20+ Dangers of Being Overweight

There is nothing more dangerous to your health than being significantly overweight or obese.  A big spare tire will not spare your sex life.  Think I'm exagerrating?  There's no more sure of way destroying your manhood and shortening your life than putting on enough extra pounds around your midsection.

Obesity is very, very common in industrialized societies and particularly in America.  CDC stats show that about one out of three adults over the age of 20 in the U.S. are obese (and another third are overweight). [14]  This is a huge burden on society and families as the obese are MUCH more likely to experience the debilitating diseases of middle age and beyond. (See below.)  The two O's - Obesity and being Overweight - are so hard on the body that it can shorten lifespan by an estimated ten years. [15] And, of course, that does not take into account the dramatically lowered quality of life and productivity that the obese usually experience the last decade of two or their lives. 

The U.K. has high obesity rates as well with estimates at about 20% of all those between 16 and 75 [15]  and the German population is similar. [16] Again, this is an issue of almost all of the wealthier cultures.

Before, I go on, let me point out that if you are 50 pounds or more overweight, it is very possible that you have given yourself secondary hypogonoadism.  What happens is that, as those pounds increase, your body is flooded with aromatase, which converts your testosterone into estradiol, the "bad" estrogen.  As this ratio worsens, it can literally shut down the signaling at the hypothalamus that is necessary for signaling to the testes to produce testosterone.  Men who lose 50-100 pounds of weight can double their testosterone and I show you some of the studies in my page on Testosterone and Weight Loss. Also, don't forget that most men will underestimate how overweight they str by 10-20 pounds, so, if you think you need to lose 30 pounds to get some abs, it is probably more like 45 or 50 pounds. Losing this much weight can powerfully change your testosterone-to-estradiol ratio.

STEP 6:  Step 6 in my "Peak Testosterone Program" is dropping those extra pounds in order to reap all the Incredible Benefits that I list below.  Most of the men that end up on my site have a common set of symptoms:  fatigue, lower testosterone, erectile dysfunction, depression, etc.  The risk for ALL of these is increased for the obese.  If you're overweight at all, it's time to get serious about what body fat does to you.  Here's just a few of the nasty endocrinological and metabolic firestorms that those fat cells are unleashing into your tissues (especially the ones affecting your penis):

  1. Estrogen. Extra fatty tissue increases aromatase levels, leading to extra Estrogen in the male body. This is deadly over time, leading to decreased testosterone. Estrogen is also highly suspected of playing a role in prostate cancer.
  2. Bad Sex. Those extra pounds are correlated with bad sex.  No guy wants a poor sex life but some do not want to admit that the spare tire is dragging down their performance in the bedroom. []
  3. Erectile Dysfunction and Impotence. Being overweight is also a strong predictor of erectile dysfunction. 
  4. Low Testosterone. Being overweight is also associated with decreased free and total testosterone. [9]
  5. Inflammation.  Fat cells, or adipose tissue in the literature, churn out cytokines, raising inflammation throughout your body, which is bad for the heart and penis.
  6. Metabolic Syndrome and Insulin Resistance. Increases a hormone called resistin that leads to, you guessed it, insulin resistance, a.k.a. Metabolic Syndrome Metabolic Syndrome is the curse of Western Societies.
  7. Prostate Cancer.  Increased risk of prostate cancer [3] and other cancers. Researchers recently discovered that one reason this occurs is that one of the lipase enzymes that the body uses on stored fat actually turns on cancer cells into aggressive thrivers and growers. [13] In other words, your spare tire literally feeds and fuels cancers, which explains why obesity and cancer so often go hand in hand.
  8. Decreased Fertility.  Greatly decreased Fertility. The decreased testosterone and extra fat in the area of your scrotum kill and injure your sperm.
  9. Blood Clots and Stroke.  Increase plasminogen activator inhibitor which increases clotting which leads to increased risk for stroke and heart attack.
  10. Arteriosclerosis and Heart Disease. Increases IL-6 leading to augmented blood vessel inflammation which in turn leads to increased artheriosclerosis. Decreases an anti-inflammatory compound called adiponectin, which leads to increased levels of IL-6 and arterial inflammation.
 A 2013 study showed that being overweight accelerates hardening of the arteries in those middle-aged and beyond. [17] When you are younger and overweight, this same study showed that your body can usually protect itself and heal, but that is NOT the case in those both overweight and middle-aged.
  • Hypertension and Blood Pressure.  Extra body fat increases a bodily chemical called angiotensis that raises blood pressure, one of the key enemies of your sexual and circulatory life.
  • Dementia.  Increased risk of dementia due to excess abdominal fat in midlife. [10] 
  • Apnea and Sleep Disorders. Increases
  • your likelihood for apnea, the sleep disorder where air is temporarily cut off during sleep. [4] Apnea is associated with many disorders and problems, not to mention the fact that you never feel rested!
  • Free Testosterone.  Increased weight is associated with increased insulin which in turn is associated with decreased SBHG.  SBHG binds to testosterone so theoretically this should increase free testosterone.  But what actually happens is that because overweight individuals have such increased levels of aromatse in their body, the testosterone is quickly converted to estrogen. I document the dangers of Estrogen to the male body here.
  • Leptin. Leptin is produced in fatty tissue and so, of course, the more weight you have the more leptin you produce.  Leptin increases blood pressure, especially in individuals with a mutated or missing PTP1B gene. [11] And leptin resistance can lead to insulin resistance and loss of appetite control, i.e. which will likely mean more visceral and subcutaneous fat, respectively.
  • Gynecomastia.  Being overweight can add gyno tissue, from the elevated estradiol levels, to your chest/breast tissue.  If you let this go on long enough, the tissue can harden and can only be surgically removed.
  • Diabetes.  Over 18 studies have shown a powerful link between obesity and the development of type II diabetes. [18]
  • Cancer. Obesity is powerfully linked with many types of cancer, including Esophagus, Pancreas, Colon/Rectum, Kidney, Thyroid and Gallbladder. [19]
  • Alzheimer's.  Did you know that Alzheimer's is called "Type III Diabetes", because it is so powerfully linked to obesity? [20]
  • Inflammation. If there is anything more dangerous to your long term health than elevated inflammation, I don't know what it is.  Inflammation greatly increases your risk factor for many autoimmune disorders such as arthrites and heart disease, as well as cancer as mentioned above.  Both the two O's - Obesity and being Overweight - increase your one's CRP (C-Reactive Protein), the best overall marker that we have for systemic inflammation. [21]

