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 Testosterone
In 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.
Generally, vegan diets tend to be lower in caloric intake. So, an easy way to fix that is to increase the amount of food you’re eating.
When your body doesn’t receive enough calories, it saves energy for the most important functions — and producing testosterone is not one of them, meaning testosterone takes a back seat.
Also, studies show extended periods of calorie restriction can lower testosterone levels and increase SHBG.
Stop Eating Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids
Many people considered polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) as healthy in comparison with trans fats.
But they’re clueless on the negative effects of PUFAs on testosterone.
In fact, researchers from a Finnish study, after making the subjects drop their PUFA consumption from 40% to 25%, concluded that polyunsaturated fatty acids reduce levels of total and free testosterone. In other words, the less PUFAs, the more testosterone.
I recommend switching out all the foods that contain PUFAs for monounsaturated fats like olive or coconut oil.
Get Enough Fat-Soluble Vitamins
There is a popular belief that vegan diets are low in essential nutrients, and that’s why people avoid them.
Vegans are quick to respond that their plant-based diets can get them everything they need and, in some cases, even more. And it’s true that plants have plenty of nutrients that are helpful for the body.
However, even though vegan diets are rich in micronutrients, they lack fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins D, K2, and A — which can have negative effects on testosterone. Some studies suggest that the lack of vitamin A, for example, causes a decrease in testosterone production.
In contrast, a meat diet will get you more of these soluble vitamins but less of the denser nutrients we get from plants. (Click here for a simple way to fix that if you’re a meat eater).
Of course, a complete diet that has the best of both worlds is the best solution. Yet, in reality, only meat eaters can really enjoy the best of both worlds, as long as they keep their micronutrient intake up.
You Don’t Need so Many Grains and Fiber
A good diet for boosting testosterone will be low in fiber and grains. Here’s why…
High amounts of grains that are rich in gluten can lead to an increase in prolactin levels. Elevated levels of prolactin can lead to the suppression of androgen production and, in worst cases, to erectile dysfunction and loss of libido.
Plus, studies show high fiber diets can negatively affect testosterone levels and have been linked with an increase in SHBG production.
Now, you don’t have to cut all grains and fiber out of your life, but reducing the amount will make a difference for your testosterone levels.
Conclusion on Vegan Diets and Testosterone
Overall, a meat-based diet, rich in dietary carbs and healthy fats is going to give you an advantage when it comes to boosting testosterone levels.
But if you’re a vegan, there are ways to have healthy testosterone levels regardless of your diet.
For example, you can follow the steps I mentioned above. But honestly, that probably won’t be enough to get your testosterone as high as you want it to be. For that reason, I highly recommend you check out my vegan-friendly greens powder, Man Greens.
Man Greens is packed with testosterone boosting herbs and micronutrients that won’t break your vegan diet. It’s so powerful, that if you take Man Greens, and your buddy (who’s a meat eater) doesn’t, it’s quite possible you’ll have higher testosterone levels than he does.
You’ll certainly have higher-T than your other vegan friends.
So don’t go anywhere without checking out Man Greens.
You’ll be glad you did.