We’re regularly told we should be eating less fat, consuming fewer carbs and exercising more. By now, we’re pretty familiar with what constitutes a healthy lifestyle, doing our best to stay consistent with our health and exercise regime.
But is there potential for a low fat diet to impact your sex drive? Is too much of a good thing damaging your libido?
Of course, there are good fats and plenty of bad fats around. Striking the right balance between dietary fat and testosterone levels may seem like a tricky balance to get right. But it doesn’t have to be.
With plenty of foods around to help boost your sex drive and your T levels, we take a closer look at how a low fat diet and testosterone may, or may not, work together.
What is being ‘healthy’?
Many of us see ‘being healthy’ very differently. Whether it’s daily exercise, cutting back on alcohol or opting for the stairs over the elevator, doing that extra bit can make a difference.
However, it doesn’t always feel like enough. Cutting back or cutting out vices completely can make a difference to our overall health, but low fat diets for men can appear very tempting – especially when they sell us the dream of achieving our perfect self.
It’s pretty easy to go to the extremes of dieting, especially when shakes and juices make food a simple need, over healthy enjoyment. Of course, the foodies among us couldn’t bear to think of replacing our favorite meals with a shake!
But when your focus is on getting lean in the gym and cutting every inch of fat, your body can take a hit. But just how are testosterone and fat related? Can your fat intake impact your testosterone levels and therefore your sex drive?
Plus, how can low testosterone impact you?
We take a closer look.
How low testosterone can affect you
When it comes to low testosterone, there are a variety of symptoms that may be flagging up low T levels, or an underlying health condition.
Striking the right balance between testosterone and fats that are healthy is key to hitting the sweet spot of optimum energy, health and a healthy libido. Having enough energy to perform in the gym and the bedroom is important for a man’s health and happiness.
But how can low testosterone levels impact your body? Low T is linked to a range of health problems, including:
- Irregular moods
- Body fat increase
- Cognition changes
- Reduced size in your testicles
- Lack of sex drive
- Hot flashes
- Hair loss
- Feeling fatigued
- Reduced semen
- Erectile dysfunction (ED)
- Reduced bone mass
While it can sometimes be tricky to identify the cause of low testosterone, the symptoms of low T could be flagging up other health concerns, including type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
Saturated fat and testosterone
Although our bodies require a level of healthy fats for energy and other functions, too much saturated fat can harm your health. Foods that are typically processed, or high in this type of fat include cakes (sorry, guys!), fatty cuts of meat, cookies, cheese and cured meats such as salami.
Cutting back on these stodgy, processed foods will lower your risk of high cholesterol within your arteries – which are crucial for sending blood flow down below.
Our bodies have a level of good and bad cholesterol, with saturated fat raising your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. But how are saturated fat and testosterone linked?
According to studies, obese men with impaired reproductive function typically have a diet high in saturated fat, with very few fruit and vegetables. The same study showed links between saturated fat and testosterone, as well as low sperm quality as a result of fatty acids within the testicular department.
So, if you want to protect your testosterone and your swimmers, cut back on this type of fat!
Low fat diets for men: Fat intake and testosterone
Naturally, after reading about saturated fat, it can be tempting to go to the extreme with a restrictive low fat diet. However, even this could be causing more harm than good.
You’re probably thinking, what do I do then… And the answer is, strike a balance. When your focus is narrowly examining every calorie you consume, I’d be surprised if there’s any time left in your mind to think about sex. And this is where your libido can take the brunt!
Whilst a diet low in saturated fat will certainly benefit your heart health and support blood flow down there, paying attention to the contents of the food you choose is more important. Many of us believe we are eating healthily by eating 5 cookies over 10, but if what’s in those cookies affects your bodily processes – it’s just not worth it!
For example, studies suggest that soy products can boost your estrogen levels and therefore lower your T levels.
To give your sexual performance a boost, check out our top foods to improve your sex life.
