Researchers at the Freemasons Foundation Centre for Men’s Health (FFCMH) and others have shown that abdominal obesity in men is associated with reduced sexual function (low testosterone and sexual desire and erectile dysfunction), and lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) that send them to the toilet frequently at night, disturbing sleep. We have also shown that just 5% weight loss will see a noticeable reduction in these symptoms. But a commonly asked question is what type of weight loss diet is best to reduce the belly fat?, one high in protein and low in carbs and fat or one high in carbs and low in protein and fat?
In a collaboration between the FFCMH and the Robinson Research Institute at the University of Adelaide, the CSIRO, UniSA and the Keogh Institute for Medical Research in WA, researchers undertook a randomised trial in 118 overweight men to examine which diet was superior over 12 months, in terms of these male important outcomes. The study results have recently been published in the medical journal PLOSone.
In both groups an average of 10kg was lost over 12 months. Both diets equally and significantly improved testosterone, and those men with moderate to severe erectile dysfunction and LUTS symptoms also had a significant improvement in symptoms, irrespective of the dietary protein to carbohydrate ratio. Long term maintenance of improvements in sexual function are however likely to involve exercise enhancement to improve vascular health.