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Testosterone Killing Foods: Benefits & Risks

Testosterone Killing Foods: Benefits & Risks
Dr. Constance Odom, MD Picture of Dr. Constance Odom, MD

Medically reviewed by

Written by our editorial team.

Last Edited 8 min read

Everyone knows that dairy products are good for your bones and that mint gives you fresh breath. But did you also know that these foods can decrease testosterone levels?

It’s true. Current research has found that a number of foods, including dairy, mint, and white bread, can lower testosterone levels, making it difficult to carry out functions that are vital to male health. 

Studies have found that mint increases estrogen levels, which may explain why it is believed to lower testosterone levels. If you are worried that the foods you eat are decreasing your testosterone levels, you can do a number of things. Experts assert that exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight can help you boost testosterone levels

Of course, it is first important to understand what testosterone is. Testosterone is the male sex hormone that’s responsible for muscle mass, body mass, and reproduction. Under normal circumstances, the body maintains healthy testosterone levels and balances hormones. Unfortunately, though, there are a number of foods that disrupt this metabolic process. So, what foods lower testosterone? 

According to experts, it is important to avoid foods that lower testosterone, if you want to boost your testosterone levels. 

Soy products

Although there are conflicting opinions, many people believe that soy lowers testosterone levels. While soy supports good health through its high protein content, it may also hurt this crucial male hormone. Soy is usually good, because it supports good bone health and reduces your risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and certain forms of cancer. 

However, there is speculation that soy affects testosterone. Soy contains high concentrations of phytoestrogens, which have many of the effects of estrogen. When consumed, the phytoestrogens in soy increase estrogen levels. Other phytoestrogens in soy have the ability to decrease estrogen levels. Edamame and flax seeds are also high in soy, so it is best to avoid these as well.

Not only does soy lower testosterone levels in men; it can also lead to infertility and potentially, excessively large breasts in men. 

Alcohol

While many people enjoy an alcoholic beverage on occasion, it’s important to remember that alcohol has a negative effect on testosterone levels. Consuming alcohol causes testosterone levels in the blood to drop. Additionally, alcohol compromises the functioning of testicular Sertoli cells. Testicular Sertoli cells are essential to the proper production of sperm. 

Alcohol consumption affects cells that are essential to maturing sperm. Consuming alcohol can also result in other problems for men. These include testicular atrophy. This is most likely the result of alcohol’s negative effects on the testes, follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), and luteinizing hormone (LH). 

Mint

Peppermint and spearmint tea have many benefits on your health, but a growing body of evidence has found that the menthol mint contains can lower testosterone levels. That’s not to say you should avoid it completely, but men who want to raise their testosterone should proceed with caution.

 One study found that spearmint essential oil lowered testosterone levels in lab rats. Studies have also found that mint reduces testosterone levels in women with PCOS.

Desserts and pastries

Studies have found that a diet that is high in desserts and pastries has the ability to lower testosterone levels. Pastries and desserts contain a lot of trans fats, which are believed to lower testosterone levels. In addition to that, desserts that contain trans fats have been found to result in testosterone levels that are 15 percent lower than average testosterone levels.

Sugar

Sugar can be found in just about everything. You can’t get away from it. Even broccoli, one of the world’s healthiest vegetables, contains trace amounts of sugar. According to experts, the average man consumes approximately 17 teaspoons of sugar each day. This is more than twice the recommended daily amount. Men between the ages of 19 and 74 typically see a 25 percent decrease in testosterone after “consuming sugar.”

Vegetable oils

Although vegetables are good for you, studies have found that vegetable oils, including palm oil and soybean oil, are placed in many processed foods. Vegetable oils reduce testosterone. Surprisingly, vegetable oils are often hidden in healthy snacks, which include veggie sticks and granola bars, according to Discover Magazine

Vegetable oils contain high amounts of omega-6 fatty acids, which cause inflammation, lower testosterone levels, and affect other hormones in the body.

