By Brad Pilon, MS
In men, testosterone plays a key role in overall health and well-being, and the prevention of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, depression and osteoporosis. It is largely responsible for determining how much muscle mass a man possesses and also has positive affects on a man’s libido.
In multiple research trials it has been shown that testosterone has a dose response relationship to the amount of muscle you are able to have on your body. This means, the more testosterone you have, the more likely are to have more muscle.
Testosterone levels decline as men age and this decline plays a significant role in the aging process and the development of many age related diseases, including cardiovascular disease and diabtes. Interstingly in women the exact opposite relationship exists. As women age testosterone levels tend to increase and this increase is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Athletes often use testosterone in the form of anabolic steroids as a way to improve performance, build muscle and decrease body fat. It is considered to be a form of doping in most sports. (The International Olympic Committee has banned Testosterone doping).
There are several different ways a person can take testosterone, including intramuscular injections, transdermal gels and patches, and implantable pellets.
Testosterone doping is prevalent in bodybuilding and fitness competitions, and is largely responsible for the massive, yet unrealistic proportions of professionals in these sports.
Outside of doping, Testosterone levels can also be affected by workouts, nutrition and even mood states.
Because testosterone is highly sensitive to stresses like nutrition, exercise and sleep, research was conducted to examine the affect of intermittent fasting on Testosterone levels. This research has shown that Testosterone is highest in the fasted state in both men and women.
Even a small meal (about 300 Calories) is able to decrease serum testosterone levels for over 3 hours, and it doesn't seem to matter whether this meal is made of Fat, Protein, Carbohydrates or sugars. Intrestingly, this even includes post-workout meals
While any meal will actutely decrease testosterone levels, it is well documented that high protein diets and high fiber diets tend to decrease testosterone levels and diets with lower protein but higher saturated fat tend to increase testosterone levels. However, while these are long-term changes it is unclear if these changes in testosterone are large enough to influence our ability to build muscle mass.
The important thing to remember about fasting and Testosterone is that while brief fasts do not seem to impact normal Testosterone levels, longer periods of fasting may negatively influnce testosterone levels.
More prolonged fasts seem to be associated with slight decreases in Testosterone levels. A 58-hour fast has been noted to cause reduced morning serum Testosterone measurements by the third straight morning of fasting [Röjdmark S. 1987], however these measurements were still well within the normal range for healthy adults [Merck Manual 1992]. We have also seen significant decreases in Testosterone in men after 10 straight days of fasting (Kibanski A, 1981).
With Eat Stop Eat, you only fast for 24-hour periods, ensuring that serum testosterone levels never drop below normal. Also, Eat Stop Eat requires that you follow a resistance-training program, and resistance training can actually increase serum testosterone levels [Ahtiainen JP 2004].
More importantly Eat Stop Eat is a highly effecive method of weight loss, and Testosterone levels decrease in men as your body fat increases. Bluntly, the more body fat you have (espeically belly fat) the less Testosteorne you have. Unless, you are a woman, then your testosterone raises as you gain body fat (which isn't a good thing as high testosterone is associated with incresased disease risk in women).
Even when men partake in an extremely low calorie diet (320 Calories a day) for an extended period of time (between 8 and 20 weeks) testosterone to increase in men. So losing weight (and importantly body fat) is an extremely powerful way to boost testosterone levels.
In fact, the benefits of intermittent fasting in preserving Testosterone levels while you lose weight is even more important when you consider the fact that extreme amounts of exercise are able to causes decreases in testosterone in men, even when combined with a very high calorie intake.
The bottom line is that following Eat Stop Eat is an effective way to reduce body fat levels that will not lower your testosterone levels (and can actually protect a health testosterone level) all while still allowing you to build muscle mass.
Brad Pilon is a nutrition professional with over eight years experience working in the nutritional supplement industry specializing in clinical research management and new product development. Brad has completed graduate studies in nutritional sciences specializing in the use of short term fasting for weight loss.
His trademarked book Eat Stop Eat has been featured on national television and helped thousands of men and women around the world lose fat without sacrificing the foods they love. For more information on Eat Stop Eat, visit www.eatstopeat.com