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  1. #1
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    Saturated fat and testosterone

    There are various claims about saturated fat circulating on the internet and in the online fitness community. A common claim is that saturated fat is important for your testerone levels, and a diet low in saturated fat is bad for your testosterone levels. I have seen "evidence-based" fitness guys like Menno Henselmans claim this (e.g. https://mennohenselmans.com/cholesterol-anabolic/) and he cites some references in support, for instance this one: https://academic.oup.com/biomedgeron...11/1260/759439

    "A number of studies (2–5) have shown that reducing saturated fat in the diet, and/or replacing saturated fat with what are considered more healthy fats (polyunsaturated and/or monounsaturated fats), results in significant decline in the circulating testosterone concentration."

    But a study from 1997 by Volek et al. shows that monounsaturated fat has similar effects on testosterone as saturated fat (graph attached below).



    This seems to contradict the above claim.

    The Volek et al. study results, combined with what we know about the health benefits of polyunsaturated fat over saturated fat, seem to imply that the diet that would be preferable if you care about both "optimal" bodybuilding results and your general health would include a high dietary fat intake, but make sure to get a lot of monounsaturated fat while keeping saturated fat limited.

    But the sample size in this study was very small (12 men), and I am personally not aware of other studies of the relationship between fat sources and testosterone. How much do we really know about this topic?
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    Not that everyone's on the same page or apprised of all the literature, but the 1997 study is much older than these more recent claims, it appears.

    I'd be curious to see the test levels of men who are vegetarian or otherwise have very little saturated fat in their diet, as meat/eggs/dairy are usually associated with it, by cliché and my own observation.
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    Registered User EiFit91's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by EliKoehn View Post
    Not that everyone's on the same page or apprised of all the literature, but the 1997 study is much older than these more recent claims, it appears.

    I'd be curious to see the test levels of men who are vegetarian or otherwise have very little saturated fat in their diet, as meat/eggs/dairy are usually associated with it, by cliché and my own observation.
    Yes, but when I followed those references it seemed to me like none of them really looked at the different fat sources in isolation. So you could interpret the results as due to the overall lower dietary fat intake, which could independently influence testosterone levels. With the possible exception of the one study on postmenopausal women, and I am not sure how well those results apply to us. I only looked briefly at those studies though so this may be an inaccurate interpretation.

    I have also been thinking along the lines of "saturated fat is at least good for your hormones even though it's bad for your health", but I am not sure how well founded the claim is.

    Anecdotally I "feel" better when eating a lot of saturated fat but this may just be a placebo thing...
    Last edited by EiFit91; 06-15-2021 at 11:16 AM.
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    Originally Posted by EliKoehn View Post
    I'd be curious to see the test levels of men who are vegetarian or otherwise have very little saturated fat in their diet, as meat/eggs/dairy are usually associated with it, by cliché and my own observation.
    I normally don't see very many big burly muscular guys that are vegetarians. Most vegetarians I see are built like a pencil and look like hippies man.
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    Originally Posted by paulinkansas View Post
    I normally don't see very many big burly muscular guys that are vegetarians. Most vegetarians I see are built like a pencil and look like hippies man.
    But it might be that pencil guys are just more likely to be drawn to vegetarianism.
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    Originally Posted by EiFit91 View Post
    But it might be that pencil guys are just more likely to be drawn to vegetarianism.
    It would be amusing to me if a bunch of us and our avatars went to a vegetarian forum and took it over.
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    Originally Posted by paulinkansas View Post
    It would be amusing to me if a bunch of us and our avatars went to a vegetarian forum and took it over.
    https://www.veggieboards.com/forums/...roductions.19/
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    Yes, but what does Jordan Feigenbaum have to say about saturated fat and testosterone?

    Although it's commonly parroted that "saturated fat raises testosterone", there's surprisingly little data specifying whether saturated fat or simply dietary fat in general raises testosterone. The idea that SFA in particular helps raise test seems largely speculative.

    Forewarning, this is an old article and there's tons of complete poppycock broscience on this website, but I think it's a pretty good rundown of the research on fat intake and testosterone with a link to some studies: https://www.t-nation.com/lean-built-...saturated-fat/

    Originally Posted by EiFit91 View Post
    I have also been thinking along the lines of "saturated fat is at least good for your hormones even though it's bad for your health", but I am not sure how well founded the claim is.

    Anecdotally I "feel" better when eating a lot of saturated fat but this may just be a placebo thing...
    It's totally possible. I've honestly noticed the same thing at times from increasing my SFA intake. Keep in mind that, even if testosterone is raised slightly from increased dietary SFA, it will just impact your mood/energy and maybe sex drive. Not only has this been my anecdotal experience (I've been all over the healthy range), but I believe Mr. Pedantic Bully pointed me to a study some months ago that suggested that testosterone fluctuations within a normal range have little impact on muscle gain.

