Many people associate testosterone with sex, aggression and masculinity, but it also has been linked to numerous vital body functions that are essential for overall health and development. Furthermore, raised testosterone levels may prevent disease and improve your lifestyle -- both of which may be achieved through eating a diet rich in meat. However, it is crucial that you maintain a degree of caution because excessive meat consumption does pose some risks.
Eating meat, which is high in protein, helps build muscle and stimulates the secretion of the hormone glucagon, both of which contribute to raising testosterone levels. Testosterone, apart from facilitating an array of health benefits, is primarily responsible for sperm production and sex drive, as well as the growth of pubic and facial hair, bone and muscle mass. In men, it is produced by the testes, and in women it is secreted by the ovaries and adrenal glands.
According to Dr. Shafiq Qaadri, author of “The Testosterone Factor,” testosterone promotes a multitude of health benefits, including increased energy and vitality, as well as the prevention of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attacks, obesity and weakening bones and muscles. “In fact,” Qaadri says, "testosterone has lifelong positive effects on your physique, emotions, intellect, relationships, behavior and sexuality.” Although hormone replacement therapy is a viable option if you experience reduced testosterone levels, there are, according to Qaadri, natural ways to boost your levels of the male hormone, including consuming a diet rich in meat.
To improve testosterone levels through meat consumption, choose meats that are high in protein. Chicken breast, at approximately 10g per ounce, offers high protein content, while pork chop averages 22g of protein. Beef and fish weigh in at an average of 7 and 6.5g per ounce respectively, meaning an average steak or fillet contains between 22 and 25g of protein.
While eating a high-meat diet may raise your testosterone levels, researchers have found that excessive protein intake, especially when coupled with reduced carbohydrate consumption, may in fact lower testosterone levels. In a study presented by the journal “Life Sciences,” seven men consumed a high-protein diet, and then a diet high in carbohydrates, each over the course of 10 days. Although both diets were equal in calories and fat, the high protein diet led to a considerable drop in testosterone levels, while the high carbohydrate diet stimulated a significant increase in testosterone secretion.
In addition to potentially lowering your testosterone levels, excessive meat consumption poses direct dangers to your health. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, consuming too much protein places stress on your kidneys, and it may lead to gout, as well as heightened cholesterol levels. Furthermore, a review published by the “International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism” says that a diet constituting more than 35 protein may lead to diarrhea, nausea, hyperinsulinemia, hyperammonemia or hyperaminoacidemia.
- “The Testosterone Factor: A Practical Guide to Improving Vitality and Virility, Naturally”; Shafiq Qaadri, MD; 2006
- Life Sciences: Diet-hormone Interactions: Protein/Carbohydrate Ratio Alters Reciprocally the Plasma Levels of Testosterone and Cortisol and Their Respective Binding Globulins in Man
- Medline Plus: Protein in Diet
- International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism: A Review of Issues of Dietary Protein Intake in Humans