9

votes

Does a high protein/ketogenetic diet lower testosterone levels?

Commented on April 09, 2015
Created December 24, 2010 at 8:43 PM

I came across an article that suggests high-protein diets and ketosis actually lower t-levels (italics and paragraph format mine, for emphasis):

"Some research on high protein diets deals with the effects on very obese people and weight loss. While this may not seem applicable to you, read on and we will put it together for you. In obese men, feeding 600 calories a day with 400 calories from protein (50 grams of beef protein and 50 grams of casein) induces lower levels of T than fasting does (12).

Normally, when the kidneys filter T out of the blood, some T gets reabsorbed back out of the kidneys into the blood. The researchers stated that the additional protein in the diet generated more ketones. They concluded that the ketones were filtered out of the blood by the kidneys and were reabsorbed back into circulation preferentially over T

While most people reading this may not be obese, higher protein diets are definitely in vogue, more so for bodybuilders and powerlifters than other groups of athletes. The potential exists that if a ketogenic diet like the Atkins Diet or a cyclical ketogenic diet like the Anabolic Diet or Bodyopus is followed, than urinary excretion of T will be greater during the ketogenic phase of the diet."

Admittedly, this was an article that came up after googling 'protein and testosterone levels', a search that provided links to some pretty rediculous testosterone diets. One recurring theme I did come across was that carbohydrate restriction (a side effect of paleo diet) will lower testosterone levels.

So:

  1. Does anyone know whether ketosis lowers t-levels?
  2. does anyone know whether low carbohydrate consumption lowers t-levels?
  3. does anyone know whether high protein consumption lowers t-levels?
  4. what are the biological mechanisms of testosterone production?

It seems like a lot of people doing paleo have seen increased, or at least normalized, libido and energy increases in general.

Thoughts?

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on December 28, 2010
at 11:08 PM

400 calories of protein is not particularly high, either.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on December 25, 2010
at 02:55 PM

IF doesnt mean restrict calories... I find it much more comfortable to feast and wait. We evolved on calorically dense foods. Make sure you are eating Calorically/Nutritionally dense foods when you do eat.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on December 25, 2010
at 12:02 PM

And it does. Most men I know who have tried CR have quit because it destroys their libido and other secondary sexual characteristics.

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on December 25, 2010
at 07:13 AM

When I started IF-ing, sometimes led to caloric restriction. I felt my T levels drop. Booze definitely does it as well.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on December 25, 2010
at 05:49 AM

I agree, Eva. It's part of why I took my weight loss so slowly. I had a lot of mental issues with food to fix (most obese people would) so rapid weight loss also leaves you unprepared to deal with the "real world" of food.

65125edd5aafad39b3d5b3a8b4a36bb7

(6092)

on December 25, 2010
at 03:12 AM

600 calories for the day? So this is caloric restriction and ketosis? Maybe the question should be, does caloric restriction lower T levels?

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4 Answers

4
4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

on December 25, 2010
at 04:38 AM

Any calorie restriction hurts T.

Protein helps supply cholesterol the building blocks for Testosterone. So not protein directly... Buy rather the higher cholesterol intake is going to encourage more testosterone.

There are a ton of other factors however. We are talking just base nutrient.

Gauging personal experience and libido, because I didn't test T repeatedly. I've found no decrease in ketosis. A large increase via large meat portions(and alot o dietary cholesterol). A little boost after heavy intensity exercise(8+ hrs later tho)

I noticed decreases when Cutting calories below metabolism. During the bulk of te weight loss before I figured out that calories weren't king, I had 0 drive.

More than 2 drinks dampens drive the following day.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on December 25, 2010
at 02:55 PM

IF doesnt mean restrict calories... I find it much more comfortable to feast and wait. We evolved on calorically dense foods. Make sure you are eating Calorically/Nutritionally dense foods when you do eat.

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on December 25, 2010
at 07:13 AM

When I started IF-ing, sometimes led to caloric restriction. I felt my T levels drop. Booze definitely does it as well.

3
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on December 25, 2010
at 03:23 AM

I would not suggest a diet that is very low in calories and also very low in fat with mostly protein. That's not a paleo diet (or at least not a good paleo diet) if you ask me and personally, I think it's dangerous for very obese people to eat such tiny amounts of calories. When heavy, you need a lot of calories just to stay healthy. The trick should be gradual weight reduction, not rapid starvation, which severely stresses a body that is probably not healthy in the first place. Such a diet on such a population is likely to cause all kinds of problems for all kinds of reasons.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on December 25, 2010
at 05:49 AM

I agree, Eva. It's part of why I took my weight loss so slowly. I had a lot of mental issues with food to fix (most obese people would) so rapid weight loss also leaves you unprepared to deal with the "real world" of food.

1
5de2fffda92c0bf2be7ede10cad55546

(1781)

on December 26, 2010
at 12:53 PM

If you want to maintain T levels get under some heavy iron and SQUAT and DEADLIFT. Works a treat..

8e546e08127ee4381a50fc4a89f827bc

on April 09, 2015
at 11:59 AM

Weights cost a lot of money, gyms cost too and are full of viruses, and idiots that spoil the fun of lifting heavy.  Bodyweight exercises are best, and protect your joints and heart!

1
5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on December 25, 2010
at 04:38 AM

Sounds like questionable "research" at best (or else there's missing information).

1) Low calorie/starvation diets are known to screw with your hormone levels. The clip you have doesn't really say what the diet was (other than the bulk is casein). No info on fat or carbs involved. They also don't say how well the subjects kept to the diet. If you've got a highly obese person and are giving them 600 calories, I'd say there's pretty good chance they're going to cheat on the diet.

Either way, I think you can definitively say it wasn't a paleo diet.

2) Ketones are not produced from protein. They're produced by the body burning fat instead of glucose. While high protein diets contribute to getting into Ketosis, you're better off with a high fat diet because the liver will create glucose from the protein. Not really sure if too much protein can knock you out of ketosis from gluconeogenesis though.

3) Testosterone is known to be affected positively by high fat diets. I personally think people see more of a testosterone boost on a paleo diet because they're also eating a lot more fat than before.

From the research info you gave, it really looks like they were trying to see if testosterone was negatively impacted more by starvation dieting vs fasting...

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