Why Your Oatmeal is Killing Your Libido

Have you noticed that there are a large number of advertisements in the media about checking your testosterone or “Low T” Syndrome?  It seems like this is the new advertising trend on the radio and late night TV.

Suddenly, everyone’s testosterone is low and men are complaining about their libido,  . . . or are they?

Low testosterone

Benefits of Testosterone Optimization. (Image Credit: ArtOfManliness.com)

If you practice medicine long enough, you’ll see a trend that seems to have arisen as our waistlines have expanded.  About half of the men in my office with insulin resistance, pre-diabetes or diabetes have low testosterone levels.  But this shouldn’t be a surprise.  Type II diabetes, metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance are all driven by an over production in insulin in response to a carbohydrate load in the meal. Patients with these conditions produce between two to ten times the normal insulin in response to a starchy meal. A number of studies both in animal and human models demonstrate that insulin has a direct correlation on testosterone suppression in the blood. This has been demonstrated in both men and women.  In fact, glucose intake has been shown to suppress testosterone and LH in healthy men by suppressing the gonadal hormone axis and more predominant testosterone suppression is seen in patient with insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome.

In fact, to put it simply, insulin increases the conversion (aromitization) of testosterone to estrogen in men (it does the opposite in women).  Interestingly, Leptin resistance has a similar effect.  I tend to see the worst lowering of testosterone in men with both insulin and leptin resistance.

How to you improve your testosterone?  Supplemental testosterone has been shown to help, but it comes with some risks, including prostate enlargement and stimulating growth of prostate cancer.  The most natural way to improve your testosterone is to change your diet.

A low carbohydrate or ketogenic diet turns down the insulin production and allows the testosterone to be available for use by the body. A ketogenic diet has the effect of reducing leptin resistance as well through weight loss.  A simple dietary change of this type is frequently seen in my office to increase testosterone by 100-150 points.


KetoOS – Drinkable Exogenous Ketones

What is a ketogenic diet?  It is a diet that restricts carbohydrates to less than 50 grams per day, thereby causing the body to use ketones as the primary fuel source.  So, for breakfast tomorrow morning, hold the oatmeal (1/2 cup of Quaker Instant Oatmeal is 31 grams of carbohydrates) and have the bacon and eggs.  And, rather than have the cheesecake for desert this evening, have an extra slice of steak butter on your rib-eye and hold the potato.

20 Comments on “Why Your Oatmeal is Killing Your Libido

  1. Pingback: Common Ketosis Killers | The KetoDynamic Antidote

  2. And yet oatmeal has so much fiber that it raises your insulin only slightly over a long period because it’s so slow to digest, and oatmeal is known to actually increase testosterone and has many other excellent health benefits.

    Your claim about adding testosterone is misleading as well. Taking testosterone will help temporarily, but only until your body reacts by cutting down the amount of testosterone it produces naturally.

    P.S. Although I think most traditionally trained doctors aren’t very good, those practicing osteopathic therapies aren’t any better.

    • Leslie, I appreciate your comment, however, you are wrong on both accounts. 15 years of experience with thousands of patients have demonstrated that whether you raise insulin in first hour or the fourth hour, it (oatmeal) still raises cholesterol and still throws every one of my patients out of ketosis. You can get the same benefit from fiber by eating leafy greens. Giving testosterone to patients that don’t need testosterone will cause a decrease in production, but that is not the group I was referring to. I am sorry you’ve had such a poor experience with allopathic and osteopathic physicians. If you have a more effective time tested approach, I’d love to hear it.

      • All I can say is that about a year ago or a little more I decided to change my morning breakfast from cereal and milk or eggs and toast to just oatmeal. I put half a banana and raisins on my oatmeal and a little 2% milk on top. Combined with regular exercise, I am happy to say that I went from 225lbs to 184lbs – 40lb drop!! In addition, my cholesterol dropped by double digits. I’m now well under the recommended levels for bad cholesterol and over for good. I also stopped putting sugar in my coffee. Other than that I am not very strict with my diet. I do treat myself occasionally and have a couple of glasses of wine typically once a week with dinner. I do overall try to eat as clean as possible. So bottom line oatmeal in the morning helped me drop weight, drop my cholesterol and overall I feel killer. If anyone wants proof on the cholesterol I will happily email my trend chart numbers… Not saying that keto won’t work. All I’m saying is oatmeal seems to be working for me.

      • Lonnie,
        Congratulations. There is a dramatic difference in the carbohydrate content between milk and cereal and oatmeal. Overall the oatmeal has a lower carbohydrate content than most cereals. So, I’m not surprised you were successful as about 1/3 of the population will be . . . it’s that other 2/3rds of society that will struggle with the oatmeal as well because of insulin resistance.

    • Leslie
      Search nutrition data.com for accuracy

      All carbs are either fiber or non fiber. Fiber does not turn to sugar.
      All non fiber turns to sugar.

