It's a tricky topic. Here's what to do and, more importantly, what not to do.
The Testosterone Boosting Diet?
Is there a way to boost testosterone, or at least optimize it, via diet alone? First off, think of testosterone like a sex and reproduction barometer. It's partly responding to the environmental inputs.
When it comes to diet, the question is: Is there enough food to drive metabolic demand? Not too little and not too much? If so, bring on the T!
The metabolism wants the "goldilocks effect" when it comes to testosterone. This is why fat couch potatoes and ripped, show-ready bodybuilders have no motivation, no desire for sex, and soft, non-responsive, or less reliable erections.
So, the first thing to remember is, don't go too low for too long in any one of the macronutrients (protein, carbs, and fats). That can be a T killer. The second thing is to balance training with recovery.
But this topic is a nuanced one, and I don't want to come down too hard on any one dietary practice. I've seen slightly overweight individuals go on keto diets and measure notable positive changes in T levels. I've seen that same diet cause issues in libido, muscle gains, and erections. The discrepancy is explained by the individual.
If I had to give a general rule of thumb (which is usually dangerous and stupid), I'd say...
- Don't go below 20% fat.
- Don't go below 30% carbs.
- Keep your protein above 20%.
A 40-30-30 (carbs-protein-fat) ratio if you're trying to gain muscle or compete in a sport is great. A 30-40-30 macronutrient ratio if you're wanting to lose fat is good for most.
Oh, and some studies suggest that if you're low in magnesium, zinc, or vitamin D you may get a T boost from supplementation. ZMA® along with appropriate sun exposure and 2000-5000 IU vitamin D daily (take with your biggest meal) may be some good insurance.
So to repeat...
- Stay away from extremes in leanness and extremes in fatness.
- Stay away from extreme macronutrient and calorie imbalances.
- Train enough, but not too much.
If your T is optimized, you should feel it. Your brain will be focused and driven. Your exercise performance and recovery will be on point. You'll be lean and feel fit. And your penis will be responsive, recharged, and resilient.