower testosterone levels.
Traditionally, diet guidelines have focused on limiting fat intake, and current UK and US guidelines limit fat intake to less than 35% of total calories. However, as more research is done on the benefits of high-fat, low-carb diets, this traditional view is being scrutinized more and more. In recent years, high-fat diets have been shown to reduce triglycerides, lower blood pressure, and increase HDL cholesterol (also known as “good cholesterol”). And now, this latest study is increasing testosterone levels.
Whittaker, J & Wu, K (2021) Male Low-Fat Diet and Testosterone: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Intervention Studies. Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.. doi.org/10.1016/j.jsbmb.2021.105878..
A low-fat diet lowers testosterone levels in men
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