What Foods Kill Testosterone? (Top 10 Testosterone-Killing Foods)

Certain foods have the ability to negatively impact testosterone production and function in the body. Learn the top testosterone killing foods to start avoiding.

The Promescent Team
Hands on, practical experience – this is our expertise
by The Promescent Team Last updated 03/13/2024
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Creating a diet that supports hormonal balance is crucial for overall health. It's especially true when it comes to testosterone levels.

Certain foods have the ability to negatively impact testosterone production and function in the body.

Testosterone is a hormone that plays a role in masculine characteristics, such as muscle mass and hair growth.

Some of the symptoms of low testosterone include mood wings, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating.

Different foods that can kill testosterone include soy products, dairy products, and processed foods.

From processed foods filled with chemicals to sugary treats and alcohol, the list of testosterone-killing foods is varied and vast.

In this guide, we'll go over the top foods that should be avoided to maintain ideal testosterone levels. You'll learn to make informed dietary choices for hormonal health and well-being.

What is Testosterone and Why it's Important

Testosterone is a vital hormone, primarily produced in the testes for men and the ovaries for women. Small amounts are also produced in the adrenal glands.

It plays a key role in male development and masculine characteristics, such as muscle mass, bone density, and the growth of body hair.

But testosterone isn't solely about physical traits; it also contributes to:

  • Libido

  • Mood regulation

  • Cognitive function

  • Overall energy levels

Maintaining proper testosterone levels is essential for general health and well-being.

It influences various bodily systems, making its balance critical not just for sexual health but also for cardiovascular function, weight management, and muscle strength.

When testosterone levels fall below normal, individuals may experience symptoms like fatigue, depression, decreased sexual desire, and a reduction in muscle mass.

Therefore, understanding what foods kill testosterone can be a significant step in safeguarding hormonal health.

Signs and Symptoms of Low Testosterone

Low testosterone can manifest through a variety of signs and symptoms that may affect an individual's quality of life.

Men may experience a decrease in sex drive, erectile dysfunction, and reduced sperm count. Both men and women with low testosterone levels can suffer from:

  • Fatigue

  • Mood swings

  • Difficulty concentrating

Physical changes may include increased body fat, decreased muscle mass, and reduced bone density, which can increase the risk of osteoporosis.

Other symptoms include a loss of body hair, hot flashes, and in some cases, development of breast tissue in men, known as gynecomastia.

Sleep disturbances such as insomnia or increased sleepiness can also be a sign of hormonal imbalance.

It's important to note that these symptoms can result from a variety of health issues, not just low testosterone, so medical advice should be sought for accurate diagnosis and treatment.

Given how serious low testosterone can be, it's important to know the foods that cause it. Here are some of the top testosterone-killing foods.

Identified Testosterone Killing Foods to Avoid

1. Soy Products

Soy products have been at the center of the debate regarding their impact on testosterone levels. Examples of these foods include:

  • Tofu

  • Edmame

  • Soy milk

These soy products contain phytoestrogens, which are plant-derived compounds that can mimic the effects of estrogen in the body.

High levels of phytoestrogens from soy are theorized to potentially disrupt the body's normal hormone function, leading to a decrease in testosterone.

While some studies suggest that soy might influence hormone levels, the evidence is not conclusive. Many of these studies have been conducted on animals or in vitro, and human studies often show conflicting results.

However, it's generally agreed that moderate consumption of soy products is unlikely to have significant effects on testosterone levels for most people.

Still, individuals concerned about their hormone levels may choose to limit their intake of soy products as a precautionary measure.

2. Processed Foods

Processed foods are often packed with unhealthy ingredients that can harm testosterone levels.

These foods typically contain high amounts of preservatives, and additives that can disrupt hormonal balance.

Additionally, processed foods are usually high in sodium and simple sugars, which can lead to weight gain and increased body fat.

As body fat increases, particularly visceral fat around the abdomen, it can convert testosterone into estrogen, further reducing free testosterone levels.

Moreover, many processed foods contain phthalates, chemicals used to make plastics that have been linked to hormonal disruptions in the body.

Choosing whole, unprocessed foods over packaged goods is a simple way to avoid these testosterone-killing ingredients and support hormonal health.

3. Mint

Mint, particularly spearmint and peppermint, is commonly used for its refreshing flavor and potential digestive benefits.

However, research has suggested that consuming high amounts of mint may have an adverse effect on testosterone levels.

Studies have found that mint can reduce testosterone levels. It's potentially due to its anti-androgenic properties, which can suppress the release of this hormone.

While the occasional use of mint in teas or as a flavoring is unlikely to cause significant hormonal shifts, excessive consumption is something to consider for those concerned about their testosterone levels.

