Lifestyle Patient Awareness

8 Foods That Are Bad For Your Hormones

Bad foods for Hormones
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What Do Hormones Do?

The body works like a well-oiled machine using different biological processes to keep itself healthy and fit. It is our hormones that work as messengers and ensure that the bodily functions are carried out properly. But what are these hormones? Hormones are chemicals that course through our systems and provide organs with instructions to work efficiently. From controlling various biological functions like hair growth, hunger, weight management, libido to managing our blood pressure and our heart rate, hormones are one of the essential chemicals in the human body.

Types Of Hormones

They are many types of hormones – sex hormones, thyroid hormones, those that control sugar like insulin, those that manage our responses to danger like adrenaline, and those that make us feel happy or sad like dopamine. Each of them has a different function and how a particular hormone works depends a lot on what we eat.

Ill-Effects Of Lifestyle And Bad Foods For Hormones

A wrong lifestyle and dietary patterns can cause havoc to the hormonal balance in the body. The after-effects of this are uncontrolled weight gain, unexplained fatigue, headaches, hair loss, digestive problems, and even insomnia.

  • Of the 200 or so hormones we possess, the most prevalent and active are testosterone, oestrogen and progesterone. These hormones are created from cholesterol, so any diet that eliminates or severely reduces your cholesterol can cause an imbalance. For example, women with very low levels of fat can suffer from infertility issues. 
  • An extreme diet (with the shortsighted aim of ‘fast’ weight loss) often calls for cutting out major nutrient groups entirely. Not only is this an imbalanced approach, it often does not work since you end up gaining all your weight back at the end. This type of dietary and nutritional imbalance can affect your endocrine system, which is responsible for producing your hormones. Instead, you should opt for a hormone diet with diverse and nutritional foods.

Read on to find out more about the bad foods for hormones:

  • Caffeine

Here is another reason to ditch your cup of coffee. It is for the same reason we should do that for which we consume it- because it snaps us out of our lethargy. Caffeine increases cortisol production in the body. Cortisol is a stress hormone that is in the highest quantities in the mornings and is lowest in the evenings. Caffeine boosts the cortisol levels whenever it is consumed, and that brings the body into a state of high alert. Having too many energy drinks (they are also high in caffeine) or too many cups of coffee can mess with your hormones.

  • Sugary Treats

This is perhaps one of the worst foods that mess with hormones. Sugar in the body leads to a spike in insulin levels in the body. Insulin is responsible for metabolizing the sugar consumed. Overeating sugary treats over a period lead to suppression of leptin and ghrelin sensitivity. Both these hormones signal satiety and control appetite. So every time you go for that bag of candy or that bar of chocolate, you are heading towards Type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Also Read About: 10 Harmful Effects of Sugar

  • Processed And Refined Foods

Gluten and sugar are the worst combinations for anyone. They both increase inflammation and stress the adrenal glands and increase susceptibility towards autoimmune diseases. Cookies, crackers, bread are all wrong for your health. They increase the weight, which in itself triggers a severe hormonal imbalance, and reduce testosterone levels. Processed food items also mess with the hormones. Sausages, ready to eat meals, instant food options are full of sodium and preservatives which cause an electrolyte imbalance in the body causing havoc on hormonal health.

  • Dairy Items

Many people cannot digest dairy items easily. Milk is the worst offender amongst daily food items that mess with hormones. It can cause inflammation in the gut and irritate the system. Many people who are lactose intolerant begin to suffer from stomach and digestive problems when they consume dairy products. Drinking too much milk can raise triglycerides levels and even cause diabetes. Milk also has a growth hormone that negatively affects the liver. It even leads to increased sebum production and increases acne in those prone to skin problems.

  • Soy Products

Soy milk, tofu and other forms of soy are ok in small quantities, but when consumed over a period in large amounts, they could even lead to unlimited cell growth and even breast cancer. This is because soy is chemically similar to estrogen in its structure. Overeating soy makes the body think it has enough estrogen when it doesn’t and can lead to reduced or even complete stalling of ovulation. It can also lead to thyroid problems. It must be noted here that soy is one of the most heavily toxic crops as it is severely genetically modified. It has too many pesticides, and this also makes it a food that messes with your hormones.

  • Alcohol

When doctors are trying to rectify the hormonal imbalance, it is alcohol that they rule out first from the diet of the patient. It disrupts the average production of insulin and also hurts the sex hormones in the body. It reduces testosterone production in men and disrupts the menstrual cycle in women. Alcohol has a harmful impact on stress hormones too. Initially, on consumption, alcohol makes one feel good because of the release of serotonin, but the next slump we feel is bad when serotonin is used up. Alcohol affects the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland, the most important hormone production areas of the brain. It reduces fertility in both men and women. Regular consumption of alcohol increases the levels of cortisol, which is a stress hormone. However, if a person stays without consuming alcohol for even a month can bring back hormone levels to normal.

  • Certain Vegetables

Nightshades vegetables like brinjal, peppers, potatoes and tomatoes are bad for the system as they cause inflammation. The case is the same with cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli and kale. Both these veggie groups affect the thyroid health of the individual. You can eat these veggies in moderation but having too much and regularly can lead to hypothyroidism or even iodine deficiency.

  • Stevia

In older times, stevia was used to prevent pregnancies. In its new avatar, it is used as a replacement for sugar. Research is ongoing into its health effects, but there is a possibility that it can cause changes in the body’s hormonal health and can be slotted as one of the ‘bad foods for hormones’ that mess up your body functions.


Eating everything in moderation is good for the body. Try to control your consumption of processed food items and sugary treats to cut down on your intake of bad foods for hormones and avoid harm to your body!

Read More About: 12 Hormonal Imbalance Symptoms to Watch Out For!

Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation

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