The association of popular diets and erectile function among men in the United States

Richard J. Fantus, Joshua A. Halpern, Cecilia Chang, Mary Kate Keeter, Robert E. Brannigan, Brian T. Helfand, Nelson E. Bennett*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


To determine the relationship between popular diets and erectile function we queried the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a cross-sectional dataset, between 2001 and 2004. All men aged 18–85 who answered the prostate and dietary questionnaires were included. Diets were categorized as Mediterranean, low-fat, low-carbohydrate, or nonrestrictive. Multivariable models were created to determine the relationship between erectile function and each diet. Among 4027 men, 649 (16.1%) met criteria for a low-fat diet, 1085 (26.9%) for a Mediterranean diet, and 0 (0%) for a low-carbohydrate diet. 1999 men (49.6%) had some degree of erectile dysfunction. Men with nonrestrictive diets were more likely to endorse normal erectile function compared with those adhering to the Mediterranean or low-fat diets (both p < 0.05) on univariable analysis. Multivariable analysis controlling for age, comorbidities, activity level, and body mass index showed no differences in erectile function among men adhering to a low-fat, Mediterranean diet, or nonrestrictive diet. There was no association between specific diets and erectile function. While additional prospective research is required to corroborate these findings, these data support the notion that individualized diets should be tailored toward goals of weight loss and reduction of comorbidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)548-555
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Impotence Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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