For the record, I’m a 49 year old, healthy male who has been able to maintain a steady weight since I stopped growing in high school. I have studied food and weight gain with the goal of finding the best diet for men. My weight has fluctuated slightly but it’s always been within a 10 pound range. I am not obsessed with my weight but I’ve created healthy eating (and drinking) habits that have helped me avoid the traps of weight gain.
5 Major Habits That I Follow:
#1: I follow primarily a Mediterranean Diet (we will talk about that later)
#2: I believe in Intermittent Fasting and I’ve found the greatest hack ever called Prolon fast which allows me to fast with food and avoid the pain of zero-food, zero calorie fasting. Intermittent fasting is something that not many men understand or practice, but it can be life-changing once you incorporate it into your routine. I do a Prolon 5 day fast two times per year to reset and cleanse my body. If Prolon is too expensive for you, we’ve got a fasting mimicking diet DIY plan that is super-cheap and easy to try.
#3: When my weight drifts to 10 pounds over my ideal, I use the Keto diet for 20 days to bring it back in line. I can easily lose 6-8 pounds on the Keto diet within three weeks and it tends to reset my metabolism. I do not think Keto is a diet that should be practiced regularly for long periods of time as I believe it is hard on your liver.
#4: I have done at-home lab tests from Everlywell to better understand my personal blood chemistry and food intolerances. This understanding has helped me tailor my own eating and drinking routine and cut out foods that I know my blood/body does not like.
#5: I am a strong believer in gut probiotics. I think we have done great damage to the flora in our guts and I think it is a major culprit for weight gain. High quality (refrigerated) probiotic supplements are a critical part of my routine.
Also, for the record, I enjoy alcohol and consume red wine and vodka as my primary alcoholic beverages. On occasion I ‘cheat’ with beer but normally it is light beer like Corona Light and Coors Light.
Over the year many of my friends have asked me about the ‘secrets’ of my sustained weight. I truly believe that a sustained healthy weight is possible for any man so I wanted to share some of the things I’ve learned along the way.
WherWhere Do I Start?
Do these questions sound familiar to you:
“How do I lose weight?”
“What diet plan should I follow?”
“How can I keep the weight off after I lose it?”
“How can I maintain muscle tone?”
These are only a few of the questions most people ask as they’re considering a diet.
According to a recent survey by the CDC 49% of Americans are actively trying to lose weight. Just pause and think about that for a minute. Almost half of us are in some way displeased with our weight.
The same report breaks it down by gender and it shows that 56% of American Women and 42% of American men are trying to lose weight right now. That’s a staggering amount of people.
This article will not focus on the obvious things that most men already know about weight loss, like avoiding soda, avoiding a sedentary lifestyle and focusing on eating healthy foods. Those are things we’ve been told since we were young. Yes, they are important, but they really are only the basics and they only scratch the surface in regards to losing weight and keeping it off.
What do you know, for instance, about blood sugar and insulin spikes and how that affects your weight? How familiar are you with intermittent fasting? Do you know much about digestion, probiotics, the healthy functioning of your liver? These are the nuances of eating that most men know nothing about.
Most men dive into weight loss the same way they would go about raking leaves or paining a house….they just grab an available tool and start the job. My advice is to STOP! Your first step should be gathering some knowledge and that is what this article will do for you.
Universal Truth for men on a diet: There is no one-size-fits-all perfect diet for men. You need to stop listening to all the noise about dieting and start listening to you own body. You need to stop and study some facts.
Let’s start with the most basic truth about male dieting. There’s nothing that can be termed as ‘a perfect diet.’ Successful weight loss varies from person to person, depending on their body requirements and body chemistry. It’s up to you to read this article with an open mind so that you can identify a plan that will fit your exact needs.
Today, we’re going to talk about the ways that can help you evaluate your requirements versus simply give you a list of diets to choose from.
Every year, U.S. News and World Report come with a list of the best diets for men with the help and advice of nutrition experts. They carry out extensive research that involves evaluating the safety and nutrition of each diet, their difficulty level, their role in weight loss, or in protecting against various diseases, and much more.
