Maintaining healthy testosterone levels is probably every athlete’s dream. From the muscle-strengthening properties to an increased libido, there is no doubt that testosterone is a key hormone in the male body. However, besides age, there seems to be another silent threat that is out to get the better side of testosterone: sugar. Certain foods boost testosterone and others not so much.
Most of you probably are aware that sugar isn’t exactly the healthiest food item out there, but the truth is that the risks go way beyond a sugar crash or a cavity. In fact, research suggests that consuming lots of sugar is associated with a significant decrease in testosterone levels in men. But, is this the case?
What Do We Mean By Sugar?
Since there are several types of sugar out there, we need to specify which kind we are talking about. That kind is Monosaccharides and is the most common type, also known as simple sugar. This substance is found in sodas, fruit, candy, processed foods, etc. and this is where the problem starts.
In its turn, Monosaccharides is divided into 3 forms: glucose, fructose, and galactose. But, what is the story behind each one of these Monosaccharides forms?
Also known as blood sugar, glucose comes from the foods we choose to eat. In fact, certain types of carb foods such as pasta and cereal are common sources of glucose. Once you ingest these types of carbs, your body is on the fast track of breaking them down and converting them to glucose. In its turn, glucose infiltrates in your bloodstream providing you with energy.
This particular Monosaccharide comes with a bad reputation. Even though it can be found in root vegetables and fruit (hence the title fruit sugar), fructose is also part of controversial foods such as processed foods, sodas, and candy. Once in your body, fructose streams its way to your liver where it can be broken down into glucose. Most scientists express their worries concerning fructose since it is often linked to weight gain, maldigestion, even liver disease.
Galactose, also known as milk sugar, is found abundant in dairy products as well as sugar beets. Since glucose is the primary fuel for the human body, galactose needs to convert into in the liver glucose before it reaches your bloodstream. The particular type of monosaccharide is also susceptible to combine with glucose and produce disaccharide lactose.
But, let’s take a look at what these types of sugar can do to your testosterone levels.
How And Why Sugar Lowers Your Testosterone Levels
It all comes down to insulin. From the minute you take that first bite, your body is designed to release a hormone known as insulin. This hormone is produced in the pancreas and enables your cells to use glucose for energy. In other words, insulin regulates your blood glucose levels. Unfortunately, though, research proves that there is an undeniable connection between low testosterone and increased blood sugar levels. So, the more insulin your body produces, the worse the effect on this male hormone. In fact, men who suffer from diabetes or pre-diabetes are more likely to see their testosterone levels plummet due to a high concentration of glucose in their blood, according to science. Basically sugar and testosterone are not friends.
But, let’s talk numbers to figure out exactly how sugar affects testosterone levels in men. This particular study includes 74 subjects with different glucose tolerance profiles. This means that some of them (57%) had a normal glucose tolerance profile, some others (30%) presented an impaired glucose tolerance profile whereas the rest (13%) suffered from diabetes. Each of these men was administered 75 grams of pure glucose and checked later on for their testosterone levels. The results indicated that T levels had dropped up to 25%. In 15% of the cases, testosterone levels had reached a whole new level of low to the point where prescribed synthetic testosterone is on the table for discussion. If your worried about your testosterone levels refer to other testosterone killers such as plastic, read about how plastic and testosterone don’t mix well.
Does This Mean That You Shouldn’t Be Eating Carbs?
Absolutely NOT! Carbs are quintessential when it comes to testosterone production. You just need to be careful about two things: A) the quantity and B) the carb source. Some foods contain more carbs than others do. In that case, you need to cut back on the quantity to avoid overwhelming your body. At the same time, it;s best to steer clear or foods that are rich in simple sugars and take another route: complex carbs such as “brown” foods, natural grains, etc.
The Final Verdict
As you see, sugar overdose can have its toll on your testosterone by spiking your insulin levels. The scientific evidence is conclusive and clearly point out that sugar is good just for one thing: making coffee/foods taste nice. If your goal is to increase testosterone and recover fast from an intense workout, then there is no room for sugar. Bottom line is sugar and testosterone do not mix well.