Fat intake and testosterone: Fuelling your body
When we view food as fuel, we’re more likely to maximize the healthy fats and nutrients our body needs. Not only to function, but to exercise and enjoy sex.
Saturated fats should be kept to a minimum. But let’s explore the relationship between fat intake and testosterone some more.
We already know that following a healthy, balanced lifestyle is good for our bodies, including our T levels. Since our hormones are somewhat made of fat (this includes our testosterone) we need some dietary fat to produce this crucial sex hormone in the first place.
No fat, or the wrong fats, can significantly harm your testosterone production. When you consume fatty foods, your arteries can become blocked, reducing blood flow – often resulting in erectile dysfunction (ED). So, instead of restricting your fat intake too much, we need to strike the right balance – allowing food to be healthy, enjoyable and supply energy for overall male health.
Testosterone and fat: Healthy fats
Many of us believe that all fats are bad, but this is a complete myth. Treating your food as fuel helps you to understand how food affects your body, functions and male health. Hitting the sweet spot of healthy foods, exercise and healthy fats will leave you feeling full of energy, focused, and your hormones well balanced.
When your hormones (including testosterone) are just right, you’ll also experience a healthy libido. When you’re following a low fat diet for men that is potentially too strict, you’re denying your body of crucial nutrients.
And when you have to dig deep to find the energy for sex, it’s just not going to happen.
So, what healthy fats should you be eating?
To ensure your body is getting the right type of fats, opt for foods such as walnuts, oily fish and walnuts – all of which support healthy testosterone production. When your T levels decrease, you may feel your sex drive take a nosedive.
Adding these foods into your diet can help give your T and libido the boost it needs!
Can a low calorie diet cause erectile dysfunction (ED)?
When you deny your bodies of the calories it needs to function, it’s not uncommon to have troubles in the bedroom.
When your body is lacking the fuel it requires, your testosterone levels can dip, resulting in erectile dysfunction and a lack of libido.
Also Read: Natural Ways to Get Harder in the Bedroom
Since fat intake and testosterone decreases can go hand in hand, it’s no surprise that following a low calorie diet that is too restrictive may result in ED.
As we mentioned previously, some dietary fat is needed to produce testosterone – so following a low calorie diet may cause erectile dysfunction if your body is not receiving enough.
Low fat diets and testosterone: Foods to boost sexual performance
So! By now, we’ve covered plenty regarding:
- Dietary fat and testosterone
- Fat intake and testosterone
- Saturated fat and testosterone
But what foods can you add into your diet that will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle, while boosting your sexual performance?
- Spinach, peppers and peaches – While these three don’t quite go together (yuck!), when added into a healthy diet these foods are packed with vitamin C – which is key to healthy sperm.
- Salmon, fortified milk and egg yolks – Vitamin D benefits our bodies in a variety of ways, including your erection and libido. If your low fat diet has low vitamin D, you could be at high risk of ED.
- Blueberries and oranges – Perfect foods for when you’re on the go, blueberries and oranges contain specific flavonoids that reduce your risk of ED.
- Whole grains, legumes and olive oil – As we’ve already covered, some healthy fat is an important part of our diets. These foods help to keep your arteries free of junk, reducing your risk of ED and low sex drive.
Should you follow a low fat diet for men?
If you’re carrying a little extra weight, slimming down will not only improve your overall health, but it will also help reduce your risk of ED. However, following a low fat diet that is too low, could impact your testosterone levels and your sex drive.
When your mind is on calorie counting and hitting the gym, there’s often little energy left for sex – especially when your body isn’t receiving enough fuel!
Allow yourself to have those occasional moments of indulgence, which help us to relax and give us a sense of release. That doesn’t mean chowing down on several takeaways a week, however (Sorry!).
The struggles of following a low fat diet may impact your mental health, too, with unnecessary stress causing havoc with our bodies. Striking the right balance of health, healthy fats and exercise is key!
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