Does keto impact your testosterone levels? Everything you need to know

Does keto impact your testosterone levels? Everything you need to know

8 min read


13 Sep 2023

Grab your cheat sheet

  1. What is the keto diet, exactly?
  2. Does keto affect testosterone levels?
  3. How to follow the keto diet
  4. How does keto affect men? What you need to know
  5. The link between cortisol, testosterone & keto
  6. Should you try the keto diet?

The ketogenic diet (or 'keto diet') has exploded in popularity because of its quick-fire weight body-shredding benefits. 

But, did you know that there's a link between keto and testosterone

Yes, this low-carb diet might help you burn body fat while going for muscle growth gains—but there are a few things you should know when it comes to your total testosterone levels.

Here we're going to tell you all you need to know about keto and testosterone. But, first, we're going to look at the key features of the world's most popular low-carb diet.

What is the keto diet, exactly?

Keto diet

Good question. Basically, the ketogenic diet is an eating pattern that involves consuming less than 50 grams of carbohydrates a day as well as moderate to high amounts of protein, and plenty of healthy fats.

First introduced all the way back in the 1920s, this low-carb diet was used to treat people with epilepsy based on the idea that periods of fasting helped to manage seizures.

In the modern age, countless people the world over follow the keto diet to reduce their fat mass while working to build muscle. There are a few things to consider when it comes to following a keto diet the right way—and we're going to look at them right now.

Read: Does a vegan diet impact your testosterone? for more insider diet advice fresh from the Testo Prime HQ.

Does keto affect testosterone levels?

Did you know? Following a low-calorie ketogenic diet can actually boost your testosterone levels. In fact, a study on college-aged men discovered that guys following a keto diet saw a significant boost in testosterone production.

So, to answer the question: 'does keto mess with testosterone?'—yes, it does— but in a positive way. Yes, 'going keto' can boost testosterone. But how, exactly?

To get scientific for a moment, lower your blood sugar levels which, in turn, can actually boost testosterone in most men. Some studies also suggest that the extra cholesterol that an eating pattern with a higher amount of dietary fat can also improve total testosterone levels.

So, if you're a guy who suffers from low testosterone levels, 'going keto' could give you the boost you've been looking for—but you should proceed with a little caution. To improve your overall health and tackle low testosterone levels the right way, you should follow this popular eating pattern properly.

Read: 9 testosterone-boosting exercises for insider tips on how to boost your 't' levels while getting stronger, fitter, and leaner.

How to follow the keto diet

To follow the keto diet, you've got to get your food ratios right. There are a good few variations to the ketogenic diet, but as a general rule of thumb, here's how to follow this popular eating pattern successfully.

Keto weighing foods

  • Eat less than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day (around 5% of your daily intake)
  • Make sure that you get around 20% of your daily food intake from protein
  • Make sure you get around 75% of your daily food intake from dietary fats

To get the potential benefits of following the ketogenic diet, you should also aim to chow down on no more than around 2,000 calories per day. No easy feat when you're an active, go-getting guy who burns more energy than the Duracell Bunny.

What foods can you eat on a keto diet?

This low-carb, moderate protein diet has a few dos and don'ts when it comes to the foods you can eat for maximum body-boosting success. Let's take a quick look.

Do eat

  • Quality animal proteins like fish, lean red meat, turkey, and chicken. Or, complete proteins like tofu or tempeh if you're on a veggie or vegan buzz
  • Dairy foods like eggs, cheese (especially halloumi, blue cheese, cottage cheese, and feta), and plain Greek yogurt
  • Veggies like leafy greens, peppers, squash, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, asparagus, eggplant, tomato, and green beans
  • Fruits like berries, lemon, watermelon, peaches, oranges, mangoes, pears, and bananas
  • Dietary fat foods like nuts, seeds, olive oil, avocados, and oily fish

Don't eat

  • Potatoes and starchy veggies like peas and corn
  • Refined carbs like bread, pasta, and rice
  • Beer, soda, juice, and mixed drinks
  • Condiments and syrups
  • Dried fruits and trail mixed
  • Highly processed stuff and junk food

The pros of following a ketogenic diet

According to several studies, there are some body-boosting benefits to 'going keto'. Yes, following a ketogenic diet can:

  • Improve your skin
  • Reduce your appetite and food cravings
  • Help you shred weight and burn fat faster
  • Reduce the risk of certain cancers
  • Enhance your body composition
  • Potentially improve heart health

Bodybuilder on keto diet

The cons of following a ketogenic diet

While 'going keto' does have its fair share of perks, there are two sides to every coin. Before you embark on this restrictive diet, here's what you should know. Keto-style diets can cause:

  • Kidney stones
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Bouts of constipation
  • Low blood pressure
  • Some nutritional deficiencies
  • Dehydration and a nasty case of the 'keto flu' (yeah, that's a thing)

How does keto affect men? What you need to know

Now that you know 'going keto' can tackle low testosterone levels and you understand the pros as well as the cons of following this style of fat loss diet, let's dive into how it might affect you over time.

