Losing weight is one of the healthiest decisions a person can make. From decreasing the risks of diseases to improving their mental well-being, weight loss provides dozens of benefits to anyone who can make some small sacrifices.
But finding the diet that works for you isn’t easy — the internet is filled with hundreds of variations on thousands of diets. However, a few eating plans are easy to follow and have shown to be safe for most people. Here’s what you need to know.
Top diets for Men
Almost everyone could benefit from losing some weight — studies show that getting rid of extra fat positively impacts your overall health. Men losing weight usually go after eating plans such as high-protein, Mediterranean, and WFPB diets. Yet, finding the perfect diet plan for you may seem like an impossible task (1).
A perfect diet plan should be easy to follow and keep you happy despite the food restriction. It’s also important to consider how much weight you want to lose, as less restrictive diets will usually be slower. If you can’t seem to find the best diet to lose weight, don’t worry — here are seven of the most popular weight loss diets for men:
Recent research has shown that high-protein diets are one of the most effective ways of losing weight quickly. Plus, it’s usually one of the easier plans to follow, as it allows for eating eggs, cheese, bacon, and meat, among other things (2).
Protein helps you lose weight in various ways. For instance, it’s the most satiating macronutrient, meaning that eating a protein-rich meal will keep your appetite low for longer than usual. This allows you to lower your caloric intake by a substantial amount (3, 4).
Another important aspect of protein’s role in losing weight is its ability to boost thermogenesis. Thermogenesis is a natural process through which your body releases heat after eating. Naturally, this burns several calories, making protein the ideal choice for shedding a few extra calories without realizing it (4).
High-protein diets are some of the most flexible eating plans out there, as a significant number of foods can fit this scheme. Chicken, beef, nuts, and dairy are some typical things people include in their diets. However, it’s also apt for vegetarians — from beans to quinoa, there are dozens of high-protein alternatives to meat.
The Mediterranean diet has gained popularity due to being based on the delicious foods that come from the shores of Spain, France, and Italy. By eating vegetables, legumes, and fruits, this plan allows you to get rid of processed foods and other unhealthy meals slowly.
The main benefit of the Mediterranean diet is preventing obesity — however, it also has other advantages. For example, it has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease both in people with previously existing conditions and in people with no antecedents (5).
The remarkable weight-losing properties of the Mediterranean diet are easily explained by the fact that most of its foods are high in water. Fruits and vegetables, for example, show how eating low-energy, low-calorie foods can make you feel satiated without significantly increasing your caloric intake (6).
If you’re interested in trying a Mediterranean meal plan, stock fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. You can also eat eggs, legumes, and seafood, making it the ideal diet for anyone looking to lose weight while still eating sophisticated meals.
WFPB stands for “whole-food, plant-based,” meaning that this diet tries to accommodate vegan ideals while rejecting processed food. Still, this eating plan does allow eating foods that aren’t plant-based, such as eggs, although in a small quantity.
Recent research shows that diets that, like WFPB, mimic vegetarian eating plans have dozens of benefits for the body. Mostly, they are praised for having greater weight-losing properties than non-vegetarian ones. For example, in a recent study spanning four months, researchers found that participants lost, on average, one extra kilogram when provided with a plant-based diet (7).
Another unique benefit of plant-based diets is the modulation of gut microbiota. While research is inconclusive, experts point out that following a plant-based diet for five days may be enough to change the microbe profile of your gut. In turn, this could lead to a decreased risk for obesity and other food-related conditions (8).
Keep in mind that a WFPB diet plan has no strict limitations on food; you’re encouraged to create your own eating plan following some general guidelines. As you may imagine, it is essential to avoid processed foods and non-vegetarian ingredients. Instead, focus on eating whole grains, seeds, and vegetables.
Low-carbohydrate diets are similar to high-protein diets but with a slight change in scope — the idea is to replace carbs with any other macronutrient. People often avoid carbohydrates to limit their caloric intake, but these diets provide much more.
Doctors usually recommend these diets to treat conditions such as epilepsy or type two diabetes. However, most commonly, it’s seen as the perfect solution for obesity, as it allows for a lot of freedom regarding how much you can eat. Instead, it avoids certain foods to reduce carbohydrate intake (9).
Low-carb diets force your body to enter a state known as ketosis, during which breaking down fats for energy becomes much easier. This allows for quicker weight loss and helps prevent certain conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. However, more research is needed to fully confirm these properties (9, 10).
Much like WFPB diets, low-carb eating plans don’t focus on eating specific things but rather avoiding carb sources as a whole. Instead, one should look for nutrients in meat, eggs, dairy, and oils, which are regarded as natural and healthy low-carb foods.
The paleolithic diet has been steadily growing in popularity throughout the last few years. As its name indicates, this eating plan tries to imitate the diet of some of our oldest ancestors, who lived before agriculture was a prevalent food source. Followers of the paleo plan argue that agriculture is the root of obesity and similar food-related conditions.