    There are a dozen ways to lose weight and it doesn't matter that much which one you pick. My personal favorite way to lose weight is with a Low Fat Diet. The reason is simple: you rarely feel hungry. Low Fat foods, assuming they are a) whole, b) non-wheat, c) low sugar and d) medium or high fiber make you feel full. They deliver few calories for their weight. For example, let's take a sweet potato.  If you ate two medium sized sweet potatoes, you would be only get 40 grams of carbohydrate and a sweet potato has lots of fiber and fills up your stomach.  This will trigger your "stretch receptors" and tell you that you are full.  And you would have only eaten 200 calories!

    All the whole plant foods are the same way.  Most men who go on a true Low Fat Diet lose weight slowly and steadily without any hunger and their health and sex life dramatically improve.  However, you have to eat a low glycemic Low Fat Diet and not cheat.

    But there are many other diets that can help you lose weight weight.  Just pick one.

    EXERCISE?  Do you have to exercise to lose weight? Technically you don't have to, but moderate exercise is a great idea for two reasons: 1) it burns calories (cardio) and 2) helps retain muscle (strength or weight training). Moderate exercise does not increase appetite much whereas intense exercise can really make you hungry. But even moderate cardio can shave off substantial pounds. For example, if you do enough cardio to lose 300 calories per day, you would lose 30 pounds in a year. And it is critical that you do some kind of strength training or you will lose significant muscle as you lose weight, an ugly prospect to most men.

  • Be cautious about cutting calories too fast and too deep:  it can whack your testosterone.  For example, after just a few days of fasting, you testosterone levels can lower by a third or more.  [1]  Not only does dropping calories too fast whack your total testosterone, but it also raises SHBG. [6] SHBG is Serum Hormone-Binding Globulin, a protein that binds to the lion's share of your testosterone. The little bit left over, around 2% of the total, is what your body can actually use since it is bioavailable.  So, if you increase SHBG through dieting - and incresing SHBG is a problem for aging males anyway - more testosterone is bound leaving you with less free testosterone.    So how many calories should you cut?  Well, one study found that subjects that lowered caloric intake by 15% did not experience a loss in total testosterone. [2] Again, it is better to lose weight gradually, relying on exercise and a balanced diet than the typical crash and burn programs that so many people engage in. And, if you will follow the Low Fat (or Ornish) Diet, you can lose weight and barely cut back on calories at all, thus avoiding a nasty fall in total and free testosterone.
  • Be cautious about using the Atkins Diet (very low carbohydrate and high saturated fat/animal proteins) to lose weight, especially long term.  This diet has been shown to increase CRP (C-Reactive Protein) levels by 30-40% and CRP is a key marker of heart disease. [5]

    1) J of Clin Endocrinology & Metabolism,May 1997,82(5):1543-8

    2) Amer J of Clin Nutrition,Jun 1984,39(6):930-6

    3) Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev,2007,16:63-69

    4) Obesity Reviews,Jul 2008,9(4)340-354(15)

    5) Nov. 6, 2007, presentations, American Heart Association annual meeting, Orlando, Fla

    6) Nutritional Reviews, 2008, 66:506-516

    7) Nutr J, 2008, submitted

    8) West Afr J Med, Apr-Jun 1990, 9(2):108-115

    9) Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, published online on January 27, 2009, Submitted on July 24, 2008, Accepted on January 15, 2009, "Effect of Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass Surgery on the Sex Steroids and Quality of Life in Obese Men", Ahmad Hammoud MD, MPH*, Mark Gibson MD, Steven C. Hunt PhD, Ted D. Adams PhD, Douglass T. Carrell PhD, HCLD, Ronette L. Kolotkin PhD, and A. Wayne Meikle MD

    10) Neurology, Received August 15, 2007, Accepted December 14, 2007, "Central obesity and increased risk of dementia more than three decades later", R. A. Whitmer PhD, et. al.


    12) Intl J of Impotence Res, 2008, 20:358-365

    13) Cell, 8 January 2010, 140(1):49-61, "Monoacylglycerol Lipase Regulates a Fatty Acid Network that Promotes Cancer Pathogenesis"

    14), "Obesity and Overweight", 2007-2008 Data


    16) Obesity, 2008, 16(11):2535 2540, "Weight Loss Maintenance in a Population-based Sample of German Adults"


    18) DlABETES CARE, 17(9), SEPTEMBER 1994, "Obesity, Fat Distribution, and Weight Gain as Risk Factors for Clinical Diabetes in Men"



    21) JAMA, 1999, 282(22):2131-213, "Elevated C-Reactive Protein Levels in Overweight and Obese Adults"