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Men & diets

Men & diets
Just like women, men tend to pile on the pounds if they don’t take care, especially as they get older. Whereas in the past, men weren’t so bothered about their figure, these days they're getting more and more body-conscious. Follow our advice to help you help your other half get rid of his love handles!
Just like women, men tend to pile on the pounds if they don’t take care, especially as they get older. Whereas in the past, men weren’t so bothered about their figure, these days they're getting more and more body-conscious. Follow our advice to help you help your other half get rid of his love handles!

Overweight & obese men

In England, 44% of men are overweight and 23% are obese. The figures for men aged 16-24 are lower, with (only) 28% either overweight or obese. The more settled into their job, marriage and family life they get, the less they exercise...and the more the pounds start to creep on. Unlike women, men store fat around the abdomen, which can be dangerous from a health point of view. There are cardio-vascular risks and risks of triglyceride, high blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol. Overweight men should therefore lose weight for health reasons, not just because they're concerned about their appearance. If his BMI is higher than 25 and his waist measures more than 102cm, or if his waist measures more than his hips, regardless of his BMI, his weight is a health risk.

Their weaknesses

- Men tend to love protein and fatty foods such as red meat and cheese, which are high in calories and bad for health, as well as sugary foods which are also high in calories.
- They tend to drink a lot of alcohol. At 7 calories per gram, alcohol does the waistline no favours!
- Many will eat their meals in a professional environment. Ordering a salad isn’t as easy when they're eating out with a client.
- Men don’t tend to eat enough fruit and vegetables, unless they’re deep-fried, served with cream or butter.
- They skip breakfast, or just grab a cereal bar on the way to work.
- They’re not interested in healthy eating and don't know enough about getting a balanced diet.
- They like to eat, and hardly ever restrain themselves or say no to food.

Their strong points

- Men naturally burn more calories than women. They have more muscles and less fatty tissue than women (10 to 15% fat versus 20 to 25% for women), and muscular mass burns the most energy.
- They lose weight quickly. Following the same diet, a woman will lose 3 kilos whilst a man will lose 5. Men lose weight 25% faster than women.
- As a rule, men diet less than women and can therefore lose weight more easily. Constant dieting makes women’s bodies more resistant to restrictions.
- Generally, men suffer less from eating disorders, bulimia, anorexia, compulsive eating, snacking and binge-eating. They rarely have psychological issues with food.
- Fat is easier to get rid of from the stomach than from the thighs, buttocks and hips.

Advice

- Men are more active, muscular and taller, so they will still lose weight on a diet of 1600-1800 kcal/day. These calories should mainly come from protein (150g of meat or fish at lunch and 120g at dinner) and vegetables, but also from a portion of cooked starchy food (around 150g) at lunch and at dinner, with light seasoning, as well as dairy produce (3 helpings per day) and fruit (1 piece per meal).
- They need to pay special attention to the types of fat they eat. Vegetable oils should be used in cooking, only 10g of butter a day should be eaten, and fatty meats should be cut out.
- If he doesn’t eat a proper breakfast, he needs to start getting into good habits. Breakfast has to provide him with vitamins, fibre, minerals, slow carbohydrates, protein and a small amount of fat.
- If he eats out with workmates and/or clients, fish or Japanese restaurants are healthy options.
- Generally speaking, he needs to reduce the size of his portions, even if it means not finishing his plate! The rest hinges on his choice of foods: salad, seafood or smoked salmon as a starter; grilled meat or fish with vegetables as a main course; fruit salad or sorbet instead of cheese, biscuits or cakes for dessert. A little wine is fine (you can't cut all your treats out!), with plenty of water. A healthy evening meal would be: soup, 1 slice of bread, 1 slice of ham, 1 helping of dairy produce and 1 piece of fruit.
Published by editorial staff Health and Fitness
17 Mar 2008
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