T Nation

Bad Diet = High Testosterone?


Hey all, new to the site. Loving the forums.
Can some explain to me how people who have awful diets/lifestyles have high T? Its something that's puzzled me for years. My buddy and I are gym junkies who are doing all the right things, yet we both have average T levels (around 500).

From all the reading of health/fitness forums Ive done over the years, it seems that its normal for health conscious people to have lower T/libido. However, all of my non-health conscious friends are the horniest dudes you'll ever meet. Whats the deal??

Apart from silly answers such as "they don't think about that stuff so their cortisol is lower", I can only think of a few possible mechanisms:
- Training depletes zinc/magnesium (this is basic, I know)
- Eating constantly exhausts the gut which leads to toxicity
- Training constantly depletes amino acids which should be being used for estrogen detoxification, androgen/dopamine production etc
- Non health conscious people may consume less unsaturated fat and more sugar (a good thing, according to Ray Peat)

I'd love to hear your thoughts



Lower T/libido is consistent with long-term kcal restriction, excessive low-intensity cardio, and overtraining (relative to food intake/sleep/recovery) in general, but its silly to consider any of those stimuli as "normal" habits among populations of intelligent, health conscious individuals.

Tell us how old they are.

At 18-22, many dudes can work all day drink all night, wake up and do it again. Some ten years later, not so much.


Horny, being a pig, and having consistently high T are not the same thing.

Just because they say they're horny doesn't mean they are doing the shit they are talking about.

T can spike, you can have low T when your getting tested and higher when you are not. You could've crammed for an exam the last week and be spent.

Certain products will create a high T results, like Cigarettes, then lower average over the long haul.

Others will drop T extremely low - alcohol - then body overcompensates 2 or 3 days later.

Unless you know EXACTLY what they are doing or blood testing them, all you know is that they are "Cooler" talking then you.


I would like to see a study where health conscience men have lower testosterone levels compared to "average" males.

Loosely correlating a guy talking about sex with higher than average testosterone is not very definitive to say the least.


I think many trainees underestimate the impact of training stress on the endocrine system, especially when the exercise/nutritional program is poorly designed. Ask me what I think my T levels are following the most intense week in my mesocycle, especially if I don't gorge on protein and get 9 hours of sleep per night.


If you have higher T you might find my question a little silly, but I honestly believe that serious, long-term trainees with high T would be in the minority.


I can tell you one thing, during my deload weeks my wife has to throw up the white flag, but bitches she doesn't get it enough during a blast. Whether this is T levels or just exercise stress.. dunno

I've ask myself the same question, why I have so many friends that can look like a greek god with just one diet cycle with almost no regard to what they put into their piehole and I'm still DYEL? These same dudes take home a new chick weekly and some have had past criminal records. Coincidence? Or is it the T?

I just chalk it up to genetics..the ultimate cop out..sue me.


Its an interesting thought. The guys that are always fixin' to get laid tend to be the guys that are always jumping head-first into drinking, partying, gambling etc.


What are your buddies' dietary habits like?

As I understand it, saturated fat is a precursor to testosterone. In other words, testosterone is synthesized from saturated fat.

So, it may be that your buddies are ingesting a shit load of saturated fat, and are seeing higher T-levels as a result.

But don't go scarfing down Yodels and Twinkies just because you want the fat. Obviously we know that despite possibly increasing T-levels, too much can wreak all sorts of havoc on your organs, blood vessels, etc.

Also, horniness is caused by Leutinizing Hormone, not necessarily Testosterone. Alcohol consumption does send a surge of Leutinizing Hormone through your blood. That's why people get drunk and fuck all the time. Why? Homeostasis- your body's way of balancing things. If you ever increase or decrease one hormone too much, the opposing hormone will increase or decrease too in order to keep the body in balance. As is the case with alcohol consumption, drinking drastically reduces Test, and as a result, Leutinizing Hormone is increased to maintain some order of balance.

Bottom line is your non-health conscious buddies may or may not have higher T levels, but their behavior isn't necessarily a good indicator. You're definitely better off being health-conscious. There's more to life than your libido!


I miss college too.


I understand that calorie restriction, cardio and overtraining can all whack T. We are always careful not to do these things.

In regards to saturated fat intake, on the contrary, I think most gym junkies take in far more saturated fat (meat, eggs, coconut oil etc) than non health-conscious people. The SAD diet is mostly refined carbs, at least it is here in Aus.

Thank you for the responses. I hope more people share their thoughts


but you haven't said anything to show your friends that aren't training have higher T.

Like I said they say they want women doesn't mean they have higher T.


Blood levels of minerals been tested? Results? Blood work for T done? Age? What makes you think your test level is less than theirs, and do you experience ill effects on your training / recovery as a result?

Most guys, even when taking magnesium are still not at optimal levels, as it is one of the most highly excreted minerals in sweat. You may already know this... the chelated kind is the one to get. Take a few a day. Are you a big sweater (funny mental image)?

Have you had your liver tested? Have you had allergy tests? What's your diet and peri workout nutrition like? I would imagine that constantly eating allergenic foods would wreak havoc on a person's T. Just some hunches and thoughts. No idea why or if a junk diet would improve somebody's T level. What is your recovery like? Doms much? Could be that you are having issue with byproducts of protein degredation/repair and it's stressing the liver, but this is just guesses and generalizations. Please give us more info.


Great post


@airtruth, no I don't have my friends' bloodwork.

@bulletprooftiger, thanks for the reply.
I take quite a lot of Poliquin zinc, mag and D3, as per his recommendations (have been for about a year now).
Ive never had bloods done for minerals, but I have had T done a few times (500, on a good day).
I don't sweat a great deal unless im bustin my ass in the gym.
Ive had liver tested (normal) but have not had any allergy testing. Probably should look into this.
Yes, I DOMS quite heavily, its pretty annoying actually.

I don't think that junk food ups T pre se, but I do believe that exercise tends to suppress it, particularly if other factors aren't optimal.

Thanks again


A couple of my friends that don't lift heavy and are much smaller than me have always had higher test levels. I think it's just a stress thing. Their bodies have never undergone the crap we put our bodies through.


Agreed, though the part about saturated fats should be clarified.

For instance, in Twinkies and Hershey's, it's literally everything else that's more problematic than the actual sat fats content on its own.


Which is the cart and which is the horse?

How about when T levels are high, you get really hungry and eat what ever you can get your hands on whether it is "good for you" or not? Like any kid between the ages of 13-25.

Just a thought. Nothing scientifical.