    It's also worth considering that maybe the proposed link between SFA and testosterone could be due to cholesterol. There are a lot of studies (unfortunately) funded by the American Egg Board suggesting higher cholesterol intakes or eating egg yolks boost strength output and/or testosterone levels. This is still largely unproven. Inb4 hormone Vince Gironda's precursor shake...

    In summary, SFA and/or dietary cholesterol MIGHT have the potential to raise testosterone levels. They do also both, however, POTENTIALLY increase your risk for CVD depending on your genetics and lifestyle. This is proven. Given what's known about the benefits of MFAs on test levels from the Volek study you shared, it's probably best to play it safe and keep your SFA intake at least somewhat in check.
    Last edited by Strawng; 06-15-2021 at 03:26 PM.
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    I think MrPb has done research on this, i’ll wait to see if he chimes in.
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    my experience with blood work yes, you will see increases from eating whole eggs and quality red meat but.....i also increased nuts and seeds. i would purposely eat brazil nuts because of their high selenium content, have the meat and nut breakfast (bison burger patty with macadamias). so it wasn't only eggs and beef.

    back in my mid 30's i used to do a lot of whey and avoided whole eggs, ate mostly white meats (chicken turkey fish).

    i remember at age 36 getting my test levels taken and i was at 667 total but never checked my free level. ten years later (i'm 46 now) i almost never test below 700 minus one occasion when sick. i should add when i use a test booster i hover around 1000 with an absurdly high free test level. but just me being lazy and not working out much 700 plus seems to be my level and i start almost every day with 4 eggs. cholesterol levels will go up when i do a dozen daily for weeks at a time but triglycerides don't change much. when i go back down to my usual number my cholesterol drops down in a month or so to my regular levels i've been maintaining for over a decade (when i began checking).

    i don't know if my average test levels are higher because of the eggs or the fact that i've added nuts and seeds to my diet.

    i get it people post links to studies but how about checking your own levels to see what works for you. this is why when the brainiacs give me advice i ask them for their personal results and labs to go with it....usually end up hearing crickets.
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    and as Strawng mentioned, look into Vince Gironda's Hormone Precursor Shake!

    it'll turn Mary's into men, make your grandmother out bench you AND give you the raw look of POWER!!!!!
    high testosterone crew
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    Originally Posted by ManwittaPlan View Post
    and as Strawng mentioned, look into Vince Gironda's Hormone Precursor Shake!

    it'll turn Mary's into men, make your grandmother out bench you AND give you the raw look of POWER!!!!!
    I tried making it with Tofu instead of eggs and almond milk instead of half and half... but my voice raised 3 octaves and I literally lost my balls for 3 weeks...

    I found them in a purse beneath my kitchen sink.

    I guess I did it wrong
    The power of carbs compels me!
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    Originally Posted by AdamWW View Post
    I tried making it with Tofu instead of eggs and almond milk instead of half and half... but my voice raised 3 octaves and I literally lost my balls for 3 weeks...

    I found them in a purse beneath my kitchen sink.

    I guess I did it wrong
    If that was true I would’ve invited you over !
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    Originally Posted by ManwittaPlan View Post
    If that was true I would’ve invited you over !
    you minx
    The power of carbs compels me!
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    Registered User ManwittaPlan's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by AdamWW View Post
    you minx
    Minx is my middle name…
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    team ketchup AdamWW's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ManwittaPlan View Post
    Minx is my middle name…
    I thought it was 'witta'
    The power of carbs compels me!
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    yes, my real first name is MAN
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    Originally Posted by ManwittaPlan View Post
    yes, my real first name is MAN
    I thought it was Manwitta? We had our helpdesk outsourced to India and I think there are a couple Manwitta’s there.
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    Originally Posted by desslok View Post
    I thought it was Manwitta? We had our helpdesk outsourced to India and I think there are a couple Manwitta’s there.
    it's whatever you want it to be if your imagination is strong enough!
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    Originally Posted by desslok View Post
    I thought it was Manwitta? We had our helpdesk outsourced to India and I think there are a couple Manwitta’s there.
    There are many people I work with from India with 'sh*t' in their first name

    Meetings are fun
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    you work at dunkin? those indians make a damn good cup of coffee!!!
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    Even if your diet is in order, I doubt not enough saturated fat is a problem most of us have to deal with. Even plant-based foods (that don't taste like s***) have a good deal of it.
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    team ketchup AdamWW's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ManwittaPlan View Post
    you work at dunkin? those indians make a damn good cup of coffee!!!
    Reminds me of:

    The power of carbs compels me!
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    Originally Posted by AdamWW View Post
    Reminds me of:

    Ha Ha!!!
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    Originally Posted by AdamWW View Post
    Reminds me of:


    (apologies for any offensive language in clip but it's QT so...)
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    Originally Posted by air2fakie View Post


    (apologies for any offensive language in clip but it's QT so...)
    That was one of the weirder scenes lol.

