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Testosterone killing foods

There are a number of testosterone killing foods.

These are the ones that can have a negative impact on your health, wellness and sex drive.

You’re here because you want to keep your hormone levels high and strong.

You want to reap the reward of bar-bending muscle strength, shredded abs and athleticism to rival any athlete. You want to enjoy the relentless sex drive and to feel energized with the rush of vigor and motivation for life.

It’a all down to the nutrients in your food.

If you want to learn more about which foods you should avoid and which can tear away at your masculinity and leave you overweight, weak and without your libido then read on.

Low Testosterone and Poor Health

Picture the most masculine man you can think of. What are his characteristics and what makes him stand out from the rest?

  • Chiseled jaw, broad shoulders, booming voice
  • Muscular arms and a barrel-like chest
  • An assertive, confident personality
  • Crushing athleticism and stamina

There’s only one reason that this man carries all of these traits… testosterone.

From puberty onward, your body produces levels of this anabolic hormone is high levels. And during your late teens and throughout your twenties you enjoy all of the benefits that come with it.

However, once you reach the age of thirty, your testosterone production begins to slow down.

It’s gradual, but without doing something about it, it’s inevitable.

Low testosterone causes long-term illness and even early death

By the age of forty five nearly half of men will have a condition called hypogonadism – Low T as it’s more commonly known.

And by sixty, most men will suffer the side effects of this condition.

The most worrying statistic of all though is this; the average age at which men are being diagnosed with hypogonadism is getting lower and lower.

Why is low testosterone such a bad thing?

Not only does low T spell disaster for your libido, sex drive, muscle mass, strength, stamina and physical performance, it can have a drastic effect on your health too.

Hypogonadism is a strong predictor of long-term wellness.

Even robust causation studies have found that low T is a big risk factor for high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease [1].

It’s even related to higher rates of diabetes, hypercholesteremia and metabolic syndrome too.

Worst of all though, low testosterone is linked to early death.

Men with levels below the minimum testosterone threshold of 241 ng.dL are as much as 40% more likely to die than men with optimal T levels [2].

Athletic man pumping up muscles on crossover

Testosterone Killing Foods and Why You Should Avoid Them

When it comes to optimizing hormone levels, diet is one of the key areas.

There are a number of testosterone-boosting foods, but there are also some that slash away at your androgen levels like a chainsaw through a tree.

Eat these on a regular basis and it’ll spell disaster for your hormones and push you ever closer to hypogonadism and a whole range of health problems.

Here are the testosterone killing foods you definitely want to avoid:

1. Licorice

This sweet, black-colored food comes from the root of the glycyrrhiza glabra plant and contains a bioactive saponin chemical called glycyrrhizin.

Because it’s so sweet (the name literally means ‘sweet root’), glycyrrhizin is used to flavor a range of foods such as candy, tobacco, alcoholic drinks, herbal teas and breath fresheners.

It’s even used in some medications too.

The problem is though that licorice is a testosterone killing food and should be avoided at all costs.

Studies have shown that licorice reduces T levels by as much as 40%, with glycyrrhizin being the culprit [3].

That’s not a one-off study either. Other research papers [4] have shown that even a small amount of glycyrrhizic acid – a metabolite of glycyrrhizin – can cause a drop in testosterone from 740 ng.dL to 414 ng.dL.

That’s not too far from the 240 ng.dL cut off for hypogonadism.

And finally, another study reported that when a group of volunteers were given 7 g licorice to eat, T levels were a full 26% lower – even after 7 days [5].

2. Alcohol

This is an unfortunate one because we all like a tipple from time to time.

To be honest though, an occasional drink probably isn’t going to do you harm; it’s more like when you hit the bottle on a regular basis that your T levels will take a hit.

Ethanol is the active ingredient in beer, wine and spirits that acts as a nervous system depressant. It slows down your bodily functions which is why you stagger around and slur your words when you’ve ha one too many.

Not only is alcohol nearly as calorific as fat (ethanol gives you 7 kcal per gram) it is also toxic in large amounts. It provides a lot of energy, but no nutrients.

Studies show that when it comes to testosterone, alcohol can be catastrophic. It is definitely one of the most potent testosterone killing foods.

For example, when one research project asked a group of healthy men to consume 1.75 grams of alcohol per kilogram of body weight, testosterone levels reduced for a full 24-hours after the drinking ‘binge’ [6].

Pint of Beer Reduces Testosterone

3. Soda

Good old soda. One of the largest consumed beverages in the world and loved by kids and adults alike.

Surely it can’t be bad for your hormones?

Well unfortunately yes it is.

Firstly they can contain numerous sugars – dextrose, sucrose, fructose and corn syrup. The average beverage can have as many as 8 teaspoons of the 4kcal per gram sweet stuff poured into it.

Why is soda on our list of testosterone killing foods?

Drinking sugary drinks can lead to over-consuming calories. By as much as 17% in some studies [7].

And as you’ll likely know, weight gain is one of the biggest causes of low T.

It’s also strongly linked with an increase risk of diabetes and heart disease too too.

4. Junk Food

The fast food industry is thriving.

It generates over $5 billion in sales each year and accounts for nearly 5% of annual gross domestic product.

When we’re talking about junk food we’re referring to any food that is high in calories, sugar or saturated fat and has little nutritional value.

Hamburgers, pizza, hot dogs and fried chicken are all junk.

Even sweet foods such as milk shakes, churros, cakes and candy are low in nutrients but high in calories. They’re junk too.

Men with less healthier diets have lower T levels. That’s a fact [8].

One study (using a huge sample of over 8,000 people) found that junk food increases exposure to phthalates – a group of chemicals used to make plastic.

And it’s these ‘plasticisers’ that have been seen in clinical trials to reduce T by as much as 30% [9].

Testosterone Lowering Junk Food

5. Vegetable Oils

Lastly we’ve got vegetable oils – in particular those high in polyunsaturated fat (PUFA).

Higher intakes of these increases your risk of a number of metabolic and inflammatory diseases:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes and high cholesterol
  • Irritable bowel disease
  • Some types of cancer

Cooking oils such as canola, safflower, olive and soybean have a low smoke point and often used refined ingredients.

Research shows that vegetable oils contribute to male infertility by reducing testicular tissue function, sperm motility and testosterone levels too [10].

Summary – testosterone killing foods to avoid

When it comes to boosting male hormone levels and keeping your body running at optimal levels, it’s all about nutrition.

These testosterone killing foods might be okay on an occasion, but shouldn’t form part of a regular diet for any man wanting to perform well and lead a healthy lifestyle.


  1. Zarotsky, V et al. Systematic literature review of the risk factors, comorbidities, and consequences of hypogonadism in men. Andrology. 2014; 2(6): 819-34
  2. Laughlin, GA et al. Low serum testosterone and mortality in older men. J Clin Endoc Metab. 2008; 93(1): 68-75
  3. Sakamoto, K et al. Inhibitory effect of glycyrrhetinic acid on testosterone production in rat gonads. Endocrinol. Japon. 1988, 35 (2), 333-342
  4. Armanini, D et al. Reduction of Serum Testosterone in Men by Licorice. N Engl J Med. 1999; 341: 1158
  5. Armanini, D et al. Licorice consumption and serum testosterone in healthy man. Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes. 2003; 111(6): 341-3
  6. Välimäki, MJ et al. Sex hormones and adrenocortical steroids in men acutely intoxicated with ethanol. Alcohol. 1984; 1(1): 89-93
  7. DiMeglio, DP et al. Liquid versus solid carbohydrate: effects on food intake and body weight. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2000; 24(6): 794-800
  8. Cardarelli, R et al. The Association of Free Testosterone Levels in Men and Lifestyle Factors and Chronic Disease Status: A North Texas Healthy Heart Study. Journal of primary care & community health. 2014; 5(3)
  9. Meeker, JD et al. Urinary phthalate metabolites are associated with decreased serum testosterone in men, women, and children from NHANES 2011-2012. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2014; 99(11): 4346-52
  10. Yan, L et al. Effect of different dietary omega-3/omega-6 fatty acid ratios on reproduction in male rats. Lipids in Health and Disease. 2013; 12:33