Fast Food Affects Testosterone Levels

Fast Food Affects Testosterone Levels

We’re all familiar with the health and nutritional downfalls of fast food, and they are considerable. However, according to new research from Flinders University and the University of South Africa, fast food affects testosterone and fertility in some men as well.

Fast
food and your health

Although succumbing to fast food on rare occasions probably
won’t cause irreparable health damage, more routine intake could. Why? Generally,
fast food is associated with excess calories, fat, carbs, sodium, and/or sugar
and is lacking in sufficient fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other important
nutrients. This imbalance can contribute to a variety of health issues:

  • Depression: processed foods can
    contribute to depression
  • Headache: foods high in sodium can be
    associated with headache
  • Cardiovascular health: too much salt,
    fat, and cholesterol are associated with heart disease, stroke, and other
    cardiovascular issues
  • High blood pressure: high sodium can
    cause blood pressure to stay elevated
  • Diabetes: lots of carbs can send insulin
    levels soaring, which can lead to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes
  • Overweight/obesity: fast food tends to
    be high in calories, which can contribute to unwanted weight gain

Fast
food affects testosterone

In this new study, the researchers found that men who had a high intake of fat from fast food meals experienced a 25 percent decline in serum testosterone levels within 60 minutes of eating the meal. Those levels remained low for four hours.

According to the researchers, this effect may occur because the passage of fat through the intestines indirectly triggers a decline in testosterone after eating. The drop in the hormone level is “likely to be clinically significant for the obese or older man with low baseline levels of testosterone,” noted Flinders University’s Professor Kelton Tremellen.

This study was conducted among overweight and obese men only, so for now it is not known whether this affect is the same for lean men.

Tremellen also pointed out that these men are likely to always have low testosterone during their waking hours if they commonly eat fast food and other meals high in fat. The result, he said is “an adverse impact on both their mental and physical wellbeing.”

Bottom
line

The authors recommended that overweight and obese men “should minimize their fat intake and avoid inter-meal snacking in order to optimize testicular function.” As a general suggestion for all men interested in maintaining a healthy testosterone level:

  • Get at least 7 hours of sleep every night
  • Manage stress
  • Avoid or limit alcohol consumption
  • Do not smoke
  • Lose excess body fat
  • If you eat animal products, choose organic and avoid conventionally produced foods, as they often contain pesticides, antibiotics, and steroids

Reference

Tremellen K et al. Mechanistic insights into the aetiology
of post-prandial decline in testosterone in reproductive-aged men. Andrologia
2019 Sep 2