It's especially relevant for individuals with conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), where managing testosterone levels is often a part of treatment strategies.

As with many dietary components, moderation is key. Further research is needed to fully understand the impact of mint on testosterone in humans.

4. Alcohol

Alcohol's role in testosterone production is significant, with several studies highlighting its negative impact.

Heavy and chronic alcohol consumption can lead to a decrease in testosterone levels due to ethanol's toxic effect on the testes, where testosterone is produced.

Alcohol use can also cause the liver to become less efficient at metabolizing hormones. That inefficiency can result in an estrogenic state, further inhibiting testosterone synthesis.

Furthermore, alcohol can induce sleep disturbances. Poor sleep quality is known to reduce testosterone levels.

It can also contribute to weight gain, particularly around the abdomen. That not only affects testosterone but also raises the risk of developing related health issues.

Reducing alcohol intake can thus be a beneficial step for those looking to maintain or increase their testosterone levels, as well as improving overall health and wellness.

5. Dairy

Dairy products are essential in many people's diets but may have a complex relationship with testosterone levels.

Cows' milk contains natural hormones and bioactive molecules, as it is designed to promote growth in calves.

These hormones can potentially influence human hormonal balance, including testosterone levels.

In addition to naturally occurring hormones, commercial dairy may contain synthetic hormones and other compounds used to increase milk production, which could further impact testosterone.

Some studies have suggested that these exogenous hormones could mimic estrogen, potentially reducing testosterone production in men.

It's also worth noting that dairy can be a source of saturated fats. These fats, in excessive amounts, might negatively affect testosterone.

Individuals concerned about hormonal health might opt for dairy alternatives or choose dairy from sources that are hormone-free.

As research is still ongoing, moderation and awareness are advisable when it comes to dairy consumption and testosterone levels.

6. Vegetable Oils

Certain vegetable oils, particularly those high in polyunsaturated fats like corn, soybean, and cottonseed oil, might influence testosterone levels.

These oils contain a high proportion of omega-6 fatty acids, which, when consumed in large amounts, can lead to inflammation and potentially disrupt hormonal balance, including the production of testosterone.

While the body requires both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, the typical Western diet is leans heavily towards omega-6.

This imbalance may have a cascading effect on testosterone synthesis due to the inflammatory response that can ensue from excessive omega-6 fatty acid consumption.

Choosing healthier fats, such as olive oil, coconut oil, or fats from whole foods like nuts and avocados, can help maintain a more favorable omega-6 to omega-3 ratio and support overall hormonal health.

It is also beneficial to read labels and be mindful of the types of oils used in processed foods.

7. Bread and desserts

Many types of bread, desserts, and other baked goods arehigh in sugars, which can have a big impact on testosterone levels.

When consumed in excess, these foods lead to rapid spikes in blood sugar and insulin, which can negatively affect testosterone production.

The high sugar content in these foods can also contribute to weight gain and increased body fat, which is associated with lower testosterone levels.

Additionally, the gluten found in many breads has been suggested to cause inflammation in some individuals. This inflammation potentially affects hormonal balance.

Opting for whole-grain alternatives and moderating the intake of sugary desserts can be beneficial for maintaining healthy testosterone levels.

Choosing complex carbohydrates that provide more sustained energy release and have a lower glycemic index can also help in regulating insulin levels and supporting overall hormonal health.

8. Trans fats

Trans fats are a type of unsaturated fat that have been hydrogenated to extend the shelf life of certain foods. They're commonly found in:

  • Margarine

  • Fried foods

  • Processed snacks

  • Baked goods

Trans fats are well-known for their negative impact on heart health but also play a role in diminishing testosterone levels.

The consumption of trans fats has been linked to increased inflammation and insulin resistance. Both can lead to lower testosterone production.

They disrupt the lipid membranes of cells, including those of the Leydig cells in the testes, which are responsible for producing testosterone. This disruption can impair the cells' ability to effectively synthesize the hormone.

Avoiding foods with trans fats by checking nutrition labels and ingredient lists is crucial for maintaining not only cardiovascular health but also proper hormonal balance.

Opting for natural, unprocessed fats can help protect and promote healthy testosterone levels.

9. Refined carbohydrates

Refined carbohydrates are prevalent in many diets and have a direct link to lower testosterone levels.

These high-glycemic foods cause rapid spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels, which can lead to a host of metabolic issues, including decreased testosterone.

Moreover, diets high in these kinds of carbohydrates often lead to weight gain and increased fat accumulation, especially around the midsection.

This can exacerbate the problem, as adipose tissue has the enzyme aromatase, which converts testosterone into estrogen, further depleting available testosterone.

