A recent study examined the relationship between dietary choices testosterone levels and body composition in young and older men with mean age 41.
The study involved 125 Taiwanese males that completed a healthy history and food frequency questionnaires. The researchers also measured various hormones and metabolic health indicators by taking blood samples from the participants.
Men following a western diet pattern high in foods like bread and pastries, dairy products, and desserts, eating out, and a low intake of homemade foods, noodles, and dark green vegetables, were more likely to have an unhealthy body composition (lower muscle mass and increased visceral fat mass) and low testosterone levels.
Limitations of study
- Body composition was measured using BIA but this method is less accurate than a DEXA.
- FFQ can be inaccurate for measuring food intake, and testosterone levels vary throughout the day so a single measurement may not accurately indicate testosterone levels.
- The sample size was also very small so future long-term research with a bigger sample size is required. A clinical study examining the direct effects of healthy food on testosterone needs to be carried out.
The findings are not surprising because obesity is strongly associated with lower T levels. Aromatase, a hormone found in fat tissues, converts testosterone into oestrogen. So men with higher body fat convert more testosterone to oestrogen and this lowers testosterone levels.
Consuming highly processed foods can increase the risk of obesity because of the high energy density due to excess sugar and saturated fat content.
Eating whole and minimally processed foods can improve body composition because of the lower energy density. Whole and minimally processed foods are also rich into phytochemical and antioxidants which are essential for long-term health.
Hu TY, Chen Y, Lin P, Shih CK, Bai CH, Yuan KC, Lee SY, Chang JS. Testosterone-Associated Dietary Pattern Predicts Low Testosterone Levels and Hypogonadism. Nutrients. 2018 Nov 16;10(11):1786.
About Kwame Otchere
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