Are burgers, potato chips and candy making men testosterone-deficient?

A poor diet with lots of refined carbohydrates and sugar has been linked with testosterone deficiency in men

Man having taken a bite out of a burger
(Image credit: Oliver Sjöström/Unsplash)

Testosterone is very important in men – and women, come to that, even though most women have T in smaller amounts. It can help regulate our mood, it can help us sustain muscle mass, and improve our libido. The lesser-known benefits of our natural production of testosterone include heart health according to the European Heart Journal, as regular testosterone production was associated with a decreased risk of heart attacks. 

However, our diets might be detrimental to our testosterone production. It's well-documented all the problems that come with poor diet, such as obesity, high blood pressure and hypertension, put us at an increased risk of heart problems, but now we can add 'limited testosterone production' to the list, reducing our libido and making us more likely to develop fat instead of muscle. 

This research on diet and testosterone comes from a study published in The Journal of Urology. Researchers from China, headed up by Drs Qiu Shi and Zhang Chichen, claim that a diet high in "inflammatory foods" contributes to testosterone deficiency in men. 

The researchers wrote: "Our results suggest men who eat a pro-inflammatory diet, particularly those who are obese, are more likely to have testosterone deficiency.

"Since men with obesity likely already experience chronic inflammation, physicians should be aware of contributing factors, like diet, that could likely worsen this inflammation and contribute to the risk of other health conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease."

What is an inflammatory diet?

Vitamin D foods: salmon and brown rice

(Image credit: Unsplash / Travis Yewell)

Inflammation is pretty essential to the body's way of healing itself, whether that's from a nasty cut or bruise, a difficult workout or a cold or flu. Whenever a body part goes red, swells up and feels sore as part of the healing process, that's inflammation – a sign your body's responding to some sort of stress.

However, when the source of stress is from your diet, inflammation is much more deadly as the body continues to respond to the source of the stress. It an be a predicator for a number of different diseases and poor gut health – even cancer. 

Anti-inflammatories such as the best supplements for joints and the best fish oil supplements, which are rich in inflammation-fighting omega-3, can help matters. However, inflammation is just the body's response to a real problem: your diet. Processed meats such as burgers and bacon, refined carbohydrates rich in saturated fats, such as potato chips, added sugars and diuretics like alcohol all contribute. 

Instead of processed meats, opt for a lean piece of beef or chicken cooked in one of our best health grills or best air fryers. Drink plenty of water, cut down on sugary sodas and dehydrating alcohol, and eat more whole grains, fruit and vegetables. You'll soon see the back of chronic inflammation and normalise testosterone production as a result. 

Matt Evans
Matt Evans

Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and Channel Editor at Fit&Well. He's previously written for titles like Men's Health and Red Bull, and covers all things exercise and nutrition on the Fit&Well website. 

Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen kickboxer and runner. His top fitness tip? Stretch.