Men with obesity are at a greater risk of chronic disease because their bodies tend to carry more visceral fat. Visceral fat is stored in the abdominal cavity, and it is associated with increased insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and high cholesterol. However, there are many diets for weight loss that men can choose from that will help them to lose their gut. The following ten healthy, sustainable diet and weight loss plans for men are great options for men who are looking to burn away their belly fat.
Benefits Of Weight Loss For Men
Losing excess fat may benefit a man’s health in several ways:
Reduced Risk Of Diseases
It has been shown that overweight and obese individuals have a higher risk of developing heart disease, type II diabetes, respiratory problems such as sleep apnea, gallstones, and osteoarthritis (8).
Excess weight can lead to fatigue and reduce energy levels. Additionally, excess fat in the body may increase the risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which can lead to a lack of energy (7).
Carrying around excess weight on the body may reduce a person’s mobility, increasing the risk of injury from falls or other causes. Even simply walking is more laborious if a person is carrying around excess weight (11).
Reduced Depressive Symptoms
People who are overweight may experience higher rates of depressive symptoms, including sadness, lack of energy, and low self-esteem. Weight loss can lead to decreased depressive symptoms as well as improved self-esteem (11).
Improved Sexual Function
When a person’s weight increases, it can have a negative impact on sexual function and even lead to anorgasmia. Losing weight can lead to a higher libido and improved sexual function (3).
10 Best Weight Loss Diet Plans For Men
High Protein Diets
Protein is the primary macronutrient responsible for building and repairing muscles in the human body. Therefore, it is generally recommended that athletes and active people incorporate more protein into their daily diet. Eating more protein can also help you lose fat because, when paired with exercise, it helps preserve lean muscle mass as your body is burning fat for fuel (1).
There are several high protein diets that men can choose from to help them lose weight, including the Atkins Diet, the Zone Diet, and the Paleo Diet. The Atkins diet focuses on low carbohydrate intake, while the Zone diet emphasizes proper proportions of nutrients. Similarly, the Primal Blueprint focuses on living a healthy lifestyle by following our genetic blueprint.
Whole Foods, Plant-Based Diet
One of the most sustainable ways to lose weight and preserve lean muscle mass is to eliminate processed foods and focus on eating whole foods instead. Men who eat more fruits and vegetables tend to be healthier than those who don’t because they retain their lean body mass as opposed to losing it at an alarming rate (1).
Furthermore, the risk of disease is also reduced in men who eat more whole foods because they are rich in micro and macronutrients like antioxidants which promote anti-inflammatory responses in the body (1).
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Low Carb Diets
Another way for men to lose weight while retaining their lean muscle mass is through low carbohydrate diets, which include intermittent fasting and ketogenic diets (keto). These two types of diets burn fat for energy instead of carbs which helps retain lean body mass. Additionally, they both help men control hunger pangs without feeling hungry all the time because they reduce blood sugar levels (1).
The main idea behind intermittent fasting is that it helps your body go from burning carbs to burning fat when you go extended periods without food. On the other hand, when following a ketogenic diet, your body is induced into a state known as “ketosis” which basically means it is using fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates.
The Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet emphasizes eating fish and poultry at least two times per week while consuming fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats in moderation. Furthermore, the meals in this diet are prepared with fresh ingredients to retain their nutritional value.
In one study, men who ate more foods from this region were less likely to gain weight over time than those who didn’t practice this type of diet (1). In another study, researchers found that high adherence to this diet was associated with a reduced risk of developing metabolic syndrome (9).
High Fiber Diets
Men who eat more fiber tend to have healthier dietary habits than those who don’t because it slows down digestion, which helps them feel fuller for longer periods (1).
This is one reason why high fiber diets are often recommended as sustainable weight loss plans for men, including the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), Weight Watchers, and South Beach diets. Furthermore, following the DASH diet can also help control blood pressure levels in men at risk of hypertension or already diagnosed with the disease.
Low Calorie, Nutrient-Dense Diets
Another type of healthy diet for men to follow when trying to lose weight is a low-calorie, nutrient-dense diet. These types of diets are high in micronutrients from healthy vegetables and fruits while being low in calories from fat. Researchers have found that when following this type of diet, the risk of chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease is reduced (1).
Furthermore, men who eat foods that are rich in nutrients tend to eat more because the body craves them over time, whereas those who follow a nutrient-poor diet tend to be hungrier sooner because they don’t provide much in terms of nutrition.
The Paleo diet encourages men to stay away from processed foods and focus on eating meats, nuts, and leafy greens instead. It also encourages followers to stay away from grains, dairy products, and sugar because they are not part of the original caveman diet.
Not only is the Paleo diet beneficial in helping men lose weight, but it also helps them improve their overall health (6). Another benefit of this lifestyle is that it encourages men to be healthy by providing simple guidelines which are easy to follow.
The MIND Diet
One day, being recognized as an effective way for men to manage Alzheimer’s disease may be the MIND diet (12). This type of diet limits your intake of saturated fats, sugars, processed foods, and alcohol while encouraging you to eat fatty fish at least three times per week. It further promotes eating leafy greens, which have been linked with helping lower the risk of heart disease, cognitive decline, and stroke.
Participants in one study showed greater improvements in cognition when following this diet compared to others that were low in saturated fat. Furthermore, research suggests that men who follow this plan can reduce their risk for Alzheimer’s by 35% over time (12).
