The Risk of High Fat Diets
Right now high fat diets are very popular, and, unfortunately, if you implement them wrong, you can get yourself into trouble, potentially affecting testosterone and/or erections as I will explain below. But, first of all, how do I definite high fat? A high fat diet is one that gets about 40+% and above of total calories from fat.
NOTE: I am NOT attacking meat eating here, but rather a high fat diet based
on modern, industrial meats that are nothing like wild game. Almost all of
the problems in this article vanish if one eats range fed meats. I discuss
many options in my page on Low Fat Meats.
Most meat sold in the supermarkets here in the U.S. is between 30-50% fat.
These are incredibly high fat levels, due to modern livestock methods, with few
equivalents in nature. Yes, some fish are an exception, but then they are loaded with omega-3's. Can this possibly be good for a man, especially in the bedroom? I would argue that it is rarely going to help him
and I explain why below based on what I am seeing in the research:
1. Too High in Total Fat. One common middle-aged nightmare is
insulin resistance. Insulin resistance allows glucose levels to rise,
leading to damaged tissues throughout the body and accelerated aging. It
also results in a
number of metabolic changes that often lead to sexual dysfunction and put a man
at risk for many medical conditions such as heart disease, dementia, high blood
pressure and diabetes. Another name for insulin resistance is
"prediabetes", which I cover here in my link on
Metabolic Syndrome and Erectile
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Now what many men do not realize is that a High Fat Diet is so reliable at
bringing about insulin resistance that researchers use it in lab animals all the
time. In the above link, I document some studies where research have found
just how high fat diets do this and it includes alterations to the mitochondria,
the powerhouses of your cell which are linked to aging and oxidative damage.
Now will a High Fat Diet always induce insulin resistance in all men? Of
course, I cannot say that. But the bottom line is that one is clearly
living on the "razor's edge" and should carefully monitor his blood sugar
parameters in my opinion.
2. Too High in Saturated Fat. This is something that I cover in
great detail elsewhere on the site, such as in my link on The
Saturated Fat. What you should know is that saturated fat slows down
blood flow. Saturated fat literally stuns arteries and sludges the cells in the blood disrupting blood flow. This is why young men can usually eat a lot of saturated fat with minimal
impact on their sex life, simply because they still have ample nitric oxide to
compensate for the negative effects of saturated fat. This is NOT
true for many 40+ men, however, and is something to really watch out for.
Decreased blood flow negatively impacts many tissues especially, of course,
those in the penis and, according to some research, those in the brain.
I find on The Peak Testosterone Forum that few men over abou 45
will argue with me about saturated fat. It's always the young guys pushing the higher fat meals.
3. Too Low in Carbs. A big percentage of men on higher fat diets are actually Low Carb or Ketogenic. There are different variabtions of these diets, but men will consume less than about 50 or 60 grams of carbs per day. These diets have really struggled in the research lately and researchers have found that they signficiantly increase the risk for a) arrhythmias, b) heart damage, c) high LDL-P, d) decreased mood and on and on. You can read about these in my page on
The Potential Dangers of a Low Carb Diet for more information. The also greatly limit your abilitity to do higher intensity exercise, something I hope all Peak Testosterone readers are doing.
What is even more stunning is that a Low Carb Diet caused inflammation while
losing weight! This goes against the conventional wisdom that any diet
will improve health markers as long as you are experiencing weight loss.
It takes a nasty diet indeed to increase inflammation under these circumstances.
And that is exactly what a Low Fat Diet did in the above study: while CRP was actually lowered by 43% in the high carb,
CRP in the Low Carb group increased by 25% even though the Low Carb participants
lost more weight.
And here is a fact in a study that should catch every man's eye: endothelial vasoreactivity was reduced by the Low Carb Diet.  This means that
the lining of the arteries were not as responsive to stimuli to relax and open
and increase blood flow. That could easily translate to worsened
erections. Again, high fat diets, from what I have seen on the
Testosterone Forum are almost always enjoyed only by the younger guys.
4. Too High in Carnitine? At least here in the U.S., most men
consuming a lot of fat in their diet will also be consuming a lot of beef and
pork. Sure, it's possible they could be slurping down coconut oil and/or
fatty fish but this is unlikely from what I have seen. (Doing the latter could lead to low
grade mercury poisoning as I discuss in my link on The Safety of Fish Consumption.)
Most men are going to consume meat and, at least here in the U.S, two of the
most affordable and well-liked options are beef and pork.
However, in 2013 researchers found beef and pork and unique in that they contain MUCH
more carnitine than is found in any other dietary source. Furthermore, the
carnitine uniquely fires up your gut bacteria which releases a chemical called
TMAO that the researchers argued likely acclerates arteriosclerosis. For more information,
see #3 in my list of The Risks of Meat Consumption for more information.
REBUTTAL: This is a controversial result and there are studies that show that various forms are carnitine are
of cardiovascular benefit, so some experts are skeptical that it is actually the
carnitine that is the underlying issue. More on that below.
5. Too High in Added Antibiotics, Hormones, . When the study in #5 came out
showing that carnitine can cause arterial issues, the Paleo Diet gurus quickly
rallied against it and attempted to counter the conclusions. And a good debate
is always healthy of course. One of the Paleo objections was that modern
livestock here in the U.S. are
injected rather heavily with antibiotics and some of the antibiotics end up in
the meat and can alter gut flora. In other words, the argument is simply that
it's not the carnitine changing the gut but rather
the antibiotics that is causing the problems.  However, this highlights a huge problem in my opinion with most men consuming
Paleo and Low Carb Diets here in the U.S.: few men can afford to pay for range fed meats and end up eating factory farm livestock. These
animals are corn fed. hormone and antibiotic injected, GMO BT toxins and arsenic (eggs and fowl). How is this going to be good for long
"Can Exercise Protect the Brain From Fatty Foods?"
J Am Coll Nutr, 2007 Apr;26(2):163-9, "Low carbohydrate, high fat diet increases
C-reactive protein during weight loss"
3) Circulation, 2007, 116:II_819, "Abstract 3610: Comparative Effects of 3
Popular Diets on Lipids, Endothelial Function and Biomarkers of Atherothrombosis
in the Absence of Weight Loss"