I quite simply abhor sensationalist headlines, and the one for this piece is indeed one I would normally skip right over without even a glimmer of interest of what I might find should I decide to investigate further. Today was an exception.
My personal Facebook page has been deluged with advertisements from one whom I’m only going to refer to as The Shredded One. I have read the headline: “Eight Foods That Kill Your Testosterone” multiple times a day and despite the fact I keep blocking The Shredded One and his infomercial, it keeps coming back to my feed. Today, I said the hell with it and investigated just what The Shredded One is selling to my fellow man. After watching a short video presentation by The Shredded One, where he proclaimed to have backing for his work from Harvard, I then went on to watch the next 20 minute video he insists you watch where you will sit and listen to a huge amount of nonsense and fear mongering before the sales pitch goes into full effect for you to purchase the information you have just sat through about thirty total minutes of video presentations to receive. My friends, I am going to give you the information this huckster is trying to sell you about these foods for free.
That’s right, no charge to you at all!
For possible legal reasons, I am not using The Shredded Ones name, but I will say that if you are a weight trainer who follows Jeff Cavalier from AthleneX, you will know The Shredded One as the young guy who has directly copied Jeff’s video work to sell as his own creations. It actually may not make any legal difference if I use the guy’s name or not, but I will not since I do not want any legal hassles out of him.
What is testosterone and why do I care how food is impacting mine?
Testosterone is a hormone produced by the human body. It’s mainly produced in men by the testicles. Testosterone affects a man’s appearance and sexual development. It stimulates sperm production as well as a man’s sex drive. It also helps build muscle and bone mass.
Men can experience a range of symptoms if testosterone decreases more than it should. Low testosterone, or low T, is diagnosed when levels fall below 300 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL).
A normal range is typically 300 to 1,000 ng/dL, according to the Food and Drug Administration. A blood test called a serum testosterone test is used to determine your level of circulating testosterone. (1)
A good many men, especially young strength trainers and body builders completely freak out when they believe their body is not producing a sufficient quantity of testosterone which is why you can find “Low T” clinics in just about every major city across America today. The issue of “Low T” is a topic that can be easily found on every online strength training forum I have ever visited or have been active on, which is several to say the least.
Why the hell do I care about someone selling us a diet based on information about foods that might lower our testosterone levels? Face it fellas, as men we can be kind of dumb sometimes, especially those of us who pursue great strength and Schwarzenegger like body’s. If you do not believe you might be occasionally dumb, turn and ask any of the women in your life what their opinion might be on the topic. Too often, we might just jump on the latest information that might give us a competitive edge while never taking the time to actually research the information being put out. If you do not believe this is a problem, then consider the number of fools who take steroids and SARMS in order to get stronger, consider the idiots who are injection the synthetic oil Synthol into their muscle tissue in order to look more muscular without putting in the work to get there through the hard work that body building requires. And then, think about the crazy ass extreme diets that body builders and wannabe’s subject themselves to. Guys will do all of this stupidity without a care in the world about how they might just be shortening their very lives by doing so. Never mind if ones advice is sound or not, if it is coming from someone who looks to be stronger and better shape, gym rats will jump on it.
Eight foods that allegedly lower testosterone.
In the interest of saving you the expense of your hard earned money, here are the eight foods The Shredded One wants you to avoid in order to not lower your testosterone:
- Soy and soy based products. Animal and human studies have found that certain compounds in soy-based foods may decrease testosterone levels, but research is still inconclusive. One study in 35 men found that drinking soy protein isolate for 54 days resulted in decreased testosterone levels. Soy foods are also high in phytoestrogens, which are plant-based substances that mimic the effects of estrogen in your body by altering hormone levels and potentially reducing testosterone. Though human-based research is limited, one rat study showed that consuming phytoestrogens significantly decreased testosterone levels and prostate weight. However, other research found conflicting results, suggesting that soy-based foods may not have as much of an impact as these isolated soy components. In fact, one large review of 15 studies found that soy foods had no effect on testosterone levels in men. (2) Consumption of soy and soy products are indeed wonderful for women for their hormonal health. But guys, let’s be realistic, you do not need to completely shun these products being as the research is still inconclusive and if you believe an occasional soy protein shake or other soy product is going to hurt you, you probably have other nutritional issues causing yourself even more harm than a little soy once in a while.