We are going to tell you about several of these diets but first we are going to help you evaluate your own situation so you can finally choose a plan that will work for you. Remember, just because US News says a diet is good does not mean it will work for you.
Golden Rules to Picking a Perfect Diet Plan
It Should be Practical
You’ll find several diet plans on the internet. But not every plan is meant for you. Some are quite intense, whereas others are too easy-going. Some will tell you to eat high fat foods, others will warn you to avoid dairy. Some will even tell you that high carb intake is the answer (spoiler alert: it’s not).
Whatever your goal is, start with a simple diet plan that is attainable and very easy to follow. The ground rule is to eat home-made, whole foods (not processed) and ditch the instant/ready-to-eat food. Before tossing anything in your grocery cart, take a look at the nutritional information on the packaged foods. It’ll help you decide whether to buy them or not.
Golden Rule #1 for men on a diet: When you go to the grocery store you only need to shop on the outside aisles – these are the ones that have the lean meats, fruits and vegetables. You should literally avoid the entire middle section of the store – those are the aisles with the processed foods, sugars and carbs.
The simple, common, and practical rule of any diet plan begins with including more veggies, fruits, fish, and lean organic meat in your diet. 99% of the best diets will boil down to these foods.
It Can Not Be Complex
You’ll only be able to master a diet plan if you choose an easy one. Gradually, you’re going to learn about the nutritional value of each and everything you’re consuming. You will learn which foods are hard for you to digest and you’ll learn to prepare fast, simple meals at any time of the day.
All this is possible only if you have chosen a simple diet plan. When men choose a simple diet plan they are actually able to have an occasional cheat day because it is so easy to immediately get back on track the next day.
If a diet plan is calling for you to purchase their pre-made meals you should avoid it. If a diet plan is calling for you to take hours preparing meals or shopping for certain hard-to-find foods you should avoid it. You need to choose a plan that is so simple to follow that you will actually begin enjoying food prep and meal prep.
It Should Help You Lose Weight Sustainably
The most common reason for choosing a proper diet plan is weight loss. But again, the diet you choose should help you lose weight in the right way. You can certainly attain a rapid weight loss through various programs, but those plans are short-term, and as soon as you’ll resume your normal diet, you’ll start gaining the weight back again. With so much effort and diet control, you can’t allow that to happen. This frustration with yo-yo diets is the #1 reason that men stop dieting for long periods of time.
Golden Rule #2 for men on a diet: Fast weight loss is never the answer and you will put back on the weight. Choose a diet that allows your body to gradually adapt and in the process shift your metabolism to an entirely new state.
Your diet plan should aim at weight loss but only in a gradual fashion. Cutting your calories drastically by eliminating entire specific food groups like carbs or fats won’t help you in the long run. Simply keep a rough mental check on your daily calorie intake and let your body adapt to your diet plan at its own pace. This will enable you to lose weight sustainably.
It Should Meet the Guidelines Set by the Government
Whatever diet plan you choose, be sure that they fall in line with the USDA dietary guidelines. It explains the daily intake of protein, fats, carbs, salt, and key nutrients like fiber and calcium in detail. The idea behind it is to ensure that you’re following a well-balanced diet and consuming nutrients that are essential for your body.
It Should Include A Lot of Vegetables
Vegetables have a huge amount of nutrients and are very low in calories. Consuming them is not only healthy and fulfilling but will help you reach your fitness goal easily.
Golden Rule #3 for men on a diet: Half of your plate at every lunch and dinner should be covered with vegetables. You must make it your job to learn to prepare vegetables in a way that makes them appealing to you. They are the key to sustained weight loss and a stable, healthy permanent weight.
If you grew up hating vegetables and you refuse to eat them now that you’re a man, then you may as well stop reading this article. Almost half of your food consumption needs to be vegetables. You need to eat raw vegetables, as well as learn how to prepare them with olive oil and you need to try many, many seasonings until you find the ones that make you fall in love with eating veggies. It’s that simple. You will never set yourself on a healthy glide path and a healthy, stable weight if you refuse to eat vegetables.
