The 10 Best Diet Plans for Men Backed by Research

With so many diet plans for men available to choose from, picking the best can be overwhelming. Fad diets offering a “quick fix” can be tempting, but the most effective weight loss plan for men isn't a diet at all. It’s a healthy way of eating that’s sustainable long-term.

Characteristics of the Best Diet Plan for Men

When choosing the best diet plan for men, look for the following characteristics many effective weight loss programs have in common:

#1 It’s Loaded with Vegetables

vegetables Effective diet plans for men are loaded with fruits and vegetables – especially non-starchy veggies like leafy greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, and bell peppers. Why? Because vegetables help fill you up without extra calories, are rich in satiating fiber, and help lower your risk for chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

Studies show that increasing fruit and vegetable intake is associated with a lower body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, and overall body fat percentage. Aim to eat fruits and vegetables at each meal or snack.

The Fit Father Project 30X (FF30X), one of the best diet plans for men with proven results, recommends filling each plate 1/2-full with vegetables to reap health benefits and achieve or maintain a healthy weight for life.

#2 It’s Slightly Lower in Calories

The best way to shed unwanted pounds is to reduce your overall calorie intake.

selection of healthy food best diet plan for menHowever, one characteristic of the best diet plan for men is while it’s slightly lower in calories than your usual intake, it doesn’t drastically cut calories.

Lowering your current intake by just 500 – 750 calories daily is enough for you to safely drop about 1 to 1 1/2 pounds per week and keep lost weight off for good.

For many men this might mean eating about 1,500 to 1,800 calories a day, but individual needs vary based on your size, body composition, and activity level.

#3 It’s Well-Balanced

Many effective weight loss plans slightly reduce certain nutrients, especially refined carbohydrates, but the best diet plan for men is well-balanced and contains a good mix of:

  • fruit and veggies best diet plan for menFruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole Grains
  • Beans and other legumes
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Protein foods like poultry, fish, seafood, and tofu
  • Low-fat dairy foods or plant-milks
  • Plant oils and other healthy fats

Reducing unhealthy carbohydrates is an effective weight loss strategy, but your body requires some carbohydrates daily to function properly.

Studies show that fiber, a type of carbohydrate, enhances weight and fat loss and reduces overall food intake.

The Institute of Medicine recommends adults eat at least 130 grams of carbs daily and men consume 30 – 38 grams of fiber each day.

#4 It’s Sustainable Long Term

Not all weight loss plans are easy or nutritious enough to safely maintain long term.

For example, eating very few calories or drastically cutting macronutrients (such as carbohydrates, protein, or dietary fat) is difficult to maintain for more than a few weeks because doing so can lead to:

  • headaches best diet plan for menHunger
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Hair loss
  • Nutrient deficiencies

Instead of taking drastic weight loss measures, stick with a well-balanced diet plan designed for men (such as FF30X) that prevents hunger and nutrient deficiencies, and keeps energy levels high all throughout the day.

#5 It’s Not Low-Fat

Low-fat diets used to be popular, but new research found that while limiting dietary fat can lead to weight loss, other diet plans for men appear to be more effective for long-term weight and fat loss.

avocado best diet plan for menStudies show that over the course of 12 months, low-carb dieters have greater decreases in body weight, body fat, cholesterol, and triglycerides compared with low-fat dieters.

These findings may seem counter-intuitive because dietary fat provides 9 calories per gram and carbohydrates and protein each contains just 4 calories per gram.

However, dietary fat fills you up for long time periods, helping to reduce your overall calorie intake. Upon doing so, your body begins to burn fat as fuel in place of carbohydrates – a process known as ketosis.

Examples of the Best Diet Plans for Men

It can be difficult to determine which weight loss program is truly the best diet plan for men, but the list of effective diets below can steer you in the right direction. Examples of the best diet plans for men backed by research include:

#1 Paleo Diets

The paleo diet, also known as the caveman diet, hunter-gather diet, and stone-age diet, is an eating plan similar to what the cavemen probably ate 10,000 years ago.

paleo pyramid caveman diet best diet plan for menA paleo meal plan includes foods obtained by hunting and gathering – such as lean meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and fruit and nut oils.

Paleo diets DO NOT include or limit grains, legumes, dairy foods, processed foods, and alcohol.

Research shows that paleo diets are often effective for weight loss.

The reason for this is because paleo diet plans are lower in carbohydrates, sugar, refined grains, and other highly processed foods than traditional diets – and contain fewer calories as well.

Paleo diets are rich in protein and fiber, two satiating nutrients that enhance weight and fat loss.

#2 Mediterranean-Style Diets

The Mediterranean-style diet aids in healthy weight management and lowers heart disease risks for numerous reasons.

shrimp and veggies best diet plan for menThis healthy eating plan is rich in fish, olive oil, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and herbs.

You’ll limit or avoid red meat, use oils in place of butter, and stay away from refined grains, added sugars, sugary drinks, and other processed foods.

Studies show that Mediterranean diets are associated with smaller waist circumferences and a lower risk of overweight and obesity.

#3 Vegetarian Diets

Limiting meat and other animal foods is an excellent way to cut calories and lower chronic disease risks.

vegan burgers with beans best diet plan for menThat’s because many animal foods contain saturated fat and cholesterol, some are full of hormones or antibiotics, and high-fat animal foods add extra calories to meal plans.

Vegetarian diets are rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, tofu or seitan, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and plant oils.

Vegan dieters eliminate all animal foods including meat, eggs, and dairy foods. Many vegetarian dieters simply avoid meat, fish, seafood, and poultry.

According to a 2016 review published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, vegetarian diets (especially vegan diets) are more effective for weight loss than non-vegetarian diets.

#4 Low-Carb Diets

Low-carb diets aid in weight loss, fat loss, and lowering triglycerides and cholesterol, according to a 2014 study published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

meat best sources best diet plan for menLow-carb diets replace added sugars, refined grains (white bread