Is Your Oatmeal is Killing You?

“Doc, if I don’t get my testosterone up, I’m just going to die!”

I’ve been hearing that statement from men more and more often lately.   And, the answer isn’t what you’d think.

If you’ve watched late night TV recently, you’ve probably seen the many advertisements for testosterone supplements for low testosterone in men or what is now being called “Low T” Syndrome.   It seems like this is the new advertising trend so much that patient’s use the term “Low T” as part of their conversations.

Watch the four minute short below about how your testosterone and sense of fatigue is being driven by your oatmeal or breakfast cereal . . .

Is it that men have just stopped making testosterone?  Suddenly, everyone’s testosterone is low and men are complaining about fatigue, libido, and erectile dysfunction . . . or are they?

It’s actually the oatmeal . . . and the breakfast cereals.  Clinically, when a man cuts the cereals and oatmeal out of his diet, he actually increases testosterone by 50-150 points within 1-2 months.

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.

Image Credit: http://www.townsendletter.com/July2012/metsyndrome0712.html

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

What that basically means is that your breakfast cereal or oatmeal decreases your ability to maintain testosterone by up to 50% (1), lowers your ability to stabilize muscle (2), increases your risk for heart attack and stroke and makes you fat!

Death by oatmeal  . . . really?

Yes.

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

What is a ketogenic diet?  It is a diet that restricts carbohydrates to less than 30 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.

Or, you might consider using a high fat shake with exogenous ketones.  This is my breakfast each morning:

Breakfastofchampions

Exogenous ketones mixed in sparkling water, 2 tablespoonfuls of coconut oil and my multi-vitamin and I’m usually full until after noon.

Either way, get rid of your breakfast cereals or oatmeal . . . it’s killing ya!

References:

  1. Ballester J et al., J Androl. “Insulin-dependent diabetes affects testicular function by FSH- and LH-linked mechanisms.” Sept-Oct 2004; 25(5): 706-19.
  2. Manninen AH, Nutr Metab (Lond). “Very-low-carbohydrate diets and preservation of muscle mass.” Jan 31, 2006; 3:9.

One Comment on “Is Your Oatmeal is Killing You?

  1. Another possible reason for disrupted sex hormones in both men and women is the recent rise in the amount of flax in our food, especially in gluten-free cereals and baked goods. Flax contains more estrogen than any plant food; much, much more than soy, which is used as a hormone replacement for menopause symptoms.

    Flax is used as an omega-3 supplement, as a replacement for gluten, fat, and eggs, and as a super-food for those on vegan, gluten-free, low-carb, or Paleo diets. I’ve heard from a lot of people who have had serious side effects from eating it since I started warning about the dangers of too much flax. More info and link here: http://www.carbwarscookbooks.com/have-you-lost-your-period-on-a-low-carb-diet-its-not-the-diet-its-the-flax/

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