Dietary Protein And Testosterone – The Real Shocker


Let me ask you a question- how many tubs of whey protein have you guzzled down this year? What about since you started bodybuilding? Chances are it’s too much to keep track of. Not to mention the crap load of money spent on it, but what if I now told you it might have been an effort in futility?

Ladies and swole mates, yes you heard that correctly- you’ve likely been pooping (and peeing) away some of your hard earned cash, all the while killing your primal urges.

Note: This is a guest post by the guys from Anabolic Health. Send me your guest post request via the CONTACT PAGE.  Eat your eggs, A-Lifters!

So What, Is Protein Bad?

dont mess with my protein

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Not at all. In fact, your body still requires protein to rebuild, strengthen and recover. Without it, you will waste away into a skinny bag of bones. What is grossly misleading however, is the fact that we’ve been brainwashed into paying big bucks for protein supplements, which don’t deliver what we need to build tons of muscle, and is suppressing your testosterone levels too.

Diets Higher in Protein vs Carbs Consumed Is Not Better for Muscle Gains

Brace yourself- bro science is likely to get worked up with this one, but research doesn’t lie. A study published in the Journal Of Life Sciences revealed the results of 7 men who consumed either a diet higher in the amount of proteins to carbs consumed, when compared to those consuming a higher carb to protein based diet.

whey protein hydrolysate

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As you may have guessed, the results were not as you might have “assumed”. The higher carb group possessed higher blood testosterone levels, coupled with lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

While this is indeed exciting to hear, levels of hormone binding globulins (SHBG and CBG respectively) were also reflected in similar fashion, meaning that with great test, comes greater binding (reference taken from Spiderman!). The jury is still out how this actual binding works in the body, but indeed you have more testosterone reserves on the higher carb diet.

Loading Up on Protein Does Not Increase Testosterone Levels- Fat Does

Go for Cholesterol

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Just in case it hasn’t been excruciatingly obvious so far, in order to build more muscle, you need to have superior blood hormone levels. Of primary interest is testosterone and cortisol. Testosterone is the proto-typical “anabolic” (or building) hormone, while cortisol is the mother of “catabolic” (breakdown) processes.

These two are in constant struggle, and since the body does not necessarily want to carry around excessive weight, cortisol will take every chance to munch away at muscle stores. That’s why the following study was so interesting:

This study included 12 men with previous resistance training under their belt, and sought to measure and determine levels of testosterone and cortisol at fixed intervals. This study was run for 17 days during which the men worked out bi-weekly by performing the bench press and jump squats.

jump squats badass

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The results of the survey revealed a couple astonishing facts, some which you may have expected but others completely breathtaking:

  • • Testosterone levels peaked after both exercise sessions
  • • Cortisol levels DECREASED following performing jump squats. Case in point- do jump squats next time you feel stressed!

However, that was not all the study examined. More importantly, it scrutinized the effect diet had on blood testosterone levels, in particular de-criminalizing fats and catching the real perpetrator of the crime (robber of our gains).

Excited to hear about these findings? I know I was. Here we go:

• The more calories originating from fat that the subjects consumed, the higher was their testosterone levels, measured at the pre-workout phase. If you need an extra level of aggression, raising test pre-workout is a helpful ally.

• Fat intake is CRUCIAL for optimal testosterone production. Brazil nuts are a good source since they contain testosterone boosting Selenium in addition to plenty of good fats. But in particular are the omega 3’s and 6’s, which help to reinforce the integrity of cell walls.

In fact, studies have shown the remarkable efficacy of a modified omega 6 fatty acid, known as Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA). No doubt about it, CLA supplements are super convenient, but if you prefer to eat yours, why not get it from meat?

We all love steak, and now research has proven that it is good for you! CLA found naturally in meat (or in supplement form) helped bring about a SIGNIFICANT increase in testosterone levels, measured at the post-workout period. This further solidifies the fact that a diet higher in saturated fats are the way to go if you want to optimize hormone levels, while also staying lean.

Protein Supplementation Does Not Improve Post-Workout Hormone Surge

The post-workout window is one of the most anabolic periods of the day, especially when utilized right. However, loading up on protein shakes is not the way to go.

This study, conducted just recently (2015) in New York, proved that a hormone surge was not noticeable following consumption of a protein drink containing 20g protein, 6g carbs, and 1g fat (an average scoop serving).

Blood analysis of insulin, testosterone, cortisol and growth hormone was performed at various intervals following a workout. An investigation which revealed no noticeable differences between subjects, whether they had the protein drink, or a placebo.

High Protein Diets May Be Useful in the Older Male Population

The only glimmer of hope when it comes to high protein consumption may be in the twilight zone, in men between the ages of 40 and 70. The study which revealed this was undertaken at the University Of Massachusetts Medical School, involved over 1500 men, and also showed that men who consumed the lowest protein also had highest levels of SHBG. SHBG is the binding protein which inactivates testosterone and the other sex hormones, meaning less is free to elicit an effect.

However, take the results of this survey with a grain of salt (or quite a few grains!) as the “low” amount of protein was less than 80g/day, low even by moderate standards. Until a similar study is conducted in younger men, a definite correlation cannot be drawn to prove this theory across the board.

The Consensus

• Reduce your excessive protein intake- now. You’re wasting cash and possible muscle growth.

• Fat is your friend- don’t be scared of saturated fat and the many myths surrounding diet no-no’s! Consume a diet rich in CLA fatty acids, which can significantly raise post-workout test levels, and as an added bonus, promote body fat metabolism.

• Just have a post-workout meal. Include sufficient fat, some carbs and modest protein. No need to consume a 16oz steak; 6 oz. is plenty. Real Food trumps a supplement any day.

• Do some jump squats!

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