Carbohydrates and Testosterone: This Is Why Carbs Are Essential For T Production

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It’s trendy right now to omit from certain macro nutrients. Some years ago it was the low-fat craze, and not a big surprise, people got sicker than ever because of it. The mass media always needs something to demonize, and currently carbohydrates are considered to be the “root of all evil”.

You may have read the “10 Ways to Boost Testosterone” and such lists from other websites, which often claim that you should avoid carbs to boost testosterone, but that just goes completely against the current scientific evidence.

To be honest, carbs are not bad, carbohydrates are pretty fucking important for testosterone optimization if you ask me.

Let’s take a closer look:

 

Carbs and Testosterone Production

carbs and male testosteronePeople often claim that low-carb diets are superior to anything else, simply because they would be better for losing weight.

Fortunately the above is a load of bullshit, because weight loss is all about energy balance. If you consume more calories than you burn, you gain weight. If you consume less calories than you burn, you lose weight. There’s a mounting pile of scientific evidence to prove this fact, and anyone who tells you that you could bend this law of physics by tricking around with macro nutrients, is a nutcracker.

Heck, Professor Mark Kraub lost 27 pounds by eating only Twinkies, little Debbie snacks, Oreos, sugary cereals, and Doritos chips. Why? Because he simply ate less calories than what his body used. You simply cannot escape the laws of physic with fad diets.

The only time when you could actually benefit from low-carb diets, is if you have some serious issues with insulin-resistance, or leptin-resistance, or if you’re prepping up for a bodybuilding show. If you don’t, then there’s really no need to omit from carbohydrates.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get to the meaty part of this article…

…Here’s why carbohydrates are essentially important for testosterone production:

a) In this study, the researchers divided their subjects into 2 groups. The other group ate a high-carb low-protein diet, whereas the other group ate a high-protein low-carb diet. Fat intake and calories were identical. Ten days into the study, the results showed that the high-carb group had significantly higher free testosterone levels (+36%), lower SHBG levels, and lower cortisol levels when compared to the high-protein low-carb group.

b) In this study, the researchers found out that in exercising men, the stress hormone cortisol increases rapidly when they’re put on low-carb diets. Needless to say that this is pretty bad thing for testosterone production.

c) Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), which is the hormone that basically starts the whole cascade of events that eventually leads to testosterone synthesis, adjusts its pulsation rate according to the glucose levels of the body. When there’s high amount of glucose present, the hypothalamus inside our brains releases more GnRH, and thus your body synthesizes more testosterone. And when there’s low amounts of glucose present in the body, the brain releases less GnRH, which slows down testosterone synthesis (study).

As glucose is mainly generated from carbohydrates, it’s quite obvious that low-carb diets also mean lowered blood, muscle, and brain glucose levels, leading to slower release of GnRH, and therefore also lower testosterone.

d) In this study, the researchers had 2 groups of men who performed three consecutive days of intensive training, the only thing different between these groups was the carbohydrate consumption. The other group ate 60% of their daily calories from carbs, whereas the other group ate only 30% (note that this isn’t even low-carb anymore). The final post-study measurements which were taken in the third day, showed that the group which got the lower amount of carbs, had significantly lower free testosterone levels, and higher cortisol levels (this is one of the reasons why I recommend more carbs on training days). Similar results were observed in this study too.

“See? That’s why I don’t recommend low-carb diets”.

But are all carbs created equal? Should you just slam your face with spaghetti, sugar, and hamburger buns?

Answer: There’s differences between carbs, and when it comes to boosting testosterone, I usually divide them into 2 groups.

1. Starchy tubers and veggies: potatoes, yam, pumpkins, batates, beets, carrots, turnips, squash, etc.

2. Grains: wheat, rice, cereals, pasta, corn, bread, etc.

If your goal is to eat the testosterone boosting carbs, you should eat most of your carbs from the group 1, and less from the group 2.

Here’s why:

a) Most grains contain a lot of gluten, and gluten is known for its prolactin increasing effects (study, study). Prolactin on the other hand is known for reducing testosterone levels.

b) Grains (at least the refined kind) are known for causing systemic inflammation in the body, and inflammation promotes cortisol, which reduces testosterone.

It doesn’t kill you or wipe away your testosterone tank if you have bread or pasta once in a while, but eating mostly from the group 1 is a good staple to follow if you want to increase your natural testosterone production.

Personally I like to eat a lot of potatoes, I consider them to be the god-tier when it comes to carbs, and if I have some grains, I try to have some that contains no gluten and preferably has some androgenic effects (read: sorghum).

 

Conclusion

Carbohydrates are essential for testosterone, and they’re not unhealthy at all. Just stop believing the mass media craze, they’ll always need some food group to demonize, and currently it’s carbohydrates.

Be aware of this especially if you exercise a lot.

Thanks for reading!

Ali Kuoppala

Ali Kuoppala is the founder of Anabolic Men, and an Independent Researcher that has been credited with organizing the findings that have helped thousands of men reach hormonal balance. alikuoppala @anabolicmen
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46 Comments

  1. whteshark on 08/01/2015 at 04:44

    Does this make oatmeal bad?

    • bahadur on 10/01/2015 at 06:32

      Oatmeal increase testosterone

  2. Matthew Greene on 09/01/2015 at 13:17

    Ali, how many carbs do you consume on a daily basis?

    • Ali Kuoppala on 29/09/2015 at 13:49

      200-500 grams, even if I’m cutting body fat.

      • Billy on 12/11/2015 at 15:37

        Even if someone is above 25% of body fat should consume 200g of carbs or even more?

