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Testosterone Killing Foods Debunked: Separating Fact from Fiction

A hormone called testosterone possesses a vital role in numerous aspects of health, including muscle growth,bone density, libido,mood,and energy levels. However,various factors such as aging, genetics, medications, or dealing with medical conditions can result in low testosterone levels. Contrary to popular belief,it is often wrongly assumed that consumption of certain foods can drastically reduce or eliminate testosterone. Throughout this piece,evidentiary support shall be analyzed,negating or validating allegations against particular food items held responsible for disrupting one's normal testosterone production.

What Foods Are Said to Kill Testosterone?

There are many foods that are rumored to lower testosterone levels or have anti-androgenic effects. Some of the most frequently mentioned ones are:

  • Soy and soy products
  • Alcohol
  • Baked goods
  • Licorice root
  • Vegetable oils
  • Trans fats and processed foods
  • Sugar
  • Certain nuts

But do these foods really have a negative impact on testosterone? Let’s take a closer look at each one and see what the science says.

Soy and Soy Products

Soy bean, tofu, and other soy products

Soy is a plant-based protein source that contains phytoestrogen compounds that can imitate the effects of estrogen in the body. Some individuals hold the belief that consuming soy may decrease testosterone levels by interfering with its production or effects. Nonetheless, the evidence to support this claim is inconclusive. While certain studies have discovered that soy intake might decrease testosterone levels in specific males, others have found no effect or even a slight increase. The impact of soy might be influenced by various factors, including the quantity and type of soy consumed, the duration of intake, hormone levels before consumption, and individual reactions. Consequently, consuming moderate amounts of soy and soy products is unlikely to negatively affect your testosterone levels. Nonetheless, if you have low testosterone or concerns about your hormone balance, it may be advisable to restrict your consumption of soy protein isolates or supplements as they contain higher concentrations of phytoestrogens compared to whole soy foods.


No alcohol. Young man refuses to drink beer. Stop drinking. Say no to alcoholism

Alcohol is often cited as a substance that can potentially decrease testosterone levels. Its impact on hormone balance stems from its ability to impair liver function, which plays a crucial role in metabolizing hormones. Furthermore, alcohol can stimulate the production of estrogen and cortisol, both of which can inhibit testosterone synthesis and action. However, it is worth noting that the effects of alcohol on testosterone may vary based on consumption patterns and quantities. A comprehensive review conducted in 2019 discovered that heavy alcohol consumption in men is associated with low to normal testosterone levels. On the other hand, moderate drinking might have minimal effects on testosterone levels or potentially even increase them slightly. Thus, occasional or moderate alcohol consumption is unlikely to negatively affect your testosterone levels. It's important to recognize, though, that excessive or chronic drinking has been linked to lowered testosterone levels. To put things into perspective, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest that moderate drinking entails up to one drink per day for women, and up to two drinks per day for men.

Baked Goods

baked goods

Baked goods, such as breads, pastries, cakes, and cookies, are often rich in refined carbohydrates and added sugars. These foods have the potential to cause spikes in both blood sugar and insulin levels. In turn, this can result in weight gain and heightened fat storage. Furthermore, excess body fat has the ability to lower testosterone levels by increasing the conversion of testosterone into estrogen. This can also decrease the production of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), which is responsible for transporting testosterone throughout your bloodstream. In 2018. A study discovered that men who consumed substantial amounts of bread, pastries, and dairy products and desserts had notably low levels of total testosterone. Additionally, another study found that men who consumed higher quantities of sugar exhibited lower levels of free testosterone compared to those with a lower sugar intake. Therefore, it may be beneficial to limit your consumption of baked goods and other sources high in refined carbs and added sugars if you aim to maintain healthy testosterone levels. Instead of indulging in these baked goods, consider selecting complex carbohydrates from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables as alternatives. Not only do these options provide more fiber and essential nutrients, but they also have a lesser impact on your blood sugar and insulin levels.