It Should Encourage Whole Grains
This one is always under hot debate as many nutritionists and athletes swear away from any grains. However, one thing that should be noted is that the most effective long-term diets include whole grains in moderation as they are an important source of fiber, iron, vitamin B, and other essential nutrients.
So, including whole grains and reducing the intake of highly processed grains like pasta and white bread will not only aid in weight loss but will also promote a healthy heart and brain.
Golden Rule #4 for men on a diet: Learn as much as you can about whole grains and how they affect your blood sugar and your body. Whole grains are those that have not undergone much processing and retain their original seed. Brown rice and unprocessed oatmeal (rolled oats) are the two that have most helped me maintain a healthy weight.
I’ve found that when I try to avoid whole grains for months at a time, I tend to get so bored with my diet that I begin to fall off and binge. If you simply allow yourself whole grains in moderation it will help you sustain an interesting and healthy diet for years.
It Should Avoid Sugar
This one probably goes without saying…..sugar is not good for any diet plan. In fact, it’s the worst thing you can put into your body. Added sugars are high in calories and have zero nutritional value. You can always push yourself towards fresh fruits if you’ve got a sweet tooth. They offer plenty of natural, non-harmful sugars along with minerals, antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber that will keep you full for long.
If you want to lose weight and keep it off you simply must limit your sugar consumption. And when I say limit it, you must cut it down to almost nothing. Cheating with sugars, desserts, cookies, cakes or even sugar in your coffee must be very limited.
If your sweet tooth kicks in, consider only low carb sweet snacks.
It Should Limit Sodium Consumption
Your diet should limit the excess consumption of salt, or else it can trigger increased blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular problems. Choose whole foods (unprocessed, raw foods) over salt-laden packaged and processed products. This will help you curb your sodium consumption substantially.
It Should be Proven to Protect Against Diseases
One thing that the experts focus on while evaluating diet plans is that they should support in protecting your body against diseases while promoting a healthy life. This can happen if you include health-promoting nutrients in your diet. You not only get the benefit of weight loss but also reduce the risk of serious diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular issues.
Some of the best diets in the world are rich in foods that prevent diseases. You will hear about the Mediterranean Diet (one of our favorites) as one of the world’s most effective ways to avoid the common diseases that are ravaging Western countries.
It Should be Paired with a Good Workout Routine
You should not just count on your diet for weight loss. The thumb rule for weight loss includes a proper combination of diet and exercise. Following both simultaneously can help you lose weight over the long-term.
Golden rule #5 for men on a diet: Exercising (cardio) and working out (resistance or weight training) must be part of your routine. Think of weight loss as 50% diet and 50% exercise. By building and maintaining muscle tone you will rapidly transform your metabolism and that will lead to a sustained healthy weight.
Now, trying all kinds of diets is practically impossible, expensive as well as time-consuming. So, we’ve compiled a list of the 7 best diet plans for men.
First and foremost, figure out your needs and read on to see which diet plan will suit best for your lifestyle.
7 Best Diet Plans for Men
Also known as the cavemen diet, the Paleo Diet eliminates all the processed foods, including cereals and dairy products. It follows a strict consumption of fruits, vegetables, meats, and nuts.
- It cuts on the processed foods which are consumed more in any normal diet
- It promotes a protein-rich diet which will keep you full for a long time
- It is quite low in carbs, which means you’re low on energy
- It can be difficult for vegetarians as it excludes beans – a huge source of proteins
The Paleo diet is easy and simple to follow. It promotes the consumption of nutrient-rich foods that do not cause weight gain, diabetes, or any other serious health issues.
Acclaimed to be one of the most effective diet plans, Weight Watchers enjoys a great fan following. It focuses on healthy living and improving overall well-being. This plan assesses your age, weight, and gender to further assign every food and beverage a point value that you must stay within. WW is not just for women and many folks who have been practicing WW for years swear that it is the best diet for men.
