It’s common for people to think that a vegan diet automatically equals low testosterone levels for men. The reason is because of high amounts of fiber through vegetable intake and the common use of soy, which has been shown to reduce testosterone levels. The idea that a guy who goes vegan is less manly than the guy who eats meat is actually ingrained into our culture, too. In fact, a research paper, which studied popular views in western culture of people who eat meat vs. those who don’t, found that people rated meat eaters as more masculine than vegans — even across 23 languages. Multiple studies 1, 2, 3 suggest that a vegetarian or vegan diet does indeed lower testosterone levels and that men who participate in this diet have overall lower testosterone levels than meat-eaters. On the other hand, some researchers have found that vegan or vegetarian eaters can have the same levels of testosterone, or even higher levels (according to this odd-ball study), than meat-eaters. But here’s the deal… Even though I’m a meat eater myself, I want you to know, this article isn’t meant to paint vegans in a bad light. In fact, at the end of this article, I’m going to show you how to guarantee, if you’re a vegan, that you have higher testosterone levels than that meat eating buddy of yours. So keep reading. But before I get there, let’s take a closer look at veganism and testosterone.
The Good and The Bad of Vegan Diets for TestosteroneIn theory, a plant-based diet includes many good foods that should work in tandem with your body to produce good levels of testosterone, right? For starters, almost every food is a prime source of essential minerals and vitamins which boost metabolic processes in the body. These foods also contain antioxidants and carbohydrates, which are important for the body’s ability to produce testosterone — so much so that some studies suggest eating higher carb diets are more important for T-levels than high protein diets. With that said, the same study stated that dietary fat trumps them both. And the bad news for vegans is that fat content is typically low in vegan diets. Also, more often than not, the fat comes from polyunsaturated fatty acids that have been found to suppress thyroid functions and negatively affect testosterone. Another thing that vegan diets lack are the key compounds that come from meat. These key compounds are creatine, carnitine, and taurine which are essential for producing testosterone according to multiple studies, and especially in men who train. Based on these studies, guys who eat a meat-heavy diet will have an advantage when it comes to testosterone levels. Sure, there was that one rebel study showing how the guys on the vegan diet had higher testosterone levels (yet lower growth hormone levels), but the researchers concluded that number was off-set by sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) — a protein that attaches to testosterone and doesn’t allow it to enter into your DNA. In other words, it was useless. However, for a little help, you can find four simple ways to boost testosterone levels below if you’re a vegan.
Stop Eating Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids
Get Enough Fat-Soluble Vitamins
You Don’t Need so Many Grains and Fiber