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Does Sugar Lower Testosterone?

Boosting your testosterone levels really is a great thing. Your muscles become dense, you have more energy throughout the day, you’ve got a better mood and your sex drive is through the roof.

But it’s not easy – and too much sugar is a common mistake most guys make.

There are three things you need for healthy testosterone levels:

  • A Good Diet
  • Regular Exercise
  • Healthy Lifestyle

Taking just one of these out the equation can make all the difference – and sugar is one of the worst ways to make that happen.

So, does sugar lower testosterone?

The short answer is yes, but there are several reasons why.

In this article we get to the bottom of sugar and testosterone and answer the following questions:

  • What do we mean by sugar?
  • Why does sugar lower testosterone?
  • What other problems can sugar cause?
  • What’s the best way to lower sugar intake?
  • Does this mean I shouldn’t be eating carbs?
  • What about foods labelled ‘Sugar-Free’?
  • The final word on Sugar and Testosterone

What do we mean by sugar?

There’s several types of sugar out there, so we need to be specific about which kind we’re talking about – Monosaccharides.

This is the most common form of sugar, also known as simple sugar. It’s what you’ll find in fruits, candy, processed foods, table sugar, sodas and more. It’s in a lot more foods than you think, and this is where the problems start.

There are many types of Monosaccharides; glucose, fructose and galactose. Essentially blood sugar, fruit sugar and milk sugar – but there’s a lot of overlap when it comes to processed food that can contain all 3.

It can all get a little complicated, but the main thing you should remember is that they all get converted by your body into glucose.does sugar lower testosterone

Why does sugar lower testosterone?

One word: Insulin.

After you’ve been eating food with a high sugar content, your body starts releasing the hormone insulin.

Insulin is the hormone produced in your pancreas that regulates the amount of glucose in your blood – basically it balances out your blood sugar levels.

However, in doing so insulin directly affects testosterone and lowers the male hormone significantly. The more insulin you’re producing the worse the overall effect will be.

There’s a huge undeniable link between high insulin and low testosterone, here are just a handful of the studies that you definitely need to know about:

Study #1: Caronia et al. [1]

This study is one of the most shocking when it comes to seeing the results between sugar and testosterone.

Involving 74 men, researchers gave each subject an oral load of 75g of pure glucose and monitored how their testosterone levels reacted. On average, each man experienced a significant drop of 25% in testosterone. 

In fact, the drop was so severe that 15% of the subjects had the levels of someone diagnosed with low testosterone – to the point that they could be prescribed synthetic testosterone.

Study #2: Iranmanesh et al. [2]

In this study, 57 men aged 19 – 78 were also given a large glucose load of 75mg – and the results were pretty much the same, however, one other factor was looked at – the Luteinzing Hormone (LH).

Not only did testosterone levels drop, but so did the men’s production of LH. LH is your body’s precursor to both testosterone and growth hormone. So by extension, eating too much sugar could also cause a drop in growth hormone.

Which is exactly what Lazi et al. found in their study. Higher insulin levels can significantly reduce your body’s supply of growth hormone. [3]

Study #3: Farias et al. [4]

All this talk about the negatives of sugar and testosterone go double if you are diabetic.

Long-term use of a lot of sugar can lead to insulin-resistance and type II Diabetes. Insulin resistance, is when you’ve spiked your insulin levels so frequently that your body has developed a tolerance to it and can’t use it effectively.

Without effective insulin, and sky-high blood sugar, your testosterone levels go through the floor – and so does your progress.

There are several ways you can treat Type II Diabetes, for example with a healthy diet, exercise and weight loss, but the best advice would be to consult with your doctor.low-testosterone-diabetes

Quick Summary: Sugar lowers testosterone because it spikes insulin. The higher your insulin levels, the lower your testosterone will be.

What other problems does sugar cause?

Not only does sugar lower your testosterone levels, there’s also a big list of other reasons why you should avoid using it in your diet.


Studies have shown that the sweet flavor of sugar sparks a dopamine release in your brain – this is the reward hormone. And as you consume it, you increase the amount of dopamine needed to reach that same high.

There’s proven evidence that you literally become addicted to sugar [5], and this is one of the reasons people struggle with dieting and believe they “just can’t help themselves”.

