We all know that maintaining a body weight within the recommended zone is important for our overall health and well-being. For men, another very good reason to add keeping in shape to the list is that it guards against the risk of developing erectile dysfunction (ED).
ED is a common problem, affecting about half of men over the age of 50, although it can occur at any age. The issue is often caused or exacerbated by a poor lifestyle, with one of the main culprits being an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise, leading to excess weight or obesity.
A doctor who finds no serious underlying medical cause for an overweight patient with ED will usually advise them to make some lifestyle changes, including losing weight. However, this can be easier said than done, especially in middle age when fat deposits can be harder to shift.
A lack of results despite a good effort to change your diet and exercise more can be discouraging. However, it is important not to give up and miss out on the myriad benefits of reaching your ideal weight target. Here are some common mistakes that could be hampering your progress.
You are eating misleading ‘diet’ foods
Manufacturers often label a product as ‘low fat’, but to compensate, they add extra sugar. This is more quickly digested by the body, meaning that you will be hungry sooner. Even foods that are marketed as health products, such as protein bars, are loaded with sugar. It’s best to avoid processed foods as much as possible and eat plenty of whole grains and fibre.
You are drinking too much alcohol
Most alcoholic drinks are high in calories and have a high sugar content, and at the same time, they can lead us to crave unhealthy foods to soak up the alcohol.
You drink a lot of sodas and fruit juice
These beverages contain very high levels of sugar, with just one can of cola taking you over the daily recommended limit of seven sugar cubes per day for an adult. The NHS points out that there is a difference between ‘free’ sugars that have been added to drinks and food, and sugars that occur naturally in foods such as fruit and dairy products.
Free sugars are much more harmful to our health than naturally occurring sugars. Wherever possible, choose diet or sugar-free sodas, and replace sugar in tea and coffee with sweeteners, or try to go without them altogether. If you really need to satisfy a sugar craving, try snacking on a piece of fruit.
You have a poor sleep routine
Disrupted sleep patterns have a huge impact on our circadian rhythm, which is central to our digestive system as well as our overall mood and sense of well-being. After a poor night’s sleep, we crave a quick energy fix and are more likely to give into the impulse to binge eat unhealthy snacks throughout the day.
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