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Going vegetarian can reduce men’s libido by a quarter, according to new research

"Low-fat diets appear to decrease testosterone levels in men."

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Trendy low-fat diets slash testosterone levels – making them less horny.

The male sex hormone also protects against heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s.

Vegetarian versions were the worst – causing decreases of up to 26 percent.

They focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.

The foods are rich in fibre and low in calories compared to meat and other animal produce.

Other low fat diets, such as vegan, cut the key chemical by 10 to 15 per cent on average.

Lead author Dr. Joseph Whittaker, a nutritional therapist at Worcester University, said: “There were significant decreases in sex hormones on low-fat compared to high-fat diets.”

The findings showed Brits and other Europeans are particularly prone to the effects of the fashionable eating plans.

They are based on blood samples from over 200 young and middle aged men with an average age of 46.

Dr. Whittaker said: “Low-fat diets appear to decrease testosterone levels in men.”

He added: “Men with European ancestry may experience a greater decrease in testosterone, in response to a low-fat diet.

Male celebrities who have switched to vegetarian or vegan diets include Brad Pitt, Tobey Maguire, Woody Harrelson, Russell Brand, and Mike Tyson.

A normal testosterone range is 300 to 1,000 nanograms per decilitre (ng/dL) – dependent on age.

Average levels have been falling for 50 years – and diets offer a low-risk strategy of raising them.

Dr. Whittaker and colleagues pooled data from six earlier studies where participants were first put on a high 40 percent fat diet.

Testosterone plunged after they were then transferred to a diet with half the amount of fat.

Omega 6 polyunsaturated fats predominantly found in vegetable oils may damage cells’ ability to produce testosterone.

They are more prone to oxidation – which is harmful, explained Dr. Whittaker.

He said: “Ideally, we would like to see a few more studies to confirm our results. However, these studies may never come.

“Normally researchers want to find new results, not replicate old ones.

“In the meantime, men with low testosterone would be wise to avoid low fat diets.”

Dietary fat is a controversial topic – with proponents of diets low in fats or carbohydrates often in stark disagreement.

Dr. Whittaker said: “The benefits of low fat diets such as reduced cholesterol levels should be weighed against potential downsides – such as decreased testosterone.”

Guidelines in the UK and US have focused on limiting fat intake to less than 35 percent of total calories.

But as more work is done on high fat, low carb diets this traditional view is coming under increasing scrutiny.

In recent years, high fat diets have been shown to destroy harmful blood fats called triglycerides and reduce blood pressure.

They have also been found to increase ‘good’ HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol.

The latest study published in The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology now suggest they increase testosterone.

Low fat diets typically predominantly contain whole grain foods, lean meats such as skinless chicken, fish, fruit, vegetables and pulses.

While these are healthy choices, experts stress the importance of including fats in the diet for men, found in meats, nuts and dairy products like cheese and milk.

Men should ideally consume plenty of monounsaturated fats, which are found in olive oil, avocados and nuts, to boost testosterone.

Fat is an essential component of a healthy, balanced diet. Experts generally advise against overdoing consumption of saturated fats found in butter, fatty meats, cakes and pastries.

Too much fat in your diet, especially saturated fats, can raise ‘bad’ LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol – which also increases the risk of heart disease.

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