Intermittent fasting is yet another sustainable diet for men because it doesn’t require you to cut out all the foods you love but simply restricts eating times, so your body goes through different stages of hunger.
Although intermittent fasting hasn’t been studied extensively in men, early evidence suggests that it may be beneficial for lowering blood pressure levels while also reducing LDL cholesterol, blood triglycerides, and inflammatory markers. Furthermore, intermittent fasting has also been shown to benefit insulin resistance, which can prevent or even reverse metabolic syndrome in men (1).
One of the healthiest diets for men to follow is a vegetarian diet because it’s high in fiber, low in saturated fat, and encourages partakers to eat foods that are rich in micronutrients.
Although plant-based diets have never been directly studied on their own in terms of weight loss, eating more fruits and vegetables tend to help control weight gain because they’re so nutritious. Furthermore, when following this type of diet, participants not only lost weight but also saw improvements in blood pressure levels, HDL cholesterol levels, and insulin resistance (1).
Workout Plans For Weight Loss Men
Research shows that the most effective weight loss strategies involve dietary modifications alongside increased physical activity and other behavioral changes — not diet alone (4).
Some of the ways men can improve their physical activity include:
For those looking to lose weight and improve their cardiovascular health, experts recommend 30 minutes of cardio exercise per day (5). There are many different types of cardio exercises men can try, such as jogging, running, biking, climbing stairs, or dancing.
Strength training is another great way for men to burn calories while strengthening muscles. Not only does strength training help improve muscle tone, but studies have also shown that it can help reduce insulin resistance in obese individuals with type 2 diabetes (10).
Furthermore, research shows that strength training may even be important for maintaining overall metabolic health long-term. Lastly, this type of workout will not only boost metabolism but also increase lean muscle mass over time (10).
Weight Management Tips For Men
When you have a diet and workout plan in place, use these tips to ensure long term results:
Drink The Right Fluids
Staying hydrated is key for overall health and weight loss. Not only will drinking more water help you feel full, but it can also help control your appetite. In addition, studies show that when you drink two additional glasses of water before a meal, it can lead to significant decreases in food consumption, so you consume fewer calories overall. Furthermore, drinking the right fluids throughout the day may increase metabolic rate by up to 30% (13).
Control Your Portions
One of the simplest and most effective ways to lose weight and keep it off long term is to eat less. Although many people try fad diets or crazy workout plans, they result in unsustainable behavior changes that do not fit into normal life. Furthermore, research shows that individuals who eat until they feel satisfied tend to lose more weight than those who try to restrict their food intake.
Baking, Not Frying
Not only will baking, boiling, or grilling your foods help you avoid excess calories, but it can also decrease the amount of oil and fats used in cooking. Furthermore, cooking with oils high in omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) may be beneficial for heart health, but it can cause an increase in inflammation levels that have been linked to many chronic diseases, including obesity.
Lastly, frying foods at high temperatures can produce toxic chemicals called advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which are similar to sugar and have been shown to increase insulin resistance.
Do Interval Workouts
Research shows that interval training can be even more effective than traditional cardio at burning calories. Although the exact amount of time varies depending on individual fitness levels, studies show exercisers burn more calories during interval workouts compared to steady-state bouts of activity where you are performing the same intensity level throughout (2). Furthermore, if your goal is weight loss, incorporating this type of workout may help prevent any undesired loss in lean muscle mass.
Find Accountability Partners
Having an accountability partner can help boost motivation and results. Not only do you have someone to keep you accountable, but it can also be a great source of support! Furthermore, research has shown that having an accountability partner encourages weight management behaviors by creating standards for both members to live up to.
Lastly, having this type of partner will reduce the risk of lapses in your weight management goals by holding each other accountable when one slips up or experiences a lapse in motivation.
The Bottom Line
When trying to lose weight using a healthy diet plan, men should follow a high protein diet that includes plenty of vegetables while reducing their caloric intake. Not only will they be able to lose weight but also improve their overall health at the same time. They should also adhere to an exercise routine for efficient weight management.
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This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Defining the Optimal Dietary Approach for Safe, Effective and Sustainable Weight Loss in Overweight and Obese Adults (2018, nih.gov)
- Effectiveness of high-intensity interval training for weight loss in adults with obesity: a randomised controlled non-inferiority trial (n.d., bmj.com)
- Effect of Body Weight on Sexual Function in Men and Women (2020, nih.gov)
- Effect of diet and exercise, alone or combined, on weight and body composition in overweight-to-obese post-menopausal women (2011, nih.gov)
- Exercise and Cardiovascular Health (2003, ahajournals.org)
- Favourable effects of consuming a Palaeolithic-type diet on characteristics of the metabolic syndrome: a randomized controlled pilot-study (2014, nih.gov)
- Fitness, obesity and risk of heat illness among army trainees (2014, oup.com)
- Obesity Prevention Source (n.d., harvard.edu)
- Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet Supplemented with Extra-Virgin Olive Oil or Nuts (2018, nih.gov)
- Resistance training is medicine: effects of strength training on health (2012, pubmed.gov)
- The Health Effects of Overweight & Obesity (2020, cdc.gov)
- What Do We Know About Diet and Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease? (2019, nih.gov)
- Yes, drinking more water may help you lose weight (n.d., jhu.edu)