Keto Diet Increases Testosterone

by Benjamin Bunting BA(Hons) PGCert

Ben Bunting BA(Hons) PGCert Sports and Exercise Nutrition Level 2 Strength and Conditioning CoachWritten by Ben Bunting: BA, PGCert. (Sport & Exercise Nutrition) // British Army Physical Training Instructor // S&C Coach.

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Diet fads are everywhere these days. There are too many for us to keep track of. Many of these diet fads make very appealing claims.

However, it is important to verify whether the science behind them can be backed up.  

It is believed that the keto diet will help you burn fat without having to start with carbs. Some people also claim that keto is linked to testosterone. But, can this be true? Find out now... 

  • What is a ketogenic diet?
  • Can the keto diet boost testosterone levels?
  • How does the ketogenic diet affect the body?
  • What can you eat on the Keto diet?
  • Potential issues
  • Conclusion

What is the Keto Diet?

In recent years the ketogenic diet is become more popular, partly due to all of the claims made about it. 

People may start the ketogenic diet to lose weight quickly, improve their mental and cognitive health or control their appetite. 

The Keto diet is based on eating a minimum of carbs and consuming more protein and fat. 

This is based on the idea that when you don't have an excess of carbohydrates that your body normally uses as energy, then it will start to utilize fat stores to give you energy to get through your day. 

You'll likely feel uncomfortable during the first couple of days after you stop eating carbs. It is during this time that ketosis will begin. Your body is more effective at burning fat during ketosis. 

If your body does not have stored carbohydrates it will be unable to utilize its usual source of energy, glucose. 

Your body is forced to use ketones instead of glucose. Ketones are thought to be more efficient and provide a "cleaner" source of energy for the body. 

You will definitely burn more calories if you use ketones. Some of the claims are interesting, such as ketosis increasing testosterone. 

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Can the keto diet boost testosterone levels?

Diet and hormone health are closely linked. For example, low-calorie diets are known for suppressing the production of testosterone and other hormones by the body. 

However, the ketogenic diet isn't considered to be a diet low in calories and works quite differently. 

By reducing calories and fat, overweight people are likely to see a positive change in their hormone health. It is because of this that many people believe that the ketogenic diet will boost testosterone. 

The opposite is also possible: Rapid weight loss can lead to a drop in serum testosterone in healthy people. 

It is possible that the body needs glucose to make testosterone. The ketogenic diet could have the exact opposite effect on those who are trying to increase testosterone. 

One of the reasons that cholesterol is needed for testosterone synthesis is because it's necessary to have a high level.

Keto Testosterone Study

A 2020 study found that young men who incorporated the ketogenic diet with resistance training saw increases of testosterone compared to those who consumed a typical Western diet.

"The KD can be used in combination with resistance training to cause favourable changes in body composition, performance, and hormonal profiles in resistance-trained men."

A meta-analysis published in 2022 also concluded that the ketogenic diet improved testosterone levels, although the exact mechanisms are still not known. 

How does the ketogenic diet affect the body?

The keto diet has a variety of advantages. 

Weight loss

First and foremost, people choose the ketogenic lifestyle to lose weight. 

Your body can burn more fat if you reduce the intake of the body's normal fuel source, as it starts to use fat for energy instead.

This may help you lose body fat faster, giving you a toned look.  

Energy levels

You can accomplish more during the day with more energy. Also, it will make you more motivated. And, the best part for most people, this will also boost your sexual performance. 

The leto diet can provide sustainable energy. The energy derived from fat is more likely to be used slowly, unlike the energy derived from carbohydrates, which are consumed quickly. 

The ketogenic diet is more likely to improve energy in obese people. 

Focus and concentration

The ketogenic diet has been reported to improve concentration and focus. 

There aren't many studies on how the ketogenic diet can improve concentration.

However, some research suggests that the diet may help prevent cognitive disorders like Alzheimer's.  

What can you eat on the Keto diet?

This diet has a very low carbohydrate content and is high in fats and protein. 

It can limit what you are able to consume: for example, if you restrict your carbohydrate intake by 20-50 grams per day, you will be restricted from eating white bread and processed sugars. 

You can easily fit a lot of foods into your ketogenic diet to maximize health and performance. You can boost your testosterone with some of the keto foods. 

Seafood

Many seafoods work well with the ketogenic diet. These seafoods are high in protein and fat and have low carbohydrates. Clams, mussels and salmon oily fish are all great choices.

Non-starchy vegetables

Avoid starchy vegetables like potatoes. They are very high in carbohydrates. Other vegetables contain fibre, which can keep you feeling full for a longer period.

Cheese

It is very high in protein and fat and has very little carbs. The cheese is high in saturated fat. If you want to connect the keto diet with testosterone, you will need a lot of this fat.

Eggs 

They are also an excellent source of both cholesterol and protein, which is important in the production of cholesterol. 

Eggs are also low in carbs, with each egg containing less than one gram. This makes them an excellent choice for those on a ketogenic diet.

Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are a great source of nutrition for vegans and vegetarians. They're also a good choice of foods to eat on the Keto diet. The minerals in nuts and seeds make them a great option. 

Potential problems with the keto diet

We have already mentioned that if you take the ketogenic lifestyle too far, it can lead to a variety of problems. 

We have already discussed that one of the biggest risks is that your testosterone levels can decrease. It's obvious that this is not something you want. This is most likely to happen if your ketogenic diet goes too far, and you are depriving yourself of food.  

The keto diet can also cause a variety of problems, regardless of testosterone. Some may appear during the first few days when people are experiencing 'keto flu', while others may continue to occur. 

  • Pain and cramps in the muscles
  • Bad breath
  • Constipation or diarrhoea
  • Decreased energy levels

Furthermore, there are limited studies that show following a ketogenic diet can improve athletic performance. Sports nutritionists would recommend that you fuel your exercise using carbohydrates.

Conclusion

The research shows a positive correlation between the ketogenic diet and testosterone.

However, following this diet, most likely will not lead to performance or athletic performance benefits. 

 

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