Licorice root 

Although licorice root is good at easing or preventing sore throat and treating viral infections, it also has the negative side effect of lowering testosterone levels. According to experts, studies have found that licorice lowers testosterone levels, because it blocks some enzymes, including lyases and 17-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase. It also contains glycyrrhizin, a compound that imitates the effects of estrogen.

If you are worried about lowered testosterone levels, it may be wise to avoid licorice or consume only small amounts of it. 

Poor quality meat

While healthy cuts of meat can be expensive, it might not always be feasible to buy the healthiest cuts of meat. However, eating poor quality meat can cause inflammation and consequently lowered levels of testosterone. Poor quality meat lowers testosterone, because it contains omega-6 fatty acids. 

Additionally, low quality meat can negatively affect other essential hormones in the body. Interfering with other hormones like these also has the potential to affect testosterone levels, so it is best to be careful.

Diet soda 

Although diet soda is a fan favorite for many people, consuming it can have a detrimental effect on testosterone levels. Diet soda as a whole can have a negative effect on many aspects of your health, including a reduction in testosterone. Diet soda contains aspartame, an artificial sweetener. Aspartame can significantly hurt the male reproductive system, often resulting in impaired sperm quality and damage to testicular tissues.

These problems are often the result of oxidative stress, which results from eating foods containing aspartame. Diet soda has fewer calories than regular soda, but it’s important to ask yourself if you’re willing to compromise your testosterone levels by drinking diet soda.

Microwave popcorn

Everybody enjoys sitting down with a bowl of popcorn to enjoy a movie. It’s relaxing and fun, but it can also have a negative effect on testosterone levels. Although it has been deemed a superfood, popcorn is frequently made with chemicals, such as perfluorooctanoic acid or PFOA. Animal studies have found that this chemical can cause testosterone levels to decrease. 

Microwave popcorn also contains a lot of calories and some unhealthy fats, so you want to think twice about eating it. This is especially true if you have low levels of testosterone or don’t want to compromise normal levels of testosterone. 

With such an exhaustive list of testosterone-killing foods, it may seem nearly impossible to keep testosterone levels in check. However, it is not. You just have to eliminate certain foods or consume them in small amounts.

Donuts 

Donuts are another food that is known to lower testosterone levels. Although they are well-loved by just about everyone, donuts can lower testosterone levels and can add inches to your waistline. Abdominal fat triggers your body to release toxins that raise your risk of developing problems, such as heart disease and fatty liver disease.

 Hot dogs

Many people may not want to hear it, but even hot dogs have the ability to affect testosterone levels. It is not the hot dog in itself that lowers testosterone, but instead is the plastic it’s wrapped in. Made of polyvinyl chloride, hot dog wrapping disrupts hormones in the body, often resulting in other problems.

It’s important to remember that many of these foods have health-boosting ingredients. However, it is best to be careful if you want to boost or maintain testosterone levels. Meat is rich in protein, and some of the foods listed here can help prevent life-threatening conditions. 

White bread

White bread is another lunch staple that many people cannot do without. White bread is a “highly processed food” that lacks zinc, an essential nutrient for good health. Zinc is vital to maintaining healthy testosterone levels. Because of this, it is best to avoid white bread. You can opt for whole wheat bread instead. Whole wheat bread has a high zinc content and is a great option for those who wish to maintain healthy testosterone levels.

There are many risks to men who eat testosterone killing foods. Not only do these foods interfere with development and endurance, but they can zap your body of the testosterone it so desperately needs to function. Eating testosterone killing foods has many risks, especially if you want to remain in good health. However, it’s important to remember that many of these foods come with some benefits. 

Popcorn, for example, is rich in nutrients, such as calcium, potassium, and Vitamin K. These ingredients are also essential to healthy functioning. If you are looking to boost testosterone, it is a good idea to avoid these foods or at least consume them in moderation. 

If you are concerned about testosterone but also want to enjoy these foods, you may want to consider alternative therapies.  

 

 

17 Sources

Nu Image Medical has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references.

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This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your physician about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Nu Image Medical may not offer the medications or services mentioned in this article.