Useless Calories

Another problem with sugar is that it is the prime example of ’empty calories’. It contains no vitamins, minerals, proteins or fats, it has no nutritional value.

It’s nothing but a short-term high – and people consume it every day.

It has a Toxic Effect

No matter what your body is like, or what your diet is it can always be improved by lowering your sugar intake.

In a study by Lustig et al., [6] researchers took a group of 43 obese children with various metabolic disorders. Each child averaged around 28% of their diet to be nothing but sugar.

Researchers kept the childrens’ unhealthy caloric intake the same but reduced their sugar content to just 10% for a period of 9 days. The sugar was replaced with starches and carbohydrates.

After 9 days there was a significant reduction in blood pressure, triglycerides (a fat in the blood), bad cholesterol, insulin (which was down by a third), and improved results on fasting glucose and liver function.

They had the same amount of calories, but with less sugar. Their health improved significantly – and all it took was nine days.

Other problems

As we’ve already covered sugar can play a big part in the cause of Type II Diabetes, but it has also been linked to cancer.

This stems back to elevated insulin levels. If you’re constantly peaking your insulin, you risk unregulated cell growth which can greatly increase your risk of mutation, which in turn can lead to cancer. [7]

And we haven’t even mentioned what this stuff can do to your teeth.dangers-of-sugar

Quick Summary: Sugar does more than lower testosterone, it’s also addictive, contains no nutrients, acts like a toxin and can even cause Type II Diabetes and cancer.

What’s the best way to lower my sugar intake?

Sugar is sneaky and it’s in more foods than you realize.

There must be thousands of tips out there on how to lower your sugar intake, so here are just a few of the easier ones to get you started:

Avoid Processed Food

Processed food manufacturers love using sugar in their foods. It’s an effective preservative, thickens up texture and people can’t resist it.

It’s one of the main reasons people love junk food so much. It’s in burgers, candy, ketchup, frozen yogurt and even most cereals.

The next time you’re out grocery shopping check the nutritional profile of your usual options – we guarantee you’ll be surprised.

Also try to keep clear of foods labelled ‘fat-free’, the trick here is they usually substitute the fatty ingredients for sugar and sweeteners. Which can throw a big right hook at your testosterone levels.

Do your own cooking

If you don’t want to accidentally sabotage yourself, cooking all your own food is the way to go.

You can make sure all the food you select are clean and organic. Sure it takes a little longer to shop out those ingredients and scrutinize every label. But if you want to stay healthy, and get into the best shape of your life long-term – this is your best option to achieve it.

Cut out the sodas & Careful on the Tea and Coffee

We don’t need to tell you that sodas are awful for you. Full of sugar, chemicals and sweetners, they’re bad for your teeth, and they’re bad for your overall health.

But tea and coffee can be just as bad.

If you’re a fan of fruit tea, listen up. Many kinds of herbal fruit teas have been known to contain sugar in them – they do this to intensify they’re fruity flavor, but as still known to market the tea as an implied healthy choice.

When it comes to coffee, creamer can be your worst enemy. Although some people think as it as a healthier option to dairy, (or just what you use with coffee), the sugar content in some of these products are through the roof.

The best alternative to all of these drinks is Green Tea. You can get it both caffeinated and decaffeinated, it contains no sugar and can drank hot or cold. It also contains catechins which promotes norepinephrine, the fat burning hormone. It’s the ultimate alternative.

When in doubt – Veg Out

Snacks are the easiest way to get sugar into your system, and if you want to cut down sugar – you need to put a stop to them.

We all get hungry throughout the day, but you don’t have to ruin your diet in the process. A good way to satisfy those cravings without letting heavy artificial sugars get in the way is vegetables.

Plenty of greens are great for filling up your stomach cutting down on those urges to go sweet. Vegetables contain only natural sugars and are full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. If you want to take your testosterone to the next level, you need to switch up your snacks.vegetables-as-a-snack

Quick Summary: There are multiple ways you can cut down on sugar. Use common sense and read the labels of foods before you eat them, if they seem to be high in sugar, step away. Vegetables are always a safe option.

Does this mean I shouldn’t be eating carbs?

