A high consumption of sugar can result in high levels of sugar in your bloodstream, which can turn off the gene that controls your sex hormones. Here’s why: the simple sugars, glucose and fructose, are metabolised in your liver, with any excess stored as fat. Excess fat development deactivates your SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin) gene, causing your levels of SHBG protein to drop significantly. It is this SHBG protein that controls the level of your sex hormones testosterone and oestrogen.
Excess sugar raises insulin and causes a hormonal domino effect. In men, this drives down testosterone, which can lead to a whole range of symptoms including declining testosterone levels, a decrease in libido, erectile dysfunction, weight gain and the development of man boobs. In women it has the opposite effect, ramping up testosterone and reducing oestrogen and progesterone, the female hormones necessary for reproduction. As a result, this can result in interruptions to menstruation, fertility and arousal.
Are there any other foods you should be wary of?
Certain foods when consumed in excess can cause disruptions to your hormones responsible for your libido. These will be different for both men and women. Some of these foods include:
- Alcohol – excessive alcohol in men can result in erectile dysfunction.
- Foods that contain added hormones and antibiotics such as some red meats, chicken etc. can disrupt hormone balance.
- Processed or refined carbohydrate foods due to their sugar content.
- Soy bean products – eaten in excess, the phytoestrogens found in soy can lead to a reduction in testosterone levels.
- Fried foods and foods high in trans-fats – A high consumption of these foods can lead to weight gain, which can cause hormone imbalances.
Is there a particular chemical in foods that we should avoid?
All foods have naturally occurring chemicals in them. A food intolerance or sensitivity is when you have a reaction to a particular food chemical/s. People who suffer a food intolerance can have a single or multiple symptoms such as breathing and respiratory concerns, gastrointestinal discomfort, skin issues and even headaches and migraines. If you think that you react to certain foods, you should see your GP or dietitian who can look into food intolerance testing.
People can also react to certain food additives, preservatives, colours and flavours. As there are so many, it’s best to get tested if you have concerns.
Which foods will help boost things in the bedroom?
There are some foods that have been proven to improve libido. It won’t happen overnight, but regular consumption of these foods might help spice things up in the bedroom:
- Almonds and walnuts