  3. Dem Gainz on 12/01/2015 at 06:30

    I love this post simply because there is SO much bad dietary advice about carbs right now. I used to be a low-carber so I know all about the pitfalls of a low carb intake (p.s. it f**king sucks). Thanks for the post, I look forward to reading the one about fats!

  4. Cong Vo on 06/02/2015 at 06:00

    Rice have no gluten

  5. dudedude7 on 25/02/2015 at 02:10

    Learned something new! Been trying to cut the sweet tooth habit, knowing this will help!

  6. Marko Amore Perätalo on 06/03/2015 at 08:08

    You slammed ALL grains as equal when u said they cause inflammation and then cited a study, well, according to that study it’s just the refined grains, whole grains are anti-inflammatory:

    “These findings suggest that the protectiveness of whole grains in relation to type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease may be due to an effect on plasma inflammatory protein concentrations and reinforces the public health recommendations that whole grains be consumed daily as part of a healthy diet.”

    • Orion Antares on 14/10/2015 at 17:16

      I guess that also depends on how you define a whole grain. Most commercial “whole grain” is really just refined grain that has had the chaff and some conditioner checmicals tossed back into it.

  7. Jimmy66101 on 10/04/2015 at 15:18

    What happened to your suggestion to eat carbs before bed

  8. Jimmy66101 on 10/04/2015 at 15:23

    What happened to your suggestion to consume carbs before bed? Do you still advocate it?

  9. Lsweet on 17/10/2015 at 16:10

    Do you recommend carbs daily or only on training days?

  10. Swastik Chakravarty on 28/10/2015 at 09:21

    I started a no carb ketogenic lifestyle(75%fat , 20%protein , 5%carbs) .. I ate everything organic .all I ate was meat , eggs and veggies..
    initially my gym performance suffered .. I felt like a sloth.. but what I did was stick with it.. as 1 month passed .. day by day my performance improved I felt like a beast bold and strong as never before .. I felt no lows and highs in energy .. it was a very continuous smooth source of energy .. after a year of keto lifestyle.. I was full of bursting energy.. my libido was good .. I had boner every now and then 😛 (though not a fact to be shared about).. but after reading this article I decided to introduce carb .. but unfortunately I feel like crap every time I eat carb.. and I don’t get as much boner as I used to.. :(..
    my performance is also suffering..
    Ali I need your view about this

  11. Swastik Chakravarty on 28/10/2015 at 09:40

    I started a no carb ketogenic lifestyle(75%fat , 20%protein , 5%carbs) .. I ate everything organic .all I ate was meat , eggs and veggies..
    initially my gym performance suffered .. I felt like a sloth.. but what I did was stick with it.. as 1 month passed .. day by day my performance improved I felt like a beast bold and strong as never before .. I felt no lows and highs in energy .. it was a very continuous smooth source of energy .. after a year of keto lifestyle.. I was full of bursting energy.. my libido was good .. I had boner every now and then 😛 (though not a fact to be shared about).. but after reading this article I decided to introduce carb .. but unfortunately I feel like crap every time I eat carb.. and I don’t get as much boner as I used to.. :(..
    my performance is also suffering..
    Ali I need your view about this

  12. Jeremy Martinez on 01/01/2016 at 16:18

    Ha. I love your site. I used to wrestle, and I had a weird diet. Lean red meat with garlic and ginger, baked potatoes with sour cream and butter, avocados, and yogurt. It was my go to, and I craved it absolutely. I read your site and just smile… I instinctually knew. Thanks for making the effort, man.

  13. William Lebek on 02/03/2016 at 22:12

    Is there any reason to prefer potatoes and rice over green veggies like kale and spinach?

  14. William Lebek on 17/03/2016 at 18:12

    You showed us that eating more protein instead of carbohydrates decreases testosterone in average men. But what about eating more fat instead of carbohydrates? I don’t think the results would be same.

  15. Martin351 on 05/04/2016 at 03:47

    “Fortunately the above is a load of bullshit, because weight loss is all about energy balance. If you consume more calories than you burn, you gain weight.”

    This is actually complete bullshit. The most obese people out there tend to follow diets and lifestyles lower in calories and higher in activity. The authors statement couldn’t be further from the truth.

    While I do think there is some, actually a lot of merit to higher carb being better for testosterone, as far as, weight loss and gain being tied to “energy balance” it’s a complete load of horse crap.

    There have been thousands upon thousands of studies on this over the past 100+ years that have disproven this thousands of times over.

  16. Jonathan Livingston-Seagull Va on 30/04/2016 at 12:11

    You are not taking into acout the highly addictive aspect, as well as the lethargy after a blood sugar crash aspect, of eating too many carbs. I’ve been there, and I noticed that, after a protein/fat rich meal, I can go for 24 hours or more without eating (which is good, since I’m doing intermittent fasting). On the other hand, on a carb rich meal with basically the same amount of calories, I want to eat 4 hours later… You should read all the litterature, not just parts of it, if you’re going to seriously blog about it… But other wise, I do like your blog….

  17. Jonathan Livingston-Seagull Va on 30/04/2016 at 12:12

    Did they check the twinkie guy’s insulin resistance? Blood sugar? hat’s great! I’m gonna start eating those every day now. Every three hours….

  18. Jonathan Livingston-Seagull Va on 30/04/2016 at 12:29

    oh yeah, and sugar feeds cancer cells…

  19. […] we’ll use sweet potatoes, which are ridiculously dense in many T-boosting nutrients and a great carbohydrate source in a testosterone boosting diet (you can use white potatoes too), and also beets, which deliver your body some methyl-donor […]

  20. Jimmy on 08/07/2016 at 16:27

    As far as the Group 1 or Group 2 carbs, what about fruits? I eat lots of frozen berries and apples.

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