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8 Foods That Kill Testosterone (From A Nutritionist)

Michael Garrico
Published by Michael Garrico
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: September 24, 2022

After spending dozens of hours researching scientific studies, I’ve discovered eight foods that are absolute testosterone killers.

Unfortunately, we enjoy many of these foods daily. That’s why it’s crucial you know what they are.

You’ll find them all in this article. Stick around until the end to find out which foods have the testosterone-lowering effect.

Quick Summary

  • Some foods, like dairy products and foods high in PUFAs, reportedly decrease testosterone levels.
  • Other foods, like egg yolks, fish, and red meat, may help boost low T.
  • Food isn’t the only cause of low testosterone levels - consult a doctor to determine the root cause of your problems.

8 Foods That Kill Testosterone

fresh meat and dairy products

I’ll go over eight types of foods that are likely to have an adverse effect on testosterone levels.

Check whether your diet contains any of these foods.

1. Dairy Products

Studies show that dairy food intake lowers testosterone production in men.

In addition to that, dairy products also decrease the secretion of LH and FSH [1], two hormones that control testosterone levels and testicular growth.

That means you should avoid dairy products, such as:

  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Butter
  • Ice cream
  • Whey protein powder
  • Yogurt
  • Sour crea

Also, try to avoid meals that contain high amounts of any of these products. For example, many desserts contain milk.

2. Foods High In Trans Fats

stack of donuts

Trans fats decrease serum testosterone levels, fertility, sperm count, and motility.

They may even lead to testicular degeneration [2].

Besides that, trans fats are generally bad for your health. Still, many restaurants and fast-food outlets frequently use them, especially to deep-fry food [3].

Almost all types of fast foods contain trans fats and should be avoided.

Additionally, try to avoid these foods as they contain trans fats, too [4]:

  • Snacks (chips, crackers, microwave popcorns, etc.)
  • Pre-prepared meals (e.g., frozen pizzas)
  • Pastries, donuts, pies

Make sure to check nutrition facts before buying food if possible. The label should disclose the trans fats in a product.

3. Soy

Although there’s no conclusive evidence, some studies have linked soy with low testosterone levels [5].

Besides soy, you should also avoid soy-based products like miso, edamame, tofu, and soy milk.

4. Fried Foods

Fried foods typically contain two substances that lower testosterone — trans and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) [6].

The adverse effects of PUFAs on testosterone are well-documented [7] [8].

So, try to avoid food that’s been fried, such as fried chicken, french fries, cheese sticks, etc.

5. Processed Foods

Processed foods are yet another type of food high in trans fatty acids.

On top of that, processed foods usually contain high amounts of sodium. While sodium hasn’t been directly linked to testosterone levels, some studies have linked it to erectile dysfunction [9].

Many foods we’ve already discussed are processed: bread, cereal, cakes, milk, snacks, and pre-prepared meals.

Besides these foods, you should also avoid meat products — such as bacon, ham, and sausages  — since such products also undergo processing [10].

6. Licorice

bowl of licorice stick and powder

Licorice is an herb often used to sweeten candy and beverages, as well as breath fresheners.

One study from 1999 found that testosterone levels were significantly lower in men who consumed licorice root.

However, when researchers tried to confirm their findings with another study, they found that licorice had no effects on testosterone levels [11].

Again, more research is needed to conclude whether or not licorice is bad for your T.

Still, you might want to avoid products that contain this herb to be on the safe side.

7. Flaxseed

One study on men with prostate cancer found that flaxseed supplementation can reduce testosterone levels and, consequently, cause a decrease in muscle mass and prostate weight [12].

Still, it should be noted that most of the other studies have been conducted on animals and had inconclusive results.

For the time being, I recommend you still avoid flaxseed and flax-containing foods, such as cereals, bread, and crackers. Although flaxseeds are highly nutritional, they may lower your T. So, avoid them for a while and see whether that helps your T levels.

8. Alcohol

Admittedly, alcohol wouldn’t fall under the category of foods. Still, it’s worth mentioning because of its detrimental effects on testosterone levels [13].

For example, one study found that even moderate alcohol consumption over three weeks decreases testosterone levels by 6.8% in middle-aged men. Interestingly, alcohol didn’t seem to affect testosterone levels in post-menopausal women [14].

So, I’d advise men to try to avoid alcohol as much as possible. Women may have more leeway here.

Other Causes Of Low Testosterone

belly fats of a woman and an old woman

You should avoid testosterone-killing foods. But other factors influence your hormone levels, too [15]:

“One of the things we notice in guys with poor sleep hygiene, apnea [brief pauses in breathing during sleep] or significant stress, is that they can have a depressed level of testosterone.”

-  Sriram Eleswarapu, MD, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Urology at David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA

Besides poor sleeping habits, stress, and apnea, low testosterone may be caused by [16]:

  • Pituitary gland dysfunction
  • Pituitary tumor
  • Obesity
  • Trauma (testes or head injury)
  • Aging

If you’re considering taking testosterone supplements, I suggest you consult with your doctor first and try to determine the root cause of low testosterone.

Foods That Boost Testosterone

ground beef and stack of green beans

While some foods decrease testosterone levels, others can boost it.

Here are a few examples of testosterone-boosting foods:

  • Beans and legumes
  • Foods with healthy fats (olive oil, coconut oil, fish oil, whole milk)
  • Red meat (ground beef, beef liver)
  • Egg yolks
  • Fish (oysters, shellfish, cooked lobster, crab)
  • Cruciferous vegetables (kale, broccoli, cabbage, sprouts, turnips)

Boost Testosterone Naturally With A Proper Diet

I always advise my clients to try to boost their testosterone levels with a proper diet before they even consider supplements.

Now you know which foods may decrease T. Try avoiding them for a month and see where that takes you. Also, replace testosterone-killing foods with those that boost testosterone. For example, you could use olive oil instead of other vegetable oils.

If you don’t notice any results after a month, consult your doctor. Alternatively, try some of these testosterone boosters for men that we recommend based on 122 hours of research.


References:

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19496976/ 
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3923511/ 
  3. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/trans-fat 
  4. https://www.unlockfood.ca/en/Articles/Fat/Tackling-Trans-Fat.aspx 
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15735098/ 
  6. https://www.performancecenterformen.com/what-foods-destroy-testosterone
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11525593/ 
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5312216/ 
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31584631/ 
  10. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/what-are-processed-foods/ 
  11. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14520600/ 
  12. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11445478/ 
  13. https://www.healthline.com/health/how-alcohol-affects-testosterone 
  14. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15166654/ 
  15. https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/low-testosterone 
  16. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15603-low-testosterone-male-hypogonadism

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