      1 cup of oatmeal is Total Carbohydrate 31.8g with 4 g fiber
      31 – 4 = 27 g non fiber and all non fiber turns to sugar…27 grams of it.
      5 g sugar in 1 teaspoon
      So..27 divided by 5=5
      That bowl of oatmeal is 5 teaspoons of sugar.

      That raises insulin. Shuts down insulin sensitive lipase. Stops fat burning.
      Insulin is a growth factor for cancer and heart disease and stores sugar as sat fat viscerally. All bad. No good.
      Oatmeal fails.

      • I think Leslie’s right. There’s nothing wrong with oatmeal. In fact, it’s almost kind of a superfood. I’m a NSCA certified personal trainer with many years of experience. I tell all my clients to eat oatmeal, especially those who work out in the morning. It breaks down slowly, providing a steady stream of carbs (energy).

        On the other hand, I’m not against eating eggs or bacon, but in moderation.

        Respectfully, DocMuscles’ advice is out of date. Recent studies have indeed shown that oatmeal can raise testosterone in women as well as men. I can’t count the number of middle-aged men who’ve later
        thanked me for suggesting they eat more oatmeal.

      • Jack, thanks for your candor but I respectfully disagree. I’ve got thousands of patients that are insulin resistant, prediabetic and or low in testosterone and the removal of oatmeal was the key in changing their metabolism, raising their testosterone naturally and reversing their risk for diabetes.

  3. Pingback: Why Your Oatmeal is Killing Your Libido - Adapt Your Life

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  6. Oh I see. You are addressing individuals suffering from various kinds of insulin resistance. Well that changes everything! I was referring only to people without such issues. After re-reading your web page, I see that was your focus. Apologies for the misunderstanding.

  7. Just wanted to share my two cents here on Oatmeal: my husband ate oatmeal almost every morning for breakfast for 2/3 years. (as recommend by some starchy vegan doctors) and beyond sheer boredum with his breakfast he is now so intolerant to it he can’t have oats at all. If so he’s camping the porcelain throne holding on for dear life; if you catch my drift. Me personally I get such bad stomach cramps from oatmeal I’d rather not eat. I’m not allergic (recently had a full allergy panel actually 176 different little pokes… ugh!) yet certain foods don’t sit well with me.
    Back to my husband: he used to donate plasma on a regular basis and no matter how much protein he consumed from plant sources even with some lean meat added in his protein was below 6.0 and the plasma places won’t let you donate for fear of your health. Getting rid of oatmeal helped it go up slightly. Now we come to find out he’s EXTREMELY low in testosterone and frankly I wonder if the vegan advice is what caused it. I joke with my husband that I have more testosterone in my body than he does.
    So eat your oatmeal if you want, but I’ve seen no good come from in in several people, not just us two.

  8. I completely respectfully disagree with what you are saying in this article. Saying oatmeal decreases your natural testosterone levels is a lie. Telling people to eat more eggs and bacon in the morning is a horrible recommendation from a “health expert!” Are you serious?! First of all, bacon is forbidden according to the bible just to start off with. I eat oatmeal every morning and I am extremely healthy

    • Lee,
      First, I appreciate your candor and your willingness to accuse someone you’ve never met a “liar,” however, I pride myself on integrity and honesty and in regards to something this important, I would never intentionally try to mislead someone attempting to lose weight. I’ve been actively monitoring both my own and my patient’s testosterone, blood sugar and insulin responses (we have over 6000 patient visits per year) over the last 15 years of medical practice with close attention to dietary journals and these results demonstrate clear evidence of the information in the article above. If you are one of those people without any insulin resistance, oatmeal may very well be just fine for you. This article was written in reference to the 85% of people I see on a daily basis that have mild to severe insulin resistance and have dramatic insulin and testosterone changes using oatmeal every day (27 grams of carbohydrate per serving – and how many Americans eat just one serving plain?).
      Second, if you’re going to quote scripture, then you better include Acts 10:12-15 where Peter was reprimanded for calling food (like bacon) unclean, which the Lord had cleansed once the Law of Moses was fulfilled (See also Acts 11:7-9).

      • Thanks for clarifying the scriptures to Lee. I was about to say that he needs to study his bible before he quotes scripture:))

  9. This guy’s a doctor? What a blanket statement to say oatmeal is bad! I don’t understand how he thinks carbs are that evil? EXCESS carbs of course but wtf he acts like any amount is deadly? Meanwhile he looks more bloated than alot of other guys that EAT oatmeal. I always make sure I have enough fat like grass-fed butter with my oatmeal to lessen any blood sugar spikes. I’m 186 lbs and 8% bodyfat so I must be doing something right.

  10. The title of this article is misleading. Should read “Why Your Oatmeal is Killing Your Libido IF YOU ARE INSULIN RESISTANT.”

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