After just posting about the benefits of the Mediterranean diet for Alzheimer’s disease yesterday, imagine my surprise to wake up this morning to another study about the benefits of the Mediterranean diet … this time for erectile dysfunction in men with the metabolic syndrome.

After two years, significantly more men with the metabolic syndrome who followed the Mediterranean diet improved. About one third of men in the Mediterranean diet group regained normal sexual function. Men following their normal diet did not improve or got worse.

Sounds easy enough.

But it wasn’t. That’s because in addition to assigning men to the Mediterranean diet they received detailed advice about the usefulness of the diet. They also received education on reducing dietary calories, personal goal setting, and self-monitoring (food diaries) through a series of monthly small-group sessions. Behavioral and psychological counseling was also offered. The dietary advice was tailored to each subject on the basis of 3-day food records.

It appears that the researchers did everything but cook and eat for these guys. I guess before you can expect men to follow a Mediterranean diet, they have to know what it is. But, as the researchers acknowledge, it’s difficult to separate the effects of the diet from all the counseling.

The challenge is to change 40 or so years of bad eating habits practically overnight in people, most of whom probably never thought about it before.

Recommendations are welcome.

8/2/06 14:01 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.