Sat Jun 15

The Best diet to optimize your TESTOSTERONE according to Science

Yerai Alonso

Yerai Alonso

The Best diet to optimize your TESTOSTERONE according to Science

The average testosterone levels of today's Western population are falling little by little, year after year, so the average levels of young people between 20 and 40 years old today are lower than those of their grandparents in their 50s.

I recently published an article talking about this topic, in which I explain what is the main and determining reason for this drop and how to solve it to have optimal levels. And in passing I mentioned, obviously, the issue of having a healthy diet that favors your hormonal levels.

Well, people commented telling me to talk in more detail about the diet with respect to testosterone, and I thought it was very interesting to do an article analyzing some studies so that we can see what is the best diet to optimize your testosterone, according to science, which is the best way we have to know the truth. Also, I think the results will surprise you because they may not be what you expect.

Anderson Study: Do Macronutrients Affect Testosterone?

Let's see this first study that I found extremely curious. Conducted by Anderson et al., this study aimed to observe whether changes in macronutrient ratios had effects on hormone levels in men.

To do this, they tested two interventions, in one they gave first a diet with a greater predominance of proteins and less of carbohydrates, and secondly a diet with a greater amount of carbohydrates and less importance of proteins. Both diets were always maintained with the same calorie and fat levels.

When analyzing the results, it was seen that the high carbohydrate diet provided higher levels of testosterone and SHBG which, for those who do not know, is the Sex Hormone Binding Globulin and which is directly related to the testosterone levels. And also, and this is very important, this diet produced lower levels of cortisol, which, for those who are interested in building muscle mass, is very notable.

Up to this point I found it an interesting fact that I would not have expected a few years ago. This study indicates that diets high in carbohydrates seem to increase testosterone compared to diets high in protein, and on top of that with the addition of reducing cortisol. But now comes the most curious thing…

When analyzing the composition of each of the specific diets, we see that the high protein diet contained: meat, fish, egg whites... and in general it was a diet that could be considered carnivorous, which unfortunately nowadays it seems to be booming.

And, when analyzing the high carbohydrate diet we see that it was rich in vegetables, legumes, grains, fruits, bread... So it was basically a strict vegetarian diet, or what today is usually called a vegan diet.

By the way, it should be noted that this study obviously had no conflict of interest, nor was it funded by any vegan company or anything similar. This study was conducted by researchers at Columbia University who probably didn't even intend to refer to a vegan diet, but rather found it appropriate to compare high levels of carbohydrates with high levels of protein.

Allen Study: Testosterone in omnivorous, vegetarian and vegan diets

Given the above, I decided to look if there was any study that directly compared testosterone levels between omnivorous and vegan diets, and not only did I find it, but in this study by Allen et al. the hormonal levels of people with an omnivorous diet are compared, a vegetarian diet that includes dairy and eggs, and a vegan diet.

In this study, 696 men were analyzed, of which 226 were carnivores, 237 were vegetarians and 233 were vegans.

The results were clear: vegans were the ones with the highest levels of testosterone, followed by vegetarians and leaving carnivores in last place.

In addition, adjustments were applied to counteract the possible influences of factors such as body composition, which, by the way, vegans were also those with the lowest percentages of body fat. They also adjusted for age and physical activity levels. After applying these adjustments the results remained intact, with vegans showing higher levels of testosterone.

Again, highlight that this study had no conflicts of interest, nor was it funded by any vegan company or anything similar. This study was carried out by cancer researchers at the University of Oxford who were mainly interested in the levels of IGF-1, due to its relationship with prostate cancer, which we will not explain in detail but, as a fact to keep in mind Note, it also had favorable results in the vegan group compared to carnivores and vegetarians.


It should be noted that this study is cross-sectional, which means that it observes the state of this group of men and their diet at a specific moment in time, without observing their evolution or carrying out an intervention to see its effect. But I think it is still a study to take into account.

In conclusion, I think that if you are concerned about having optimal testosterone levels, in my opinion, you should try eating a vegan diet, with the highest proportion of whole vegetables possible.

If you are worried about the issue of proteins, first of all I tell you not to worry, since the necessary amounts of protein to build muscle mass are totally overrated and with a vegan diet you can build muscle without any problem. I will probably write a detailed article about this in the future.

Another aspect to highlight, which was also mentioned to me in the other video, is that testosterone levels alone are not the only determining hormonal factor for muscle mass gain, there is a whole complex hormonal system in which each one has its function and its effect. But it is true that testosterone is normally used as a reference due to its direct anabolic effect. Additionally, it seems that if we look at other hormones, the results are consistent and the whole plant diet provides better results. If you want I can do another article regarding that.

Lastly, and what is most important to me, and which I do not want to go unnoticed, a vegan diet (strict vegetarian if we speak properly), is objectively better on an ethical level, so we have a clear textbook win-win.

I hope it will help you,

Yerai Alonso


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