Licorice Root

Roots licorice and stevia - Glycyrrhiza glabra

Licorice root is commonly used as an additive to enhance the taste of candies, beverages, and medicines. Research shows that it contains a compound called glycyrrhizin, which inhibits an enzyme called 11 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (11 HSD). This enzyme converts cortisol into its inactive form. Hence. The consumption of licorice potentially elevates cortisol levels while decreasing testosterone levels in both men and women. Various studies have confirmed these findings, stressing the importance of dosage to determine the impact. Moreover, It is crucial to understand that these effects are not permanent but can be reversed once licorice consumption is ceased. In essence, higher licorice intake over an extended period of time increases the probability of experiencing a decline in testosterone levels. However, occasional or limited consumption may not have a significant effect on testosterone levels. To minimize any potential risks associated with licorice intake. People who enjoy this flavor can consider reducing their consumption or opting for products made with anise oil instead of licorice root, which completely lacks glycyrrhizin.

Vegetable Oils

Perilla oil, edible vegetable oil derived from perilla seeds. Egoma oil

It is beneficial for your health to include vegetable oils such as soybean, corn, canola,and sunflower oils in your diet because they are rich sources of essential polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). However, it is crucial not to consume excessive amounts of PUFAS because doing so may have negative effects on your testosterone levels. A recent study conducted in 2019 found a correlation between high-PUFA diets and decreased serum testosterone production in men with hypogonadism. Additionally, another study discovered that men who consumed larger quantities of PUFAS had lower testosterone levels compared to those who consumed smaller amounts. The potential reason for this connection may be attributed to the ability of PUFAS to increase the oxidation process of fats within your body. As a result, free radicals are formed, which have the potential to damage your cells and tissues. This damage can impair the testes function and hinder testosterone synthesis. It is important to note that moderate consumption of PUFAs is unlikely to have an adverse impact on your testosterone levels; however, excessive intake should be avoided in order to maintain optimal hormone production. To ensure a balanced intake of fatty acids, it is advisable to incorporate both monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) and saturated fatty acids (SFAs) into your diet. MUFAs can be sourced from foods such as olive oil, avocado, and nuts, while SFAS are present in butter, coconut oil, and meat. By diversifying your dietary fat sources through these recommendations and being mindful about PUFA consumption levels, you can support healthy testosterone levels while still enjoying the benefits provided by essential fatty acids.

Trans Fats and Processed Foods

Sources of saturated fats

Trans fats, also known as artificial fats, Are created by adding hydrogen to vegetable oils. Their purpose is to enhance the flavor, texture, and shelf life of processed foods such as margarine, shortening, baked goods, and fried foods. However, it is important to be aware that trans fats can have a negative impact on your health by decreasing testosterone levels. This was demonstrated in a 2017 study that found that men who consumed higher amounts of trans fat had lower testosterone levels than those who consumed less. Additionally, consuming trans fats can increase the likelihood of developing heart disease, diabetes, and inflammation due to their ability to raise bad cholesterol (LDL) and lower good cholesterol (HDL). Processed foods are a common source of trans fats as well as other harmful ingredients like refined carbs, added sugars, salt, and preservatives. These types of foods can also contribute to weight gain, insulin resistance, and inflammation—all factors that can disrupt hormone balance in the body. Based on this information alone, it is wise advice to limit or avoid consuming trans fats and processed foods if you aim to maintain healthy testosterone levels and overall well-being. Instead, it would be preferable to choose natural or minimally processed foods that provide more nutrients and antioxidants for your body's benefit.



While it is true that sugar is a basic form of carbohydrate that offers energy for your body's functions, an excessive intake of this substance can have detrimental effects on both your health and hormone balance. The consumption of sugar has the ability to cause sharp spikes in your blood sugar levels as well as increase insulin production within your body. Such occurrences are closely linked to weight gain resulting from amplified fat storage in various parts of the body.

