An Italian Recipe for Men
How losing weight can gain you a better love life
Just about everyone agrees that Italy is one of the most romantic countries
in the world. And now there's news from Italy that could help put a twinkle in
your eyes, no matter where you live.
Italian scientists have discovered a surprising solution that may help the
millions of men who suffer from erectile dysfunction: weight loss.
Since the introduction of Viagra and similar drugs, there's been increased
interest in the study and treatment of erectile dysfunction (which basically
means problems with getting and keeping an erection). According to the
Massachusetts Male Aging Study, roughly 52% of men aged 40-70 suffer some
degree of erectile dysfunction, or ED.
The Italian study, published in the Journal of the American Medical
Association in 2004, involved 110 obese men aged 35-55 with ED. The
researchers put them on a program of healthy eating and exercise to help them
lose 10% or more of their body weight.
After two years, the study group had lost an average of 33 pounds and were
more physically active -- and about one-third of them had seen a significant
improvement in sexual function.
Earlier studies had shown that men who are at normal weight and are
physically active are at lower risk for ED. But the Italian study was one of
the first looking at treatments for the condition beyond surgery and drugs.
Its findings led Christopher Saigal, MD, to write an editorial in the same
issue of the journal encouraging doctors to consider weight loss and exercise
as the initial treatment for obese patients with ED.
The Weight Connection
An estimated four out of five men with ED have BMIs (body mass indexes)
greater than 25. According to the researchers, overweight men with BMIs of 28.7
(that's about 195 pounds for a 5'9" male) have a 30% greater risk for
developing ED than normal-weight men.
In addition to the risk of sexual dysfunction, being overweight increases
the risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and other
Further more, high blood pressure, diabetes or pre-diabetes, heavy alcohol
consumption, and blood-pressure drugs all put a man at higher risk for ED. And
weight loss can help you reduce or eliminate nearly all of these risk factors,
according to Atlanta-based urologist David Perlow, MD.
"It is well-accepted that obesity is a co-factor in atherosclerotic
disease that can impede blood flow," says Perlow. "Losing weight can
improve blood flow not only to the heart but also to other organs, including
Benefits of Weight Loss
The benefits of weight loss go well beyond improving sexual function, of
course. Losing weight reduces the risk of heart disease and improves insulin
sensitivity, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and many other health
Even losing as little as 5%-10% of your body weight can lead to major
improvements in your health, including lowering your blood pressure and blood
And just think about how great you'd feel if you lost 20 pounds. To
visualize this, imagine carrying 20 pounds worth of hand weights in a backpack
all day. Then think about how good it would feel when you finally took the
backpack off at the end of the day.