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As many as half of all men living in the United States have low testosterone levels, a condition characterized by libido loss and erectile dysfunction. Lifestyle modifications such as exercise and diet (to promote weight loss) are often recommended as a means to restore testosterone levels. Findings from a new study suggest that eating a lower-fat diet may contribute to low testosterone levels.
The study drew on data from 3,100 men between the ages of 18 and 80 years who were enrolled in NHANES studies between 1998 and 2012. The participants completed 2-day diet records and provided blood samples for testosterone analysis. The men’s diets were classified as low fat, low carbohydrate, Mediterranean, or non-restrictive.
Men who ate a low fat or Mediterranean diet had lower testosterone levels on average than men who ate a non-restrictive diet. These findings suggest that low-fat dietary recommendations for men who have low testosterone may have unintended consequences that should be weighed against any possible benefits associated with weight loss.
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