In addition to this weight gain factor brought about by excess use or consumption of foodstuffs rich in sugar or sweets or confectionery factories (such as desserts), which may increase one's vulnerability to lower their free testosterone level while also increasing their likelihood of suffering reduced production rates of "sex hormone binding globulin" (SHBG), As such, men looking forward to having healthy free testosterone levels should be asked to minimize their intake of foods with high amounts of sugar, which encompasses the likes of bread, pastries, dairy products, and desserts. 

This proposition is premised on 2018 research conducted to ascertain different features of general health and wellness in men who consumed large quantities of sugar on a consistent basis. The study concluded that such men displayed a sharp drop in their testosterone levels in recent years.

 In addition, There was another study done to compare the testosterone levels of two groups of adult males. They were divided into two groups based on their sugar consumption. The group that ingested the higher amount had noticeably lower levels of free testosterone, unlike the group with a lesser intake. To this end, reducing overall sugar intake and volume alongside avoiding other sources of refined carbs and added sugars (complex carbohydrates) would be helpful if one is interested in maintaining a healthy level of 

Similarly, it will be advisable for you to consider increasing, or rather, making fruits, vegetables, and whole grains your go-to sources for getting more fiber and important nutrients since they tend to exert less stress on your blood sugar levels and insulin production.

Certain Nuts

Varieties of nuts_ kashew, hazelnuts, walnuts, pistachio and pecans

Nuts are a beneficial source of healthy fats, protein, fiber, and antioxidants. However, it is important to note that certain nuts may also contain phytoestrogens, which are plant compounds that can mimic estrogen's effects in the body. Some individuals hold the belief that consuming nuts can decrease testosterone levels by interfering with production or action. However, the evidence supporting this claim is not very robust. Various studies have yielded conflicting results; while some have demonstrated a potential decrease in testosterone levels among certain men who consume nuts, others have found no effect or even a slight increase. The impact of nuts on testosterone may hinge upon several factors, including the quantity and type of nuts consumed, the duration of intake, baseline hormone levels, and individual responses. Consequently, it is unlikely that moderate consumption of nuts would negatively affect your testosterone levels. Nevertheless. If you possess low testosterone or have concerns regarding hormone balance. It might be prudent to limit the intake of nuts containing higher quantities of phytoestrogens, such as walnuts, almonds, and pistachios.


In conclusion, The impact of certain foods on testosterone levels cannot be definitively determined. The effects on hormones can be influenced by several factors, including the quantity and type of food consumed, the duration of intake, baseline hormone levels, and individual responses. Nevertheless, there are some general recommendations for maintaining healthy testosterone levels while respecting your body:

  • Embrace a balanced diet that supplies adequate calories, protein, fats, and carbohydrates.
  • Incorporate testosterone boosters.
  • Restrict your consumption of refined carbs, added sugars, trans fats, and processed foods.
  • Incorporate healthy fats from monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) and saturated fatty acids (SFAs) into your diet.
  • Consume moderate amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) sourced from vegetable oils.
  • Avoid excessive or chronic alcohol intake.
  • Consume moderate amounts of soy products.
  • Limit your licorice root intake.
  • Include various nuts in your diet.

by adhering to these suggestions. You can enhance both your overall well-being and hormone balance concurrently with respectful self-care practices. However, it is crucial to consult a medical professional or healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment if you suspect you have low testosterone or a hormonal imbalance.

James Freeman


Liam Marshall, the friendly fitness coach, has spent 14 years sharing his love for sports and fitness. With degrees in sports science, he crafts workouts that fit like your favorite jeans. Beyond the gym, he organizes sports clinics and tech-savvy fitness apps that motivate people worldwide. He's all about making fitness doable for everyone, and it's not just about bodies – it's boosting confidence. In 2019, he scored the "Virginia Fitness Coach of the Year" award. Outside the fitness world, he loves family time and hikes in Shenandoah National Park. Liam's journey from a small-town fitness fan to a big-time coach is all about passion, inspiring people to see fitness as a body-and-mind thing. Catch him on Instagram to stay in the loop!