    That coffee's up there with the fabled Five Dollar Shake
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    Originally Posted by Strawng View Post
    It's totally possible. I've honestly noticed the same thing at times from increasing my SFA intake. Keep in mind that, even if testosterone is raised slightly from increased dietary SFA, it will just impact your mood/energy and maybe sex drive. Not only has this been my anecdotal experience (I've been all over the healthy range), but I believe Mr. Pedantic Bully pointed me to a study some months ago that suggested that testosterone fluctuations within a normal range have little impact on muscle gain.
    The two things I have noticed anecdotally is more morning wood and less depressive tendencies (both of which have been linked to testosterone).

    I actually think mrpb argued that even within the normal range you should see effects if your testosterone levels permanently increase for a prolonged period of time. I then pedentically argued about details of the study. Later, as I normally do when I try to disagree with mrpb, I changed my mind and ended up agreeing with him.
    Last edited by EiFit91; 06-16-2021 at 12:55 AM.
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    Originally Posted by ManwittaPlan View Post
    my experience with blood work yes, you will see increases from eating whole eggs and quality red meat but.....i also increased nuts and seeds. i would purposely eat brazil nuts because of their high selenium content, have the meat and nut breakfast (bison burger patty with macadamias). so it wasn't only eggs and beef.

    back in my mid 30's i used to do a lot of whey and avoided whole eggs, ate mostly white meats (chicken turkey fish).

    i remember at age 36 getting my test levels taken and i was at 667 total but never checked my free level. ten years later (i'm 46 now) i almost never test below 700 minus one occasion when sick. i should add when i use a test booster i hover around 1000 with an absurdly high free test level. but just me being lazy and not working out much 700 plus seems to be my level and i start almost every day with 4 eggs. cholesterol levels will go up when i do a dozen daily for weeks at a time but triglycerides don't change much. when i go back down to my usual number my cholesterol drops down in a month or so to my regular levels i've been maintaining for over a decade (when i began checking).

    i don't know if my average test levels are higher because of the eggs or the fact that i've added nuts and seeds to my diet.

    i get it people post links to studies but how about checking your own levels to see what works for you. this is why when the brainiacs give me advice i ask them for their personal results and labs to go with it....usually end up hearing crickets.
    There are two reasons why I favor studies instead of individual bloodwork.

    The first is that the form of micromanagement required to do tests based on own bloodwork properly and learn something from it is something that would negatively impact my quality of life. And just doing such tests all the time and obsessing about it in general seems stressful to me. Lipid panels is the only thing I find good reasons to actually bother to check.

    The second is that the form of micromanagement required to do those tests and learn from them is way harder to pull off than most people think. There are two issues, first there is random error (noise) and then there is systematic error (bias). The thing you will test (e.g. testosterone) will randomly fluctuate and you need to do many tests switching the "treatment" off and on to get a sense of if it's actually a causal relationship. You may also be prone to systematic error - if you don't keep everything else the same while varying the "treatment" on and off your bloodwork tests can pick up the effect of those factors rather than the thing you are interested in.

    Scientists circumvent both of these issues, by combining deliberate control measures and randomization in a sample that is larger than just one individual.

    Hence there are tons of broscientists who think different supplements work even when randomized trials show they don't. I am going with the randomized trials.
    Last edited by EiFit91; 06-15-2021 at 11:37 PM.
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    Originally Posted by EiFit91 View Post
    There are two reasons why I favor studies instead of individual bloodwork.

    The first is that the form of micromanagement required to do tests based on own bloodwork properly and learn something from it is something that would negatively impact my quality of life. And just doing such tests all the time and obsessing about it in general seems stressful to me. Lipid panels is the only thing I find good reasons to actually bother to check.

    The second is that the form of micromanagement required to do those tests and learn from them is way harder to pull off than most people think. There are two issues, first there is random error (noise) and then there is systematic error (bias). The thing you will test (e.g. testosterone) will randomly fluctuate and you need to do many tests switching the "treatment" off and on to get a sense of if it's actually a causal relationship. You may also be prone to systematic error - if you don't keep everything else the same while varying the "treatment" on and off your bloodwork tests can pick up the effect of those factors rather than the thing you are interested in.

    Scientists circumvent both of these issues, by combining deliberate control measures and randomization in a sample that is larger than just one individual.

    Hence there are tons of broscientists who think different supplements work even when randomized trials show they don't. I am going with the randomized trials.
    Nice!

    Yes evidence based is what I do as well however I take it a step further and make sure it’s working for me. If I’m paying for it long term I want to know what’s working in my body.

    Check out my t booster thread in the supplement forum where I have blood drawn every 4 and 8 weeks respectively over the course of this last year. Times of blood draw is listed on screenshot along with my age, etc.
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