Of course you can still eat carbs – they’re essential for testosterone production.

All you need to do is be picky about which ones you eat – because some are definitely better than others. Donughts, fries, poptarts are obviously high carb, but so are oats, potatoes, and beets.

The difference is one contains simple sugars (like the table sugar we’ve talked about) and the other takes a more complex route being packed with nutrients, vitamins and minerals.

Go for natural grain, wholemeal and “brown” foods. These are your complex carbs, and the option you should be looking for when you need to increase your energy levels and recovery.

Quick Summary: Healthy, wholemeal carbs are essential to a healthy diet, energy and workout recovery.

What about ‘Sugar-Free’ labelled food?

Sugar-free, Zero and Diet editions of regular foods should not be trusted.

Whenever sugar has been left out, chemicals and additives have been brought in. The biggest example you’ll come across for this is aspartame – an infamous sweetener.

Aspartame makes up over 75% of the reports to the FDA regarding adverse reactions to food additives – and it’s in most of these diet products.

Alternatives that they sometimes use like sucralose (also known as Splenda) are no better – as there is a fear it could still spike insulin. In one study sucralose was seen to activate the taste buds’ sweet receptors – which produced incretin hormones which lead to insulin being released.

However, this is the only study that shows this, but why take the unnecessary risk?

Stick to natural foods, avoid unpleasant side effects and eat healthy – your testosterone levels will thank you.sweetener-and-testosterone

Quick Summary: ‘Diet’ alternatives of products, throw out the sugar and replace it with chemicals and sweeteners which have been linked to a list of problems. Be wary of ‘low-fat’, ‘sugar-free’ and ‘zero’ products.

Sugar and Testosterone: Does it lower T-Levels?


Sugar is a serious problem for the human diet, sugar does lower your testosterone levels and depletes your overall health. By spiking insulin levels, sugar directly interferes with testosterone production and can plummet your progress – to the point in some studies, subjects using sugar were reaching diagnosed levels of ‘low testosterone’. 

The evidence is conclusive, and exposing yourself to high insulin for too long can lead to Type II Diabetes, and Cancer. It has no positive effect whatsoever, its only nutritional value is in calories.

There a host of reasons why you shouldn’t be consuming sugar, and only one reason why you think you should: it tastes nice.

At the end of the day it all depends what matters more to you: instant gratification, or high testosterone, faster recovery and rippling muscle?


[1] Caronia LM, Dwyer AA, Hayden D, Amati F, Pitteloud N, Hayes FJ., Abrupt decrease in serum testosterone levels after an oral glucose load in men: implications for screening for hypogonadism., Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2013 Feb;78(2):291-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2265.2012.04486.x.

[2] Iranmanesh A, Lawson D, Veldhuis JD. Glucose ingestion acutely lowers pulsatile LH and basal testosterone secretion in men. American Journal of Physiology – Endocrinology and Metabolism. 2012;302(6):E724-E730. doi:10.1152/ajpendo.00520.2011

[3] Lanzi R, Luzi L, Caumo A, Andreotti AC, Manzoni MF, et al. (1999) Elevated insulin levels contribute to the reduced growth hormone (GH) response to GH-releasing hormone in obese subjects.Metabolism 48:1152–1156.

[4] Javier M. Farias, Matias Tinetti, Marina Khoury, Guillermo E. Umpierrez. Low Testosterone Concentration and Atherosclerotic Disease Markers in Male Patients With Type 2 Diabetes. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2014; jc.2014-2585 DOI: 10.1210/jc.2014-2585

[5] Avena NM, Rada P, Hoebel BG. Evidence for sugar addiction: Behavioral and neurochemical effects of intermittent, excessive sugar intake. Neuroscience and biobehavioral reviews. 2008;32(1):20-39. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2007.04.019.

[6] Lustig, R. H., Mulligan, K., Noworolski, S. M., Tai, V. W., Wen, M. J., Erkin-Cakmak, A., Gugliucci, A. and Schwarz, J.-M. (2015), Isocaloric fructose restriction and metabolic improvement in children with obesity and metabolic syndrome. Obesity. doi: 10.1002/oby.21371

[7] Boyd DB. Insulin and cancer. Integr Cancer Ther. 2003;2:315–329.