Due to its high restrictions, the paleo diet is one of the most effective eating plans for losing weight. Research shows that people who follow paleo diets lose, on average, 3.5 extra kilograms compared to other eating plans (11).
The paleo diet is also of great help to people with type two diabetes. This eating plan can significantly increase insulin sensitivity and glycemic control. Similarly, it has shown promise in treating certain cardiovascular conditions — but results are still inconclusive (12, 13).
Three things are off-limits when it comes to paleo diets: processed foods, legumes, and grains. The eating plan, instead, encourages you to get used to natural meals such as lean meats, seafood, and vegetables.
Intermittent energy restriction diets, more simply known as IER diets, are eating plans that encompass restricted eating and fasting. Through a combination of both of these elements, this diet allows for losing weight while also improving blood pressure and gut function (14).
While it’s impossible to condense all the possibilities of IER diets, the idea remains the same through all variations. By restricting eating times and fasting frequently, you can reap the dozens of benefits that each one of these methods provides.
For example, time-restricted eating increases metabolic flexibility and reduces body weight. On the other hand, intermittent fasting decreases glucose levels and helps prevent (and treat) obesity (15, 16).
Finding the perfect IER diet for you may be a challenging task — however, there are many variations available all over the internet. If you’re in doubt about which one to try, it might be a good idea to check with a doctor, as they’ll be able to give you precise advice about what’s best for you.
Fiber is one of the core nutrients found in most foods, yet not many people know how important it is. By focusing your diet on increasing your fiber intake, you’ll reap dozens of benefits, from losing weight to reducing blood pressure (17, 18).
This nutrient plays such a crucial part in losing weight that experts estimate that, by every 10 grams added to your fiber intake, you’ll lose 2.2 kilograms. Plus, one of the often overlooked benefits of fiber is that it makes you feel satiated, further reducing your caloric intake (17, 19).
As we’ve already mentioned, fiber also has other health benefits. For example, it’s often recommended for people with diabetes or hypertension. Experts believe this happens thanks to its ability to reduce LDL cholesterol levels (18).
What Should I Know About Losing Weight?
While most people have tried to lose weight at some point in their lives, few have taken the time to understand how it works. Grasping the basic concepts of weight loss can help you create the ideal eating plan for you while optimizing everyday activities.
How Does Weight Loss Happen?
Weight loss is determined by a crucial factor — caloric deficit. Calories are a way of measuring how much energy a particular food or beverage contains. Men need about 2,500 calories a day to maintain a healthy body, although the exact number varies among people (20).
You will start losing weight if you achieve a caloric deficit (eating fewer calories than your body uses). This happens because the body has no other option than to resort to using fat and muscle due to the reduced caloric intake.
However, it’s important to remember that it’s possible to go overboard with caloric deficits. Trying to lose weight in an unhealthy manner may result in serious side effects, so make sure to pick a safe diet and be patient.
Are There Any Health Benefits to Losing Weight?
Besides the particular benefits each diet provides, losing weight on its own is one of the healthiest decisions a person can make. From high blood pressure to coronary heart disease, obesity can trigger many side effects and conditions — some of which may be mortal. Here are some of the common conditions caused by being overweight (21):
- Type two diabetes
- Gallbladder disease
- Sleep apnea and other breathing-related conditions
- Mental disorders including anxiety and depression
Luckily, the risk for most of these conditions disappears when one approaches a healthy weight. However, it’s essential to set realistic expectations and not rush weight loss — instead, try to check with a nutritionist to put together a plan that works for you.
What Is Metabolism?
If you’ve been around people trying to lose weight, you may have heard about boosting your metabolism. When talking about increasing metabolism, most people refer to a concept known as RMR — resting metabolic rate.
RMR describes the caloric expenditure of your body when it’s at rest. Breathing, pumping blood, and digesting foods, are, for example, ordinary activities that form part of your RMR (22). So, naturally, some people believe that boosting your metabolism leads to a higher metabolic rate.
While the effects of boosting your metabolic rate aren’t yet completely known, it might be worth giving it a try. After all, the worst that could happen is eliminating unhealthy habits and replacing them with good ones, such as walking and drinking more water. Here are some ways to boost your RMR (23, 24, 25, 26):
- Drinking some water before and after each meal
- Eating more protein
- Performing high-intensity workouts
- Including more spicy foods in your diet
Key Takeaways: Losing Weight for Men
Hundreds of diets are perfect for men trying to lose weight, most of which are easily found online. However, sticking to easy-to-follow, highly-studied eating plans may prove more beneficial in the long run.
If you’re in doubt about which meal plan for weight loss is best for you, you may want to check with a doctor. A trained professional can give precise directions taking into account your personal factors to avoid risks.