Low-carbohydrate diets and men's cortisol and testosterone: Systematic review and meta-analysis

Testosterone and cortisol are classic anabolic and catabolic hormones, with a bidirectional relationship. Low-carbohydrate diets may affect these hormones, however individual studies show conflicting results. Therefore, we conducted a review to settle the controversy. The results indicated that low-carbohydrate diets cause a short-term increase in cortisol over the first couple of weeks, after which levels appear to return to baseline. This may be part of the adaption process to such diets, and non-pathological. Also, the results suggested that very high-protein diets may decrease testosterone, possibly in an effort to upregulate the urea cycle and increase nitrogen excretion. Although, this finding only applied to very high-protein diets, with protein intakes roughly three times the average person's.

Posted on March 01, 2023

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Authors
Publication Source
Nutrition and Health
Publication Date
February 2024

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