Low-fat diets decrease testosterone levels in men, which could increase risks of a whole host of health problems for men, a new study conducted at the University of Worceste warns.
The British researchers who conducted the research say low testosterone levels associated with an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer.
Collecting data from 206 men, who participated in the study, the researchers found that low-fat diets lowered testosterone levels by 10 to 15 percent.
The researchers found that the decrease in testosterone was higher for men who followed a low-fat diet – was up to 26 percent.
Low-fat diets often contain foods from whole grains and lean meats such as skinless chicken, fish, fruits, vegetables and legumes.
While these are healthy options, experts stress the importance of including fats in the diet for men. Fats are found in meat, nuts, and dairy products such as cheese and milk.
Ideally, men should consume lots of monounsaturated fats, which are found in olive oil, avocados and nuts, to increase their testosterone levels.
Importance of fats
While fat is an essential component of a healthy, balanced diet, experts generally advise not to overdo it with saturated fats found in butter, fatty meats, and desserts such as cakes and pastries.
The study indicates that too much fats in your diet, especially saturated fats, can raise your bad cholesterol, which also increases your risk of heart disease.
Testosterone is a male hormone and is made mostly in the testicles, but also in the adrenal glands near the kidneys.
Natural testosterone levels are essential for men’s athletic performance and mental and sexual health.
Controversy about fats
Acknowledging that dietary fat is a controversial topic in dietetics, the researchers also found that men of European descent may experience a greater decrease in testosterone, in response to a low-fat diet.
While the study indicates that low-fat diets seem to reduce testosterone levels in men, more randomized controlled trials are needed to confirm this effect, according to the lead study author.
The lead researcher Joseph Whittaker said, “Ideally, we would like to see a few more studies to confirm our results. However, these studies may never come, normally researchers want to find new results, not replicate old ones”.
“In the meantime, men with low testosterone would be wise to avoid low fat diets,” he adds.
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