fatty tissue

  1. Obesity kills sperm

    Time for some tough talk about the male waistline -- specifically what's right above it... and what's right below, because the two are more closely linked than you might think.

    Fatty tissue contains an enzyme called aromatase, which transforms your manly testosterone into a form of the not-so-manly hormone estrogen. That doesn't just sound like bad news for male sexual health... it IS bad news, and a new analysis out of France makes my point perfectly.

    Researchers looked at 14 studies that compared sperm counts in normal weight, overweight, and obese men and, not at all surprisingly, found that obese men were 42 percent more likely to have low sperm counts.

    Even worse, the obese guys were 81 percent more likely to produce no sperm at all.

    You don't have to be obese to lose your manpower, either -- because even overweight (not obese) men were having trouble producing. They were 11 percent more likely to have low sperm counts and 39 percent more likely to have no sperm at all than normal-weight men, according to the study in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

    It's not just low counts. Other studies have found that obese men have lower sperm quality, too, including low concentration and low motility (that's the ability to move towards the egg for fertilization).

    On the other hand, many overweight and obese men never realize they have any of these sperm problems in the first place because of one of the other effects of those extra pounds: erectile dysfunction.

    OK, I can practically sense some of you squirming as you read this. No guy suffering from sexual dysfunction or low sperm counts wants to talk about it, and I've had my share of patients come in and beat around the bush or ask about a "friend."

    I get it -- so let me save you from that awkward conversation. If you're overweight and suffering from any form of sexual dysfunction, drop the pounds.

    If weight isn't the cause of your problems, then don't be shy. Have that conversation -- because there could be something else going on that needs attention such as low testosterone or impaired circulation.

    And don't worry. Your doctor's heard it all before.

  2. Fake fat, real pounds

    Remember olestra, the fake fat marketed under the name "Olean" that was all the rage a few years back?

    It was supposed to turn belly-bursting snacks into low-fat treats, but public tolerance for this stuff quickly pooped out: Its side effects include severe diarrhea and the infamous "anal leakage."

    Olestra isn't as widely used as it once was, but it's still a key ingredient in "low-fat" and "light" versions of popular potato chips. And it turns out eating those "light" version could have very heavy consequences.

    Researchers randomly gave a group of rats either normal potato chips – which are plenty bad enough on their own – or a mix of normal chips and chips with olestra.

    No word if the olestra rats got the runs – but they did get something else: big rodent bellies.

    The researchers let both sets of rodents eat as much as they wanted of either a high-fat or low-fat diet, and found
    that the fat-eating rats that got olestra didn't know when to stop.

    They just kept right on eating, gained weight, and developed more fatty tissue as a result. 

    Rats on a low-fat diet didn't have the same problem – at first. But once fats were put back into the diet, they joined the pig out (or is it a rat out?) and kept eating as well.

    Here's the most frightening part: When potato chips of all kinds were taken off the menu, the rats didn't lose the weight.

    In fact, they kept right on overeating.

    Sound like anyone you know?

    Gullible dieters spend billions a year on snacks that claim to be "low-fat," "light," and "low calorie" – but none of them ever seem to lose any weight, and many of them actually pack on more pounds than ever before as they load up on this supposed diet food.

    That's true whether the treats contain olestra or not – because supermarket snacks and fast-food treats are almost always packed with even worse ingredients, including deadly processed carbs such as "fat-free" sugar.

    Bottom line: Whether you're a rat or a human, the only way to lose the weight is to skip the snacks – no matter what promise is made on the label.

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