Why Saturated Fat is Essential to Increasing Testosterone Naturally
For decades the nutrition world and processed food manufacturers have been telling people that saturated fat would kill them. This half-truth has not only lead to the expansion of waistlines, but it may have also led to a world wide decline in testosterone.
Sure, some types of fats are bad for you, but some fats including good saturated fats are essential to human health and for optimal hormone production. On the other hand, fats like trans-fats; e.g., those hydrogenated from vegetable sources, clog your arteries and contribute to heart disease and cancer.
What are Saturated Fats
Each type of Saturated Fat is different in the number of hydrogens that are present and by their length.
Generally speaking, unhealthy saturated fats have a higher content of Long Chain Triglycerides (LCTs) which tend to be harder to assimilate in the body. Health fats tend to be higher in Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) which have a lower smoking point and are more readily available to the body.
MCTs, which are found in foods like coconut oil are more easily absorbed by the body and do not require enzymes to break them down, which means they are instantly metabolized and turned into energy. MCTs do not get oxidized by the body and are not stored as body fat, like many other types of fat.
Bad Saturated Fats
Saturated Fat has become a craze in the high fat Ketogenic diet circles, but the truth is that too much saturated fat can be a bad thing and lead to an increase risk of heart disease and cancer.
Because saturated fats from hydrogenated sources and animal sources (mostly comprised of LCTs) are harder to digest and assimilate, can become oxidized, and are then deposited in the bodies tissues and organs.
Multiple studies have confirmed this theory, but instead of studying the properties of different types of fats, researchers branded them all as bad leading to the "low fat" craze.
The impact of the "low fat" craze is beyond the scope of this post, but lets just say it's had devastating effects on society.
Sources Saturated Fats
Sources of Good Fats
- Cheese and Raw Dairy Sources
- Fatty Fish
- Nuts and Seeds (Roasted not cooked in Oil)
- Red Palm Oil
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sources of Bad Fats
- Fat cuts of beef, chicken, pork, and processed lunch meat
- Pasteurized Dairy (whole milk, butter, cheese, sour cream, ice cream)
- Palm Oil (Not Red Palm Oil)
- Vegetable Oils (Corn, Soy, Sunflower, etc.)
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Increasing Testosterone Naturally with Saturated Fat
Multiple studies have shown that healthy saturated fats are positively correlated to healthy male testosterone levels and that saturated fat is required by several pathways within the body that support the endocrine system.
An interesting study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that the androgenic hormone levels of male vegetarians were significantly lower than the levels of testosterone of those that included higher amounts of saturated fats in their diet.
An other Finnish study by Hämäläinen et al. also showed that a diet low in saturated fat resulted in a decrease in male androgen levels and was completely reversed when dietary fat was reintroduced.
To read the Finnish study cited above and others, click here.
Conclusion: Saturated fat plays an essential role in human health and for increasing and maintaining healthy levels of testosterone and other androgens. However, not all saturated fat is created equal and some fats (those full of LCTs) can lead to an increase risk of heart disease and cancer.
Try your best to eliminate unhealthy saturated fats from your diet and start replacing them with healthier choices like coconut oil, red palm oil, avocados, nuts, seeds, etc. This will benefit your health and help give your body the fuel it needs to keep your testosterone optimized.
Want to learn more? Check out this video by Coach Kevin Rail, host of the Train for Longevity Podcast.