Opting for complex carbohydrates with lower glycemic indexes, such as whole grains, legumes, and vegetables, can help maintain stable blood sugar levels and support healthy testosterone levels.

This dietary approach not only aids in hormonal balance but also promotes overall health.

10. Licorice Root

Licorice root is often used as a sweetener in candies and beverages and for its medicinal properties in various cultures.

However, it contains a compound called glycyrrhizin, which studies have shown can significantly decrease testosterone levels in men when consumed in large amounts.

Glycyrrhizin affects testosterone by inhibiting the enzyme 17-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase, which is involved in testosterone production.

Research indicates that even short-term consumption of licorice can lead to noticeable decreases in testosterone levels.

While small amounts of licorice root are unlikely to have a dramatic effect, regular consumption, particularly of licorice extract, could potentially impact hormonal health.

For individuals concerned about maintaining healthy testosterone levels, it may be prudent to limit the intake of licorice root and be mindful of its presence in herbal supplements and other products that might not immediately be associated with licorice flavoring.

How Quickly Can These Foods Affect Testosterone Levels?

The speed at which testosterone levels are affected by diet can vary based on the quantity of food consumed and individual metabolism.

Some foods, like those high in sugar or trans fats, may lead to a more rapid change, potentially altering hormone levels within hours or days of consumption due to their influence on blood sugar and insulin.

In contrast, the effects of foods like soy or licorice root may require longer-term consumption at significant levels before impacting testosterone.

It's also important to consider cumulative effects; while a single meal might not cause a measurable change, consistent dietary patterns over weeks or months can lead to more noticeable shifts in hormone levels.

Individual susceptibility also plays a role; some people may be more sensitive to the hormonal effects of certain foods. Regular monitoring and a balanced diet can help manage and mitigate these potential changes.

Alternatives to Testosterone-Killing Foods

Choosing alternatives to foods that kill testosterone can help maintain healthy hormone levels. Instead of soy products, one might opt for protein sources like lean meats, eggs, or legumes.

When it comes to processed foods, whole foods that are minimally processed provide nutrients without the negative hormonal impact. For instance, snacking on nuts or fruits instead of chips or sweets can be a healthier choice.

Replacing trans fats with healthy fats is also crucial. Cooking with olive oil or coconut oil can be beneficial, as can including fatty fish like salmon, which is high in omega-3 fatty acids.

As an alternative to high-sugar bread and desserts, consider whole-grain options or treats sweetened with natural sugars in moderation.

For those who enjoy dairy, hormone-free or plant-based alternatives can be good options. Swapping out vegetable oils high in omega-6 with those balanced in omega-3 can help reduce inflammation and support testosterone levels.

Choosing these alternatives consistently can contribute to better hormone balance and overall health.

Lifestyle Changes for Healthy Testosterone Levels

Beyond dietary adjustments, several lifestyle changes can significantly impact testosterone levels.

Regular physical activity, particularly strength training and high-intensity interval training (HIIT), can boost testosterone production. Adequate sleep is also vital; aiming for 7-9 hours per night can help maintain hormonal balance.

Stress management is another crucial factor, as chronic stress leads to elevated cortisol levels, which can inversely affect testosterone.

Techniques such as meditation, yoga, or simply taking time to relax can reduce stress and support testosterone levels.

Limiting exposure to endocrine disruptors found in certain plastics and personal care products is also wise.

These chemicals can mimic or interfere with the body's hormones. Opting for natural products and being mindful of plastic use can contribute to better hormone health.

Incorporating these lifestyle practices along with a balanced diet can help promote healthy testosterone levels and enhance overall well-being.

Takeaway on Testosterone and Diet

Diet significantly influences testosterone levels and overall hormonal health. While certain foods have been identified as potential testosterone killers, it's the dietary pattern over time that truly matters.

Moderation, balance, and making informed food choices are key to supporting hormone levels.

Replacing testosterone-killing foods with nutrient-dense alternatives, and making lifestyle changes such as engaging in regular exercise, getting adequate sleep, and managing stress can all have a positive impact.

This comprehensive strategy can help ensure hormonal balance and improve overall quality of life.

The Promescent Team

The Promescent Team

Our team has over a decade of experience in the sexual wellness field and are experts in sexual dysfunctions, like premature ejaculation. We help couples and individuals better understand treatment options available for different types of sexual needs and educate the public on all things related to intimacy. All of our authored content is medically reviewed for accuracy and reliability.


Absorption Pharmaceuticals LLC (Promescent) has strict informational citing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic or research institutions, medical associations, and medical experts. We attempt to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references and only citing trustworthy sources. Each article is reviewed, written, and updated by Medical Professionals or authoritative Experts in a specific, related field of practice. You can find out more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

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The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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