a picture of licorice, beer, soy beans, bread in a basket, and a mint leaf

5 Foods That Are Bad for Your Testosterone and How to Avoid Them

Maintaining adequate levels of testosterone is vital for one's health as well as their sense of identity as men in society today. And it's no wonder: testosterone helps build muscles; shed excess fats; enhance sexual drive; uplift moods; elevate performance — it truly does wonders! However, fair play isn't on our side when age catches up with us or when stressful situations arise at work, putting us under pressure... Or maybe even medications used might interfere with our well-being too? And then there are those choices we make which might not be too great either - like choosing fast food over proper nutrition... All those precious male hormones that give us strength fade away little by little every day. They pass unnoticed until eventually disappearing altogether! That's why paying close attention at mealtime could make such a huge difference!

The 5 Foods That Are Bad for Your Testosterone

Some foods can lower your testosterone levels by affecting your hormones or blood sugar levels. These foods include:

1. Soy Products

soy milk, beans, and tofu

Soy products like tofu, edamame soy milk, soy protein isolate, soy sauce, and tempeh contain phytoestrogens. These plant compounds imitate estrogen's effects on the body. Estrogen is the female sex hormone that opposes testosterone. High estrogen levels can lower testosterone levels in men and cause symptoms such as enlarged breasts, reduced sperm count, erectile dysfunction, and infertility. 

Some studies have shown that consuming soy products can reduce testosterone levels in men. For instance, a study published in Fertility & Sterility in 2007 discovered that healthy men who consumed 56 grams of soy protein isolate daily for four weeks had significantly lower serum testosterone levels compared to those who consumed whey protein isolate. However, Other studies did not find a significant impact of soy consumption on testosterone levels in men. A meta-analysis published in Fertility & Sterility in 2010 concluded that neither soy foods nor soy isoflavone supplements alter serum testosterone concentrations in men. Therefore, There is mixed and inconclusive evidence regarding the relationship between soy products and testosterone. Several factors may influence these outcomes, such as the type, amount, duration, and frequency of soy intake; the age, health status, genetic background, and lifestyle of participants; and the methods used to measure testosterone levels. 

In conclusion, Consuming moderate amounts of soy products is unlikely to harm your testosterone levels if you are otherwise healthy. However, if you have low testosterone levels or are sensitive to estrogenic compounds, it may be advisable to limit or avoid the consumption of soy products altogether.

2. Alcohol

a glass of beer

Your body's testosterone levels face a formidable adversary in the form of alcohol due to its severe implications on liver function—critical for hormone metabolism—and disruption of sleep quality—essential for hormone production. Furthermore, it directly hampers the synthetic process within testes, reducing overall production while bolstering estrogen conversion. This unfavorable cocktail leads to an antagonistic interplay between low testosterone and high estrogen levels that can gravely compromise your health in multiple studies done on men. It has been observed that consuming alcohol significantly reduces testosterone concentrations. One such study from 2017, revealed that acute intake diminished serum testosterone by an alarming 23% among healthy males. Another investigation published that same year—Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research—found chronic consumption over three weeks decreased serum testosterone by approximately 6.8%.Factors such as the type, duration, frequency, and quantity of alcoholic beverages consumed; participants' age, fundamental health status, genetic background, and lifestyle, coupled with variances seen throughout measurement methodologies, wield substantial influence. Elements commonly affect one conclusion, altering fact is certain: alcohol adversely affects testosterone levels and your overall health. Therefore, Exercising control by scaling back or refraining from alcohol intake as much as possible is paramount. If consuming alcohol, respecting the recommended guidelines of up to two drinks per day for men is advisable.

3. Mint

close up picture of mint leaf

Mint is a well-liked herb that is commonly used to add flavor to food, beverages, and oral care items. It has a pleasant and refreshing effect that can provide relief for your stomach, throat, and breath. However, mint may not have such a soothing effect on your testosterone levels. Mint contains menthol, a compound that has properties that can hinder the action of testosterone and other male hormones in the body. Several studies have indicated that mint can decrease testosterone levels in both men and animals. 