- Mint. Good lord, Jesus jumped a freight train! Just how much mint would you need to swallow to have an impact on your testosterone? Some studies show that spearmint and peppermint may cause a decrease in testosterone levels, but research has so far focused on the effects on women or animals . High-quality human studies focusing on both genders are needed to assess how mint affects testosterone levels in both men and women. Before you chuck your mint gum out the window, or your mint tea down the drain because it might lower your testosterone, how about finding a conclusive study first. It could be that you might need to drink 50 gallons of mint tea a week to have an impact on you.
- Licorice root. Ok, first off, we are talking about the root, not the candy. Licorice root is a popular natural remedy in holistic medicine and often used to treat everything from chronic pain to persistent coughing. In recent years, several studies have found that licorice may also influence hormone levels, potentially leading to a decline in testosterone over time. In one study, 25 men consumed 7 grams of licorice root daily, which caused a 26% drop in testosterone levels after just one week. (2) Chances are that if you consume 7 grams per day of licorice root, you are doing it for a medicinal purpose and may not be too concerned with a temporary drop in testosterone anyhow. Because people can be kind of dumb, and run wild with little tidbits of information, I will say this; If you come to me and tell me you will not eat licorice candy because it will lower your “T” levels, I might just force feed you enough to get you good and sick, just for being that dumb. If you are using licorice root for relieving stomach discomfort, nausea, stomach pain, and heartburn, you are not going to have your testicles shrink up from a few days use.
- Vegetable oil. If you are still eating foods fried in vegetable oil, you are likely not too interested in your waist line, nor your health in the first place. One study in 69 men showed that frequently consuming polyunsaturated fats was associated with significantly lower testosterone levels. (2) Would anyone care to wager that these men might also have had an obesity problem from consuming far too much vegetable oil in their fried foods? It is not rocket science that folks who eat a fair amount of fried foods have weight control issues, and men who are over weight or obese have low testosterone levels because of it. If you are disciplined in your dietary habits and exercise, a little vegetable oil is not going to drain your “T” levels.
- Flaxseed. Flaxseed is packed with heart-healthy fats, fiber and various important vitamins and minerals. However, some research shows that it may cause a decrease in testosterone levels. This is because flaxseed is high in lignans, which are plant compounds that bind to testosterone and force it to be excreted from your body. Flaxseed is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which may be linked to a decrease in testosterone as well. But consider this before discarding your flaxseed, or products which contain flaxseed, is the heart health benefit from the omega-3 fatty acids going to over ride any negative effect derived from the lignan component for you? If you are a strength athlete who might be concerned about your “T” levels, odds are you probably take fish oil pills to aid in keeping inflammation down in your body after hardcore workouts. Let’s use a little common sense when deciding to use, or not to use flaxseed. I would wager that if you consume enough flaxseed to have an impact on your testosterone, you will without a doubt be spending a tremendous amount of time on the toilet evacuating your bowels.
- Processed foods. Well duh! Processed foods are full of all kinds of garbage that is supposed to resemble actual food. They are high in sugar, unhealthy fats, sodium and preservatives. Part of the blame here is being laid on trans fats which are also to blame for heart disease, diabetes and inflammation. If you are a disciplined eater, you might get away with eating processed foods and not having your “T” levels impacted much. If you are not disciplined in your dietary habits, you are going to have a plethora of health issues related to obesity at some point anyhow. Fellas, if you are fat and out of shape, your testosterone is going to be lower no matter what the hell you are eating.
- Alcohol. The evidence isn’t completely clear-cut when it comes to the effects of alcohol on testosterone. In fact, both human and animal studies have had mixed results, with some research indicating that alcohol could actually increase testosterone levels in certain cases. Further research is still needed to understand how different doses of alcohol affect testosterone levels in the general population. (2)
- Nuts. Nuts are a great source of many important nutrients, including fiber, heart-healthy fats and minerals like folic acid, selenium and magnesium. However, some studies suggest that certain types of nuts may decrease testosterone levels. Despite some findings, more research is needed to determine how certain types of nuts may impact testosterone levels. Do you really want to shun the health benefits that are known about nuts for vague research that has not been found to be conclusive? I hope not.
Cleaning up your dietary habits along with vigorous exercise is one of the most effective ways to maintaining healthy testosterone levels. Before you get caught up in any hype coming from a personal trainer, or internet fitness guru, be sure to do your own homework too. Sometimes, these people are trying so hard to be the best, or first to teach something new to others, they do not do their own due diligence first either.