Saturday, February 25, 2012

Food for Sex: A Lesson for Next Valentine's Day

If you're a romantically attached vegan, chances are that last week you had a delicious Valentine's dinner with your significant other, followed by some satisfying Valentine's sex (perhaps courtesy of Vegan Erotica, if you're into that type of thing).

But if you indulged in some of the most popular animal-based Valentine's meals and desserts, you might have run into some speed bumps (not the good kind) once you made it to the bedroom. In a report released last week, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine investigated foods that can "break a loved one's heart" on Valentine's Day.

In particular, the PCRM looked into the Blue Ribbon Brownie at Applebee's, the Smoked Mozzarella Fondue at Olive Garden, the Maine Lobster with Stuffing at Red Lobster, the Porterhouse Steak at Outback Steakhouse, and the Fresh Strawberry Original Cheesecake at Cheesecake Factory.

First of all, I'll just state the obvious: if any of the above restaurants is your Valentine's dinner destination (ahem), chances are you're not getting lucky afterward anyway.

But let's assume your girlfriend has a thing for the Olive Garden. If you order the Smoked Mozzarella Fondue as an appetizer, you're consuming 940 calories and a whopping 1,940 milligrams of sodium; that's almost as much sodium as you should consume all day.

The Lobster at Red Lobster packs 59 grams of fat (39 grams of saturated fat) and 535 milligrams of cholesterol; that's double the amount of cholesterol the American Heart Association recommends for an entire day. But the Porterhouse Steak at Outback is arguably worse, with 71 grams of fat (31 grams of saturated fat) and 325 milligrams of cholesterol; that's more fat than twenty-nine strips of bacon. Twenty-nine.

The Olive Garden, Applebee's, and Cheesecake Factory don't disclose how much cholesterol is in their food probably because, quite literally, it will kill you.

But cholesterol aside, the Fondue has 48 grams of fat (28 grams of saturated fat), and the Brownie at Applebee's and the Cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory weigh in at 63 grams (32 grams of saturated fat) and 29 grams of saturated fat, respectively.

What does a meal like this mean for your sex life? In men, diets high in fat and cholesterol can lead to artery blockages that cause sexual dysfunction. In fact, men with ED have a 45 percent higher risk of suffering from a cardiovascular event. But women aren't safe, either: heart disease is the number one cause of death for women in the United States. And you can't really enjoy sex if you're dead.

So next Valentine's Day, steer clear of foods high in fat and cholesterol. They'll break your heart literally and figuratively.

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