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The Absolute Best Diet for Men Over 50

By: Erin Coleman, B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.,

Writer at The Fit Father Project

best diet for men over 50
Looking for the best diet for men over 50? It's not a fad diet and in some ways, it's not a diet at all!

Many men over 50 in the U.S. are overweight or obese, which is why fad diets are popular among men seeking weight and fat loss.

But while fad dieting may work well for a while, it’s difficult to maintain restrictive weight-loss diets long term.

That’s why establishing life-long healthy eating habits is the best way to lose weight, keep it off, and achieve the physique you deserve.

Simply put, the best diet for men over 50 is a long-term lifestyle change, not a short-term fad diet.

Ready to learn more about the REAL best diet for men over 50?

Wondering why men gain weight? Here are the top 15 reasons!

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Here’s A Free Weight Loss Meal Plan For Busy Men 40+

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Discover exactly what to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to lose belly fat & feel energized 24/7 without hard dieting...

Why Fad Dieting Doesn't Work Long Term

Fad diets often work by severely restricting calories or certain essential nutrients.

You might reduce carbohydrates or dietary fat, for example.

Fad dieting often means restricting these nutrients in a way you can’t sustain long term, to get a quick fix vs. making lifestyle changes for life.

The reason fad dieting doesn't work long term is that it puts you at risk for nutrient deficiencies, reduces your energy, and often leaves you feeling unsatisfied and hungry.

Severe calorie restriction increases your risk of overeating to compensate for food cravings.

Eating too few carbohydrates can cause headaches, fatigue, water weight loss, and even bad breath.

Rapid weight loss using low-calorie diets can cause hair loss, nutrient deficiencies, severe fatigue, and even gallstones.

When you follow fad diets to lose weight rapidly, you’re at risk for regaining the weight when you return to regular eating habits.

That’s why it’s best to lose weight at a slower, healthy pace of 1 to 2 pounds per week by following a slightly reduced-calorie, well-balanced meal plan.

1 day meal plan

Here’s A Free Weight Loss Meal Plan For Busy Men 40+

1 day meal plan
Discover exactly what to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to lose belly fat & feel energized 24/7 without hard dieting...

Most Popular Fad Diets for Men Over 50

The following fad diets are some of the most popular diets for men over 50.

Very restrictive versions of the diets below are difficult to maintain long-term.

Less restrictive versions, if the diets are well balanced, are safer and more effective for long-term success.

Low-Carb Diets

Low-carb diets limit carb-rich foods, such as bread, pasta, rice, cereal, fruit, starchy vegetables, legumes, sweets, and sugary drinks — and focus on protein and dietary fat.

Many low-carb diets, such as the Atkins diet, contain just 20 to 60 grams of carbs daily vs. the 130 grams per day recommended by the Institute of Medicine.

Reducing your current carb intake is often safe and healthy for shedding pounds and body fat, especially if you eat at least 130 grams of carbs per day.

However, extreme versions of low-carb diets aren’t sustainable long-term for many men over 50.

Once you resume a more normal way of eating, your weight may steadily increase.

Extreme low-carb diets also increase your risk for nutrient deficiencies and increase fatigue, making workouts more difficult or non-existent in some cases.

Your best bet when it comes to low-carb dieting for weight loss is to eat at least 130 grams of healthy carbs — such as whole grains, fruits, veggies, legumes, nuts, and seeds — and avoid white bread, white rice, other refined grains, sweets, and sugary drinks.

Low-Fat Diets

Because low-fat dieting is a good way to reduce overall calories, reducing dietary fat is often an effective weight loss strategy.

However, lowering your carb intake may be more effective for weight loss than reducing dietary fat, say researchers who conducted a study published in 2015 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Your body requires dietary fat for numerous functions and structures within the body.

For example, healthy fats maximize brain health, help absorb vitamins, and allow you to maintain healthy hair, skin, and nails.

The Institute of Medicine recommends consuming 20% to 35% of your daily calories from fat.

Getting about 25% to 30% of your calories from fat is a good rule of thumb for weight loss in men over 50.

Fat provides 9 calories per gram. Choose avocados, plant-based oils, olives, nuts, seeds, fatty fish, and nut butters to meet dietary fat requirements.

1 day meal plan

Here’s A Free Weight Loss Meal Plan For Busy Men 40+

1 day meal plan
Discover exactly what to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to lose belly fat & feel energized 24/7 without hard dieting...

