(Article Medically Reviewed By Dr. Zach Hyde)
Are you ready to hear the REAL facts about sugar and testosterone?
Excellent, read on…
It’s something that we’ve heard repeated for decades now…
While this sweet substance remains a component in nearly everything delicious thing you will ever eat, experts continue to tell us that sugar negatively affects the body.
It contributes to weight gain, lowers testosterone and can lead to debilitating health problems like diabetes – or even worse.
But what happens when we ignore the “experts” and look at the actual science?
We might find out that sugar has more benefits than we thought, or – at the very least – far fewer disadvantages.
Sugar, Testosterone and Your Sex Life
If you travel in men’s health circles, read articles on men’s health sites, or visit weight training forums, you probably have a lot of opinions about how sugar impacts your sex hormones.
Indeed, most men will tell you that you need to avoid sugar like the plague and instead rely on more complex carbs to feed your growing muscles.
Men will also claim that sugar can kill your T levels, which will not only make building lean muscle hard, but can lead to a myriad of problems with sexual performance – particularly in older men.
The bulk of these claims are all based on one study from 2013. In it, a team of researchers gave 66 men 75g of glucose sugar. Almost immediately, their T levels decreased by about 25% (source).
That’s fairly dramatic, so it’s not hard to see how sugar immediately gained a reputation as a powerful testosterone suppressant.
But if you look a bit closer at the study, you’ll see that that’s not it really shows.
Eating anything at all can cause an immediate drop in your T levels. While acute, this drop is far from long-term.
So, not only is there no study suggesting that consistent sugar intake will impact your overall testosterone levels, but diets that are low in carbs and sugars are more likely to lower your Test than diets chock full of them.
The study found no change in LH (luteinizing hormone) levels, the hormone that stimulates the production of testosterone in the human body.
So, the “factory” that makes your sex hormones was completely unaffected by the sugar bomb, proving that the effects in the study only included free testosterone, which your body quickly replaces.
Lastly, the time frame for the study is incredibly problematic. It was conducted in the morning, between 8 AM and 12 PM.
However, as most men who monitor such things know, our T levels peak in the morning and drop slowly throughout the day.
This not only means that the decreasing levels witnessed in the study could have been helped along by this natural digression, but could actually account for it entirely!
So, while many of us continue to demonize sugar in all its forms, it turns out that the primary study is extremely weak and very unconvincing.
If you look at the remaining science, you’ll find that consuming reasonable amounts of sugar won’t hurt you one bit.
In fact, sugar actually has benefits.
Benefits Of Sugar
When you break it down scientifically, sugar is nothing more than naturally occurring carbohydrates that provide energy to our bodies.
This energy comes in the form of glucose and fructose. The former is used by our organs, glands, and muscles as a primary energy source.
That means your body needs it in some capacity, and will source if from whatever places necessary.
Then you have fructose. Fructose is sweeter than glucose and is metabolized in the liver, not in the stomach.
It primarily comes from fruits and honey and is not viewed by the body as a “necessity.”
There are two other types of sugar as well: sucrose, which is a mix of fructose and glucose, and lactose, which is found in dairy products.
All of these sugars are not created equally, nor or they viewed the same by our bodies.
So why would we lump them all together as “inherently bad?”
After all, our bodies need glucose in order to properly function. Otherwise they will start breaking down muscle and converting it to glucose get the energy it needs.
So, let’s look at what we know about sugar without all the preconceived negative connotations:
- While glucose and fructose can negatively correlate with diabetes, fructose on its own doesn’t require insulin to be metabolized. In fact, consuming fructose has been shown to have a marked improvement on those with insulin issues.
- Fructose is essential to our body’s ability to stabilize. In fact, the whole idea of bears eating berries and honey is that consuming them is the perfect way to reverse their diabetic state after hibernation.
- While we associate sugars with making us fat, they are actually the main fuel source for the thyroid gland, which monitors our metabolic rate. When we consume more simple sugars, our thyroid produces more T4 hormones, which provides a boost in energy and processing power.
- Weight loss depends on one thing: burning more calories than you consume. In the end, it doesn’t matter where those calories come from, be it sugar, protein or fat, our bodies see it as just another calorie. Moreover, sugar is actually relatively low in calorics, especially when compared to fat.
- Fructose has been shown to protect against various liver problems, and new research has demonstrated no correlation between fructose and fatty liver disease.
- Lastly, sugar actually has antioxidant effects, reducing inflammation and protecting cells from oxidative stress. It’s also a potent antihistamine and it lowers stress hormones in the body, especially cortisol.
Sugar and Testosterone Conclusion:
Sugar is something your body needs to survive.
Cut it out, and your body will start breaking down muscle to get it.
While this can work for weight loss to a certain extent, it is not a long-term plan for healthy living, and may have serious side effects down the line.
The point is: it’s not the food boogeyman that everyone makes it out to be.
Providing you aren’t doing a Willy Wonka candy tour every day, you’re going to be just fine.
Also, sugar most likely does not have the effect on your testosterone levels that countless magazine articles, blogs, and ripped guys named Chad at the gym have told you it does.
The science just doesn’t support it.
Go easy on the sugar for the sake of maintaining a healthy, well-rounded diet?
Avoid it like the plague and hope for super powers?