Fighting obesity

Obesity is one of the main risk factors for 'low t', so keto diets can actually help to tackle the issue. If you're obese, 'going keto' may well help you reduce your body fat while boosting your total testosterone levels and giving you more energy.

Boosting muscle mass

Keto diets also offer the magic combo of helping you lose weight while building muscle mass. A study from UC Davis Health shows that following a ketogenic diet even helps to boost the size and strength of aging muscles while improving brain health. So, whether you're a young guy wanting to get ripped or an older statesman looking for added health benefits as you age, 'going keto' may well be for you.

Leveling up your sex drive

By tackling low testosterone, the ketogenic diet can also boost your sex drive. Higher testosterone is linked to a better libido as well as better sexual performance—which will make you magnificent in the sack (also, think of all the extra calories you'll burn). 'Go keto' and your partner may well thank you for it.

Improving your mood

Lower levels of testosterone production can have a negative impact on your mood. So, following a ketogenic diet the right way will raise your total testosterone, improving your general mood as well as your energy levels. A real win-win.

working out while on a keto diet

FYI: While keto eating patterns can improve your overall health, they're not for everyone. You should always weigh up the pros and cons before making a commitment. And, if you have any doubts, talk them through with your doctor.

Read: Our guide on how to get rid of the dad bod without weights to discover the link between regular exercise and testosterone.

The link between cortisol, testosterone & keto

There's no denying it: diet and testosterone are linked. But, an unusual nutritional balance (moderate protein, fewer carbs, and more fats) coupled with daily calorie restriction can create a host of changes within the body.

We've talked about how keto can boost total testosterone—but what about your cortisol levels? Well, when your body goes into starvation mode, it can cause you to release more cortisol.

Cortisol is a stress hormone and if your body places itself into a starvation setting because of your keto eating pattern, it will release a higher-than-average amount. The result? Possible energy crashes, lower metabolism, and weight gain.

So, what's the link between cortisol and testosterone? Too much cortisol in your system can actually dilute the testosterone in your bloodstream. In turn, this can actually stunt the testosterone-boosting benefits of 'going keto.' With this in mind, if keto causes you to fire out too much cortisol, this particular high fat diet probably isn't for you.

Should you try the keto diet?

There's no doubt about it: keto eating patterns can affect testosterone. As a steroid hormone, healthy levels of testosterone will give you the boost you need to succeed in life and in training.

There may be plenty of evidence to suggest that diet and testosterone are linked. And, it may be true that keto can boost testosterone—but, as we've explored—dietary carbohydrate restriction does have its setbacks.

Keto and 't': final thoughts

Before 'going full keto' to see how embarking on this particular eating plan affects testosterone for you, it's worth considering whether the cons are worth the risk. 

Remember: If you're in doubt, talk to your doctor or physician about how keto might impact your testosterone production and whether it's safe for you to try.

'Going keto' for a short time frame might be the way to go. That way, you can dip your toes in the water and see if this diet offers the healthy testosterone-boosting benefits you deserve. If not, you can stop and make additional tweaks to your diet.

Tackle your 't' levels with TestoPrime

You might find that using keto as a basic framework for your diet will help flood your body with more testosterone in a way that's healthier and more balanced.

Coupled with the right supplement, you can follow a well-rounded, fat-burning, muscle-boosting diet while getting the testosterone boost you need to stay healthy, energetic, and virile.

TestoPrime is a tried-and-tested 't-boosting' supplement that will keep your testosterone levels healthy. Trusted by health-conscious men across the globe, TestoPrime is packed with safe, clinically-backed ingredients designed to:

  • Improve your endurance
  • Reduce your stress levels
  • Support healthy weight loss
  • Boost muscle strength

Yes, a daily dose of TestoPrime will work alongside a healthy diet and training program to keep your 't levels' in the green to improve your performance and boost your health where it counts.

We hope you've found our guide helpful and for more 't-boosting' tips, read all about how testosterone can impact your lifespan.