Keto Diet

The ketogenic diet, or keto diet, is a high-fat diet extremely low in carbs originally developed for patients with epilepsy to control seizures.

This diet is low to moderate in protein, depending on which version of the keto diet you follow.

You might consume just 5% of your total calories from carbs, or less than 20 grams of carbs daily when following a ketogenic diet.

In contrast, the Institute of Medicine encourages adults to get 45% to 65% of their calories from carbohydrates.

Some versions of the ketogenic diet are higher in protein than others but dietary fat is your body’s main fuel source, providing up to 75% to 90 % of your total calories.

The theory behind keto diets is your body burns fat as fuel instead of its preferred source (carbohydrates), putting your body in a state of ketosis.

As with other forms of low-carb diets, traditional ketogenic diets often lead to weight loss due to calorie restriction.

However, keto diets often produce the same unwelcome side effects as low-carb dieting — and aren’t a long-term weight loss fix.

A 2014 study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that ketogenic diets help control hunger and aid in weight loss.

However, researchers say medical supervision is recommended during strict keto dieting to monitor kidney function, and you should only follow it for a maximum of 6 to 12 months at a time.

Paleo Diet

The Paleo diet, or stone-age diet, is a hunter-gatherer way of eating that mimics what the cavemen probably ate.

The diet is rich in:

  • Fish
  • Lean meats
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Seeds and nuts
  • Plant-based oils

The Paleo diet does not include legumes, dairy foods, grains, refined sugar, salt, potatoes, or highly processed foods.

Mayo Clinic suggests the Paleo diet is effective for weight loss, but that dairy foods, whole grains, and legumes not included in the diet are rich in fiber and numerous other essential nutrients your body requires to function properly.

Mayo Clinic also notes that long-term research regarding the safety and effectiveness of the Paleo diet is needed.

Because the diet is restrictive, you might find it difficult to adhere to long-term.

1 day meal plan

Here’s A Free Weight Loss Meal Plan For Busy Men 40+

1 day meal plan
Discover exactly what to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to lose belly fat & feel energized 24/7 without hard dieting...

Raw Food Diet

The raw food diet is a way of eating that eliminates cooked and processed foods.

While sometimes raw fish, raw eggs, unpasteurized dairy foods, and raw meat is included in the diet, it’s mainly a raw plant-based diet.

Raw food dieters eat:

  • Raw fruits
  • Raw veggies
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Nut butters
  • Soaked grains
  • Soaked legumes
  • Nut milks
  • Dried or raw meats and fish
  • Plant-based oils
  • Seaweed
  • Fermented foods

When following the raw food diet, you’ll avoid cooked foods, baked items, processed foods, salt, refined sugar, refined flour, alcohol, pastries, chips, and pasta.

While raw food diets often lead to weight loss, the loss is due to eating fewer overall calories, not consuming foods that are raw.

In fact, eating raw meat, raw eggs, or unpasteurized dairy foods can lead to food-borne illnesses.

Detox Diets

Various detox diets exist, but many involve severely restricting the foods you eat, fasting, or both.

A detox diet might consist of simply drinking water while fasting, or drinking water plus:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Juices
  • Soups
  • Herbs

The goal of detox diets is to empty, or detoxify, the intestines and lose excess weight.

However, Mayo Clinic says while detox diets are popular, there’s little evidence they eliminate toxins.

Negative side effects like fatigue, bloating, nausea, or cramping may also occur, and detox diets increase the risk of vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

Detox diets aren't designed as a long-term weight loss solution, but rather a short-term fix for shedding excess weight, especially water weight, quickly.

However, the weight lost from detox diets may quickly return when you resume normal eating patterns.

1 day meal plan

Here’s A Free Weight Loss Meal Plan For Busy Men 40+

1 day meal plan
Discover exactly what to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to lose belly fat & feel energized 24/7 without hard dieting...

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting comes in many forms.

You’ll alternate periods of fasting (not eating) with regular eating patterns.

You might:

  • Skip certain meals
  • Avoid food after certain times each night
  • Avoid eating for an entire day, one or two days each week
  • Reduce calories certain days each week, also known as intermittent calorie restriction

The reason intermittent fasting often works for weight loss is that you’ll probably reduce your overall calorie intake, which is necessary for shedding pounds.

