Paleo Diet and Testosterone: How Good is the “Caveman Diet” Really for Test Production

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The paleo diet has been extremely popular in these past few years. The idea is relatively simple, just eat like a caveman

More specifically, eat like a human of the paleolithic era, an era which started roughly 2,6 million years ago and ended 10,000 years ago.

The foundation is based on:

  • Protein (grass-fed ruminants, wild fish, pastured poultry)
  • Fats (animal fat, eggs, coconut fat, olives, avocados, nuts)
  • Carbs (non-starchy vegetables, root vegetables, berries)
What is and isn’t paleo is – as you might guess – heavily debated in the field of paleo peeps. However, since the diet tries to mimic that of a paleolithic human, a person with a sane common sense can easily see that there are food groups that are way too modern for the diet.

According to the “experts”, these foods are to be excluded from the diet:

  • Most grains (farming wasn’t around in the paleolithic era, thus most grains weren’t either)
  • Vegetable oils (fats were almost exclusively gotten via eating whole carcasses, vegetable oils weren’t around)
  • Processed foods (no mad-made chemicals, no refined flours of sugars, no pastry, juices from concentrate…)

The paleo diet doesn’t specifically follow any macronutrient ratios (we’re talking about cavemen)…

…Still, most of the “experts” in the field like to state various ratios for carbs, fats, and protein. Most commonly these recommendations are based on: low to moderate protein intake, low carbohydrate intake, and high fat intake.

What is also worth mentioning – and often for some reason is left unmentioned in paleo circles – is that the paleolithic man more than likely went through periods of fasting and feasting, eating whenever there was food available, and fasting whenever there wasn’t (unlike the modern man, who tends to become a cranky bitch if he can’t fulfill his sugar cravings for every 3 hours or so).

To summarise: The paleo is a diet that somewhat “mimics” that of a paleolithic human. Minimal amounts of processed food, with lots of real unprocessed animal protein, veggies, berries, root plants, fruits, and nuts. Excluded from the diet are food groups that humans started to eat after the paleolithic era, such as: vegetable oils, grain-fed meats, refined sugar and flours, and most grains.

On track of what is paleo? Let’s then figure out what the diet has to offer for natural testosterone optimization:

Testosterone Levels and the Paleo Diet

the paleo diet and testosteroneI don’t like to blindly follow any “diet” or “nutrition plan”, especially when it hits mainstream and people around it start forming a cult like following…

…This is something that already happened with low-fat diets, low-carb diets, clean-eating, intermittent fasting, bulletproof-coffee, etc…

And it’s rapidly happening in paleo circles too. When people go crazy over some idea and start following it to a T, it tends to eventually create multiple sub-cultures around the topic, eventually these “camps” start arguing around about which one is right and which one is wrong, creating the ultimate situation of fuckarounditis and circle-jerking.

Circle-jerking and fuckarounditis aside, I can’t help but admit that the paleo diet, with minor modifications, might as well be extremely useful for someone who’s looking to increase his testosterone production naturally.

Right of the bat, the idea of eating minimal amounts of processed foods, is great for testosterone production. When you eliminate processed stuff, you most often also eliminate the testosterone lowering trans-fats, polyunsaturated fatspesticides and possible man-made chemicals that act as endocrine disruptors. Eating more whole-foods, less processed goo, also provides you with a TON of essential micronutrients for testosterone synthesis.

When the diet is based around grass-fed meats, you get the high quality animal protein that is vitally important for testosterone production, along with plenty of saturated fat, which is one of the foundational nutrients for healthy T synthesis.

Since the diet also favors avocados, olives, and nuts, you can flood your body with monounsaturated fatty-acids (MUFAs), which have been found to be great for testosterone levels in multiple studies (some nuts could be used less though).

If you’re a frequent reader here, you already know that polyunsaturated fatty-acids (PUFAs), are known for their testosterone lowering effect. On a paleoish diet, you’re avoiding the modern day high-PUFA vegetable oils, which significantly cuts back your overall PUFA intake.

There are some PUFAs on a paleo diet though, mainly from wild fish. However, wild fish tends to be ridiculously high in the beneficial anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty-acids with lower levels of the inflammatory omega-6’s…

…Balancing the omega-3 to omega-6 ratio more in favor of the omega-3’s, greatly reduces all chronic inflammatory diseases, it’s also likely that it may improve testosterone production via lowered oxidative stress in tissues (balancing the ω3:ω6 ratio is actually one of the ideologies behind paleo, since the paleolithic man was known of having the ratio fairly close to 1:1, whereas in the modern day Western diet it can be as high as 1:25).

Even the carbohydrate sources on a paleo diet are of the most testosterone friendly kind; starchy tubers. aka, potatoes, potatoes, potatoes, and some other root vegetables …

…Actually the only negative thing about the “caveman diet”, is the fact that the macronutrient ratios which the guru’s have laid out, tend to have too little amounts of carbohydrates. The general recommendation around the circles seem to be something below 20% of daily calories, whereas a more testosterone-friendly approach would be to bump that up to about 40-60% (especially if you exercise), while keeping protein at around ~20-25% (where it usually is anyway in the paleo diet), and fat would be lowered to ~25-30%, depending a bit on how you adjust the carbs.

NOTE: The paleo diet is often (rightfully) bashed due to low amounts of scientific evidence on its claimed health benefits. For anyone looking for more of a scientific layout of the science behind paleo for overall health, read this excellent article from Suppversity.

Conclusion

I don’t see myself as someone who follows the paleo diet, but over the years as I have tried to figure out what would be the optimal diet for natural testosterone production, I have come to find out that it’s actually something rather similar than the ideology of the paleo.

You get the animal protein, the starchy carbs, the high SFA and MUFA fats, with low amounts of high omega-6 PUFAs. The diet is rich in minerals and vitamins, while being very low in processed junk and man-made chemicals that can have a negative effect on testosterone synthesis.

To summarize, paleo ain’t that bad for someone who strives to increase his natural testosterone production. Just remember to eat enough carbs.

Paleo Diet and Testosterone: How Good is the “Caveman Diet” Really for Test Production was last modified: October 19th, 2017 by Ali Kuoppala

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.

3 Comments

  1. Chris @ 19th Century Alpha on 18/12/2015 at 16:47

    I agree with you completely on the concept of shying away due to cult like followers. The only thing that I don’t agree with you on is the starchy carbohydrate intake while on the paleo game. Most of the people I know, as well as the people I read about online that follow paleo, consider our beloved spuds to be evil. That’s just silly. The T optimizing benefits are a just a side bonus in my opinion. They are way too tasty to give up. Whole raw milk and bananas are two other staples of mine that I have no intentions of ever giving up.

  2. Leigh Goodwin on 18/12/2015 at 21:07

    Good article. Cranky bitch is funny.

  3. Green Deane on 12/03/2016 at 22:56

    The less carbs I eat the healthier I am. You might not be but I am. Paleo has been excellent for me (as measured by bio-markers, activity and how I feel.) If I keep my daily carbs 30 grams or under it’s all good. 30 to 60 grams of carbs a day starts to put on weight (and yes I exercise a hell of a lot.) I can imagine someone who has a genetic proclivity towards carbs for whom paleo would not work. Diet is much like religion: You have to find what works best for you and realize that most people won’t agree with you.

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