- You can eat what you want. There are no restrictions as long as it stays within your daily allotment of points
- You have the flexibility to shape your diet
- This diet plan can be expensive
- Point counting can sometimes be tedious
- You are required to have weekly weigh-ins, which may discourage you with the pace of your weight loss
Weight Watchers allow you to eat everything, and you’re able to lose weight while getting the essential amount of protein, fats, carbs, and other nutrients important for your body.
Promoted by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the Dash Diet’s focus is preventing hypertension, i.e., high blood pressure. It emphasizes you have a diet that you’ve always been advised to have – a complete meal that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy products. Millions of people believe this is the best diet for men.
- It promotes a healthy heart
- It is nutritionally sound to follow
- It may be somewhat pricey
- It may involve a lot of work
Dash Diet is considered to be a balanced diet that can be easily followed for a long time while letting you reach your fitness goal.
Introduced by the National Institute of Health’s National Cholesterol Education Program, the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes, aka TLC Diet, focuses on eating vegetables, fruits, cereals, pasta, bread, and lean meats in larger quantities. It primarily focuses on heart-healthy approaches and not weight-loss. The type of diet involved here can further help you lose weight.
- It is a heart-healthy dietary plan
- The government endorses it
- You are on your own
- You are not guided with the nutrition labels
TLC Diet is specifically designed to improve cholesterol levels and not weight loss. However, the low-fat diet involved here can help you lose weight.
Mayo Clinic Diet
Mayo Clinic Diet believes in losing weight while retaining a healthier lifestyle. The Mayo Clinic’s unique food pyramid emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. These foods are safe to consume in large quantities as they come with low energy density. For instance, the calories that you get from eating a quarter of a Snickers bar will be the same as two full cups of broccoli. Mayo Clinic diet can help you lose 6 to 10 pounds in two weeks. You can further continue losing 1 to 2 pounds of weight weekly till you hit your goal.
- It is a nutritionally sound diet plan
- It will help you shape your diet routine
- It requires a lot of work
- It may be somewhat pricey
The preliminary results of following this diet plan are promising. Backed by extensive research, it clearly shows the potential for weight loss and weight maintenance.
As the name suggests, the Mediterranean Diet is influenced by the folks living in the countries bordering the Mediterranean sea. This diet includes a host of health benefits, including weight loss, cancer prevention, improved heart and brain health, diabetes prevention, and control. By following this diet, you not only lose weight but, at the same time, also avoid such chronic diseases. This is my personal favorite and I believe it is the best diet for men.
- It is a nutritionally sound diet plan
- It lets you have diverse food and flavors
- It is moderately pricey
- It requires a lot of work
The Mediterranean diet can be convenient to follow long-term as you don’t ban entire food groups.
The Flexitarian Diet is a combination of two words – flexible and vegetarian. The registered dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner has come up with a book called ‘The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease and Add Years to Your Life.’ This diet plan stresses on eating more plants and less meat. Doing so will not only lose weight but will also improve your overall health.
- It is flexible
- It includes lots of tasty recipes
- It does not emphasize on home cooking
- It might be challenging if you’re not a fruit or vegetable lover
Research says vegetarians eat fewer calories, have a lower body mass index, and also weigh less. Emphasizing on plant-based diet along with a little physical activity will help you lose weight.
Well, the list is never-ending. And many more diets will emerge in the coming years. But I’ve tried to narrow down a list that will point you to the ultimate best diet for men. Several experts introduce various diet plans from time to time. Every plan is unique and has its weight-loss style. Ultimately, it’s you who need to decide what’s best for you. Ask your doctor or dietitian before you start any of these diet plans. Be sure that your weight loss journey also supports your overall health.
About the author:
Rob Jones is a father of two who lives in Massachusetts and enjoys cooking and his dog Beau. Rob has spent years studying food and its effects on the body and mind. He believes in moderation and enjoyment.