Got low T on the brain? Dudes, if you’re low in the sex hormone testosterone, you might experience a decreased sex drive, a drop in sperm count, decreased muscle and bone strength, and low energy.

So what gives? Well, what’s on your plate might actually be killing your testosterone levels.

What foods *might* kill testosterone levels?

Some foods linked to lower testosterone levels:

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What you eat can impact many areas of your health, including your hormones. Here’s everything you need to know about which foods might kill or boost testosterone levels.

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Since diet and testosterone go hand in hand, here are some foods and drinks you may want to nix from your grocery list.

1. Soy

Foods like tofu, edamame, and soy protein isolate contain phytoestrogens. These plant-based substances are similar structurally to the hormone estrogen and can act similarly to it as well.

But even though soy has been heavily researched, there’s still a lot of debate as to how soy foods might eff with your hormones.

A 2013 study found that men who drank 20 grams of soy protein isolate per day for 14 days had lower testosterone levels than those who drank whey protein isolate or a placebo.

But a similar 2018 study in which men drank a soy protein supplement found no altered hormone levels.

While research remains inconclusive, it may be a good idea to avoid or eat only moderate amounts of soy products if you have low testosterone.

2. Baked goods

One muffin, doughnut, or piece of pie isn’t going to make your testosterone levels plummet. But if those foods are regularly part of your diet, it could be an issue for your testosterone.

A 2018 study found that men who consumed high amounts of breads and pastries, dairy products, and desserts had low total testosterone levels.

This type of diet is also linked to increased visceral fat (the kind that hangs around your belly) and high insulin levels. And those issues, in turn, can suppress your total testosterone levels.

It’s also not uncommon for baked goods to contain trans fat, which can potentially lower testosterone as well (more on that later).

3. Alcohol

If you’re a fan of beer, wine, or other alcoholic bevvies, you may be hindering your testosterone levels.

According to a 2019 review, men who drink alcohol heavily have low-normal to low testosterone levels. This is a result of alcohol’s ability to hinder enzymes that help form testosterone, which was noted in a 1980s study.

In this study, healthy volunteers were given an amount of ethanol equal to a pint of whiskey each day for 30 days. They all had a drop in testosterone levels after 72 hours. And after 30 days, their levels were similar to those of heavy drinkers.

Sip in moderation

Low to moderate alcohol intake doesn’t seem to make a big impact, so you’re in the clear if you’re only hitting happy hour on occasion.

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4. Licorice root

Licorice root is an herb often used in candy, beverages, and tobacco products for its sweet flavor. It’s also available as a tea or supplement.

It’s not entirely known how much of an impact licorice root has on testosterone. The existing research is limited and a bit outdated and was mainly done on animals.

A 2003 study found that men who consumed 7 grams of licorice root daily for 1 week had a 26 percent decrease in testosterone levels.

And a 2016 animal study found that a chemical compound in licorice stopped the production of sex steroid hormones, including testosterone. But again, this is not totally conclusive for humans.

5. Vegetable oils

Vegetable oil is a pantry staple for many people who follow a standard Western diet. Cooking oils labeled as a vegetable oil are typically a combination of various oils such as:

  • canola
  • corn
  • olive
  • peanut
  • safflower
  • soybean
  • sunflower

These oils contain certain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids that may be linked to low testosterone levels.

A 2019 study in overweight men with hypogonadism (failure of the testes to function properly) found that meals containing these fats significantly reduced serum testosterone production.

The study recommends men avoid a diet high in these fats to keep testosterone levels in check, but more research is needed.

6. Trans fat and processed foods

Small amounts of trans fat are found naturally in meat and dairy products. But it can also make its way into your diet via processed and fast foods.

Trans fat is often labeled “partially hydrogenated oils” (PHOs)🍟. However, in 2018 the Food and Drug Administration actually banned artificial trans fats from being added to foods.

This ban should pretty much be in effect at this point, but artificial trans fat can still show up in some processed foods. Food companies are still allowed to list foods with less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving as containing 0 grams. So you can often find some trans fat in fried foods.

Trans fat may increase your risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease *and* decrease testosterone levels. A 2017 study found that young, healthy Spanish men who consumed trans fatty acids had lower total testosterone levels.

7. Sugar

The impact sugar can have on health — including on testosterone levels — isn’t always sweet.

In a 2018 study in 20- to 39-year-old males, participants who drank large amounts of sugar-sweetened beverages had a higher chance of low testosterone levels.

However, the same study found that body mass index (BMI) was a factor. Participants with a BMI of 25 or greater also tended to have low testosterone levels.

8. Certain nuts

Aw, nuts! Walnuts and almonds *might* impact testosterone levels.

Deez nuts increase your levels of a substance called hormone binding globulin (SHBG), which carries testosterone and other hormones throughout your body. If your levels of SHBG are too high, there’s less free testosterone available.

But we need more research to conclude whether men should avoid certain nuts to keep testosterone levels regular. The available studies are older and often focused on women.

A 2011 study in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (a condition that increases female testosterone levels) found that consuming walnuts and almonds increased SHBG by 12.5 percent and 16 percent, respectively.

Nope! Despite what you might have seen elsewhere on the internet, bananas or your fave caffeinated beverage won’t affect testosterone levels.

A 2019 study found that caffeine intake was not linked with testosterone levels. And according to a 2016 study in rats, the vitamin C content in that ’nanner may actually increase testosterone.

Enough about what kills testosterone. Here are some foods that might help give ya a boost.

1. Egg yolks

Remember back in the ’80s when no one wanted to eat egg yolks because of their cholesterol content? Research now suggests cholesterol can be converted to vitamin D, steroid hormones, and sex hormones — including testosterone.

2. Salmon, tuna, and sardines

Take your pick of any fatty fish you desire. A 2020 study found that a DHA-enriched fish oil supplement increased total testosterone levels in males.

3. Beans and legumes

Beans might make you toot and help out your testosterone. A 2021 study found that diets low in beans and legumes were associated with lower testosterone and poor testicular function.

4. Oysters

Oysters are high in zinc. And according to a 2018 review, this important mineral can help keep testosterone levels balanced. Oysters are also considered an aphrodisiac — so it’s a win-win 😉.

5. Beef

Beef is another zinc-filled food. The World Cancer Research Fund recommends opting for leaner cuts and eating only about 3 portions per week (about 12 to 18 ounces total).

Many factors beyond food can influence testosterone levels, including:

  • aging
  • sedentary lifestyle
  • chronic use of tobacco, marijuana, or other drugs
  • obesity
  • diabetes

Aging is a part of life, of course, but you may be able to have an impact on some of those other factors. Help get those T levels pumped up by:

What you eat plays a huge role in all aspects of your health, including hormone levels.

While the connection isn’t completely certain, some foods have been linked with low testosterone levels, while some other foods might help boost them.

Before you make a drastic diet change, always check with your doc or a dietitian to make sure you’re still meeting your nutritional needs.