In one study conducted in 2014 and published in Phytotherapy Research, it was found that consuming two cups of spearmint tea per day for 30 days reduced serum total and free testosterone levels by 51% and 30%, respectively, in healthy men. Another study conducted in 2011 and published in Urology discovered that drinking two cups of peppermint tea per day for two weeks reduced serum total testosterone levels by 23% in rats. 

However, not all studies have shown a significant impact of mint on testosterone levels in men. For instance, a study published in Phytotherapy Research in 2007 found no alteration of serum total or free testosterone levels when healthy men consumed two cups of spearmint tea per day for five days. Therefore the evidence regarding the link between mint consumption and testosterone levels is limited and inconsistent. Several factors may play a role in these varied results, including the type, amount, duration, and frequency of mint intake; the age; health status; genetic background; lifestyle of participants; as well as the methods used to measure testosterone levels. 

In conclusion, Moderate consumption of mint is unlikely to harm your testosterone levels if you are generally healthy. However, if you already have low testosterone levels or are sensitive to compounds with anti-androgenic effects 

it may be advisable to limit or avoid consuming products containing mint altogether

4. Bread, Pastries, and Desserts

Close-Up Shot of Cookies and Breads on a Wooden Tray

Bread, pastries, and desserts are absolutely delicious treats that can bring joy to your taste buds and provide comfort when you need them. However, it's important to be aware that these tasty indulgences are often packed with sugar, refined carbohydrates, and unhealthy fats. Unfortunately, consuming too much of these can have detrimental effects on your blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity. Insulin plays a crucial role in regulating blood sugar levels and helping cells absorb glucose for energy. But when you consume excessive amounts of sugar or refined carbs, your blood sugar levels skyrocket, and your pancreas responds by producing more insulin to bring them back down. This ongoing cycle can lead to a condition known as insulin resistance, where your cells become less responsive to insulin and require higher amounts of it to function properly. 

The consequences of insulin resistance are far-reaching and can contribute to chronic inflammation, oxidative stress, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer. Additionally, insulin resistance has the ability to lower testosterone levels by inhibiting the production of luteinizing hormone (LH) in the pituitary gland. LH is responsible for stimulating the production of testosterone in the testes. Hence. When LH is low in supply. So is testosterone. Numerous studies have been conducted to explore the impact of high sugar or refined carb intake on testosterone levels in men. One such study conducted in 2013 and published in Clinical Endocrinology discovered that ingestion of glucose (75 g) caused a significant decrease in serum total and free testosterone levels within two hours for healthy men - by 25% and 23%. Respectively. Similarly, a study published in Diabetes Care in 2009 revealed that high glycemic index (GI) diets consisting of 55% carbs with GI greater than 70 resulted in a decrease of serum total testosterone levels by 15% compared to low GI diets composed of 40% carbs with GI less than 55. This study specifically focused on overweight or obese men with type 2 diabetes. 

It should be noted that the effects of sugar or refined carbs on testosterone levels may vary based on factors such as the specific type, amount, frequency, and duration of intake; the age and health status of participants; their genetic background and lifestyle; as well as the methods used to measure testosterone levels. Nevertheless, it is clear that excessive consumption of high-sugar or refined-carb foods can have a negative impact on both testosterone levels and overall health. Considering all these factors. It is advisable to limit or avoid bread, pastries, and desserts as much as possible in order to safeguard your testosterone levels and maintain good health. In case you choose to include them in your meals, it is prudent to go for whole grain, low sugar, and high fiber alternatives that will have a lesser effect on raising your blood sugar levels.

5. Licorice Root

a closeup of a licorice root

Licorice root is a herb commonly used for flavoring foods and beverages. As well as in medicinal applications. It possesses both a sweet and bitter taste that can help mask unpleasant flavors and enhance enjoyable ones. However, it's important to note that licorice root may not have such a sweet effect on your testosterone levels. This is due to the presence of glycyrrhizin in licorice root, a compound that has been found to suppress the production of testosterone and other male hormones in the body. Various studies have demonstrated the potential of licorice root to lower testosterone levels in both men and women, for instance. A 2011 study published in Steroids revealed that consuming licorice (7 g/day for seven days) led to a 26% reduction in total testosterone levels among healthy men. Similarly, a 2004 study published in The New England Journal of Medicine reported that consuming licorice (3.5 g/day for two months) resulted in a staggering 44% decrease in total testosterone levels among healthy women, notwithstanding these findings. There are also studies that have failed to establish any significant impact of licorice root on testosterone levels among individuals. A study from 2009 published in Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology discovered no alterations in serum total or free testosterone levels among healthy women who consumed licorice root extract (2.5 g/day for two months). 

It is, therefore, crucial to acknowledge that the existing evidence regarding the effects of licorice root on testosterone is somewhat limited and inconsistent. Several factors may contribute to these mixed outcomes, including variations in the types, amounts, durations, and frequencies of licorice intake; variations between participants based on their age, health status, genetic background, and lifestyle; as well as differences in measurement techniques for assessing testosterone levels. In conclusion, if you are generally healthy, moderate consumption of licorice root is unlikely to have any detrimental effects on your testosterone levels. However, individuals with low testosterone levels or those who are particularly sensitive to glycyrrhizin may want to exercise caution and consider limiting or avoiding licorice products altogether.

How to Avoid These Foods and Boost Your Testosterone Naturally

Now that you are aware of the five foods that may have a negative impact on your testosterone. You may be interested in learning how to avoid them and discover suitable alternatives. Below are some tips to assist you:

  1. Take the time to read the labels of the foods and beverages you purchase, paying attention specifically to ingredients that can potentially lower your testosterone levels, such as soy, sugar, trans fats, or licorice. Opt for products that have low or no amounts of these ingredients. 
  2. It is advisable to limit or even avoid processed foods, fast foods, junk foods, and sweets that are high in sugar, refined carbs, and unhealthy fats. These types of food can not only contribute to weight gain but also lead to inflammation and insulin resistance, further reducing your testosterone levels.
  3. Emphasize incorporating more whole foods into your diet. This includes fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, lean meats, eggs, and fish. These wholesome choices will provide your body with essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, protein, and healthy fats necessary for maintaining hormone production and balance. 
  4. Substitute sugary drinks, alcoholic beverages, or caffeinated beverages with water or herbal teas instead. Drinking an adequate amount of water will help keep you properly hydrated while simultaneously flushing out toxins from your system. Furthermore, herbal teas can offer various benefits for both your hormones and overall health; for example, ginger tea has been shown to elevate testosterone levels as well as improve sperm quality. 
  5. Consider incorporating natural, safe supplements into your routine that can enhance testosterone levels naturally. Some tested and proven effective supplements include zinc, magnesium, vitamin D3, ashwagandha, fenugreek, D- aspartic acid (DAA), Tribulus Terrestris, Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia), horny goat weed (Epimedium). 


Testosterone, an essential hormone plays a vital role in maintaining your overall health and well being. However, There are various factors that can contribute to a decrease in testosterone levels, such as the natural aging process and certain dietary preferences. Specific foods can lower testosterone levels by affecting hormonal balance and blood sugar levels. These foods include soy products, alcohol, mint bread, pastries, desserts, and licorice root. To naturally maintain optimal testosterone levels in a safe manner. It is crucial to prioritize whole foods in your diet. Additionally. Increasing water intake and incorporating herbal teas into your daily routine can support healthy hormone production and balance. If necessary you may also consider taking supplements designed to assist with hormone regulation. By implementing these suggestions into your lifestyle choices. You can enhance testosterone levels and experience benefits such as increased energy levels. Improved muscle mass, heightened libido. Enhanced mood stability, and performance boost. We genuinely hope that this article has provided valuable insights into how dietary choices influence hormonal balance. If you found this information helpful or informative in any way we kindly encourage you to share it with friends or leave a comment below. Always remember that what you consume directly impacts overall health—so be wise in your decisions and prioritize a healthy eating regime!

James Freeman


Meet James Freeman, a California native whose passion for fitness emerged during challenging times, reshaping his life. With over two decades of coaching experience, he's not just a coach; he's a real-life example, shedding over 100 pounds in a journey to a healthier lifestyle. Beyond his coaching career, James is passionate about inspiring at-risk youth and promoting wellness in schools. In his downtime, he enjoys swimming and cycling, connecting with nature. Join him on his Instagram and LinkedIn profiles for insights into his empowering fitness journey.