Alternate periods of calorie restriction with normal eating patterns to reduce changes in metabolism and enhance weight and fat loss, say researchers who conducted a 2018 study published in the International Journal of Obesity.

Obese men who participated in the study reduced their usual intake by 67% during fasting days and ate enough calories to maintain their weight on non-fasting days.

Longer or more severe fasts can lead to fatigue, nutrient deficiencies, hunger, and a slower metabolism.

Plant-Based Diets

Plant-based diets consist of only foods derived from plants, such as:

  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Grains
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Legumes
  • Plant oils

When following a plant-based or vegan diet, you’ll steer clear of meat, poultry, fish, seafood, eggs, dairy foods, and foods containing these items as ingredients.

Switching from a carnivorous diet to a plant-based diet promotes weight loss and prevents overweight and obesity, say researchers who conducted a study published in 2017 in the Journal of Geriatric Cardiology.

Vegetarian diets that lack meat, fish, seafood, and poultry, but contain eggs and dairy foods are more effective for weight loss than carnivorous diets, but less effective than vegan diets for shedding pounds, according to a 2016 study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

1 day meal plan

Here’s A Free Weight Loss Meal Plan For Busy Men 40+

1 day meal plan
Discover exactly what to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to lose belly fat & feel energized 24/7 without hard dieting...

What is the Best Diet for Men Over 50?

A lifetime approach to healthy eating rather than short-term fad diets is the absolute best diet for men over 50.

Following more liberal versions of the fad diets above is healthier than severely restricting calories or certain nutrients, but you don’t have to fad diet to successfully shed pounds.

Simply follow a well-balanced, Mediterranean-style meal plan that’s lower in calories than your usual intake.

Allow yourself a cheat day every now and then, exercise regularly, and make your new eating pattern (the best diet for men over 50) something you can stick with for a lifetime.

The Fit Father Project offers a free 1-day meal plan to get you headed in the right direction with your new diet, and a free 24-minute metabolism-boosting workout to help you achieve the body weight and physique you desire.

Mediterranean Diet Basics

The benefits of a Mediterranean-style diet (the best diet for men over 50) include:

  • Weight loss and healthy weight management
  • Lower heart disease risks
  • Lower LDL (bad) cholesterol
  • Reduced risk of death
  • Lower cancer risks
  • Reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease
  • Lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease

When you’re following a heart-healthy Mediterranean-style eating pattern to achieve the best diet for men over 50, eat the following foods:

  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Eggs
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Whole grains
  • Legumes
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Herbs for seasoning
  • Low-fat dairy foods

In contrast, you’ll limit or avoid:

  • Red meat
  • Butter
  • Processed foods
  • Fried foods
  • Added sugar
  • Sweets
  • Sugary drinks
  • Alcohol (except for red wine in moderation)

Ask your doctor if drinking alcohol is safe for you.

Traditional Mediterranean diets do include red wine, but if weight loss is your goal you may want to nix alcohol altogether to keep your calorie intake low.

1 day meal plan

Here’s A Free Weight Loss Meal Plan For Busy Men 40+

1 day meal plan
Discover exactly what to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to lose belly fat & feel energized 24/7 without hard dieting...

Tips and Trick for Success

When following the best diet for men over 50, try the following tips and tricks to ensure success, avoid nutrient deficiencies, steer clear of side effects, and look and feel your best:

  • Fill half of each plate with non-starchy vegetables, such as leafy greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, mushrooms, cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, celery, or green beans.
  • Fill one-fourth of each plate with healthy proteins, such as fish, poultry, eggs, tofu, or low-fat dairy foods.
  • Fill one-fourth of your plate with healthy starches, such as brown rice, whole-grain pasta, wild rice, quinoa, oatmeal, legumes, corn, peas, or sweet potatoes.
  • Drink water all throughout the day, when you first wake up in the morning, and before meals (aim for 2 cups before each meal).
  • Sleep 7 to 9 hours each night.
  • Seek motivational support from the Fit Father Project to stay on track.
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes most days each week.

Erin Coleman B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer at The Fit Father Project

Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian with over 15 years of freelance writing experience.

She graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in nutritional science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and completed her dietetic internship at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Prior to beginning her career in medical content writing, Erin worked as Health Educator for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Internal Medicine.

Her published work appears on hundreds of health and fitness websites, and she’s currently working on publishing her first book! Erin is a wife, and a Mom to two beautiful children.

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*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on the best diet for men over 50.

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