Why Crash Diets Cause Decline In Testosterone
On a crash diet you can lose a lot of weight quickly, but when it comes to your hormones, crash diets are not beneficial. Since testosterone affects everything in your body from muscle mass to certain behaviors, it should be more important to maintain high levels of testosterone than to lose some quick weight.
Extreme Calorie Restriction And Testosterone
While crash diets can reduce weight quickly, it also sends the message of starvation to the body. When that happens, testosterone levels can decrease. In one study, testosterone levels of rats decreased between 70-80% after 4-6 days of food deprivation. Because most crash diets often go on for a week or two, the effects on your testosterone could be huge.
Keep in mind that we are talking about crash diets. A normal diet that lowers calories in a mild way has not been shown to have any negative effect on testosterone levels in healthy men. Moreover, intermittent fasting, where you skip a few meals in the day, has not been shown to have a negative effect on testosterone levels. In fact, it has been shown to possibly increase the amount of testosterone produced.
You Limit Fat From Your Diet
Crash diets don’t include high fat foods. That’s bad news because high fat foods have been shown to have a positive effect on testosterone levels, while low fat diets have been shown to lower levels of testosterone.
Why? One thought is that the body thinks that there is a lack of food, so various systems in the body become more important than the reproductive system, and the hormones associated with it don’t need to be produced as much as if there was a need for reproducing. This makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint. In times of starvation, there would be very little need to reproduce.
You Lower Your Animal Protein Consumption
A crash diet usually consists of vegetables or fruits, but not foods from animal sources, such as butter, milk, or cheese. While you can get protein from plants, testosterone production is ultimately lowered.
“Animal protein is superior to plant protein when it comes to testosterone production.” – Muscle For Life
You Eat Low Carb
Research has shown that eating a low carb diet can cause a decline in testosterone levels. Moreover, eating more protein than carbs can have a negative effect as well. Crash diets don’t usually have any carbs in them.
You Lower Important Nutrients For Testosterone Production
Low levels of zinc and magnesium have been associated with low levels of testosterone. In crash diets, levels of these nutrients are not high. Nuts, beef, and cocoa powder are all high in zinc, while avocado, flaxseeds, and kidney beans can supply a high level of magnesium.
Crash Diets Are Stressful
Lastly, crash diets promote stress. When your body is under stress, your testosterone is not what they body is focused on; instead, it is focused on producing cortisol.
Many studies have shown that high levels of cortisol is associated with low levels of testosterone. In fact, some experts think that stress causes a loss of libido and infertility because it inhibits the production of testosterone so much.