If you are having trouble losing or maintaining your weight, you may need to think about your testosterone levels. Men and women over the age of 30 may find that it is harder to lose fat than it used to be. This is often because of low testosterone levels.
Several things affect your body’s ability to produce testosterone. Some are obvious, while others are often overlooked. Even the foods we eat can make a difference one way or another.
The Role In Weight Loss
Testosterone is not a typical thermogenic. Thermogenics help you burn fat, in part, by raising your core temperature. This causes your body to burn fat even while at rest. Testosterone does not raise body temperature. It affects metabolism directly and causes your body to burn fat for energy.
As an added benefit, testosterone helps build lean muscle. Any dietician will tell you that you need to add lean muscle to effectively burn fat. A higher ratio of muscle to fat makes exercise a more efficient way to burn fat.
So now you see why a good testosterone level is important for weight loss. It not only helps burn fat, but it helps to add lean muscle mass. Regular exercise will maintain this new muscle mass and make it easier to keep the fat you lost from coming back.
Watch out for these less obvious things that can kill testosterone.
There isn’t really any evidence that testosterone replacement therapy can reduce stress, but there are studies that show stress kills testosterone production. This is due to cortisol.
You are exposed to estrogen-like chemicals every day. Some of these chemicals include:
- Some preservatives
- Hormones found in meat
Some of these chemicals mimic the effects of estrogen in the body. The best way to avoid these substances is to be aware of them and where they are found.
Phthalates are so widespread that 95 percent of Americans have detectable levels of it in their urine. You can’t avoid them entirely, but the most common sources of phthalates are anything that has any amount of artificial fragrance. Shampoo, laundry detergent, air fresheners and household cleaners are all culprits.
BPA and similar substances are often found in food packaging and reusable drinking bottles. Shop around and choose bottles advertised as being BPA-free.
Food preservatives and added hormones can kill testosterone as well. It is best to eat organic food whenever possible to avoid these additives.
Foods To Avoid
It surprises many to learn that some foods kill testosterone. But making smart food choices can be the easiest way to naturally protect your levels. Avoiding the following foods may help you lose weight by causing a rise in fat-burning testosterone.
Soy beans, and products made from them, have been shown to kill testosterone. They contain isoflavones that increase estrogen. The rise in estrogen levels means a reduction of testosterone. Soy can also hinder the thyroid’s ability to produce hormones. Men should definitely avoid soy.
Sugar causes the release of insulin. Higher sugar intake results in higher insulin levels. Insulin interferes with testosterone production. Avoid refined white sugar. It is absorbed by the body quicker than naturally-occurring sugars, which causes a sharper glucose spike and a sharper resulting spike in insulin.
This artificial sweetener has been found to kill testosterone. It is found in diet drinks, sugar substitutes and sugar-free chewing gum. Aspartame is sometimes recommended for weight loss because it is low-calorie. But if you have identified low testosterone as a cause of weight gain, you may be better off using healthy natural sugars in reasonable amounts instead of artificial sweeteners.
Flaxseed contains lignins that mimic the effects of estrogen in the body. Flaxseed oil is fine, because lignins adhere to fiber and do not carry over with the oil in the extraction process.
Try using the following healthy replacements for flaxseed in your cooking.
- Chia seeds – 3x less lignins than flaxseed
- Sesame seeds – 8x less lignins
- Hemp seeds – Much less lignin content
Cannabis is not often thought of as a food, but more and more people are using raw cannabis in their diet for its many benefits. But there may be a huge drawback. The main offender seems to be the psychoactive component, THC. Lower amounts of THC seem to raise testosterone levels while higher doses kill it.
Even moderate alcohol consumption can be harmful. Research has shown drinking to lower testosterone levels by almost seven percent.
Cold cuts are usually loaded with preservatives that can kill testosterone. Even minimally processed meat often comes from animals that have been treated with hormones. Avoid deli meats and look for products from untreated animals.
Residual pesticide found on fruit skins mimic the effects of estrogen. It is best to peel fruits or at least wash them before eating.
Your body needs healthy carbohydrates to deal with stress. Complex carbs are better than simple carbs because they raise insulin more slowly.
Studies show that licorice extract is detrimental to testosterone production. Use anise for that fantastic licorice flavor instead.
As if you needed another reason to avoid these partially hydrogenated oils, they inhibit testosterone production.
The bag’s lining contains a chemical, perfluorooctanoic acid, that lowers testosterone levels. The offending chemical may also be present in some microwave crisping trays.
It appears that only dark chocolate has been studied for its effect, but the research says that it has can reduce total levels.
Spearmint, wintergreen and other natural mint products lower testosterone. Use imitation mint flavorings instead, but make sure they are free of phthalates.
Beets have long been recommended for people who are trying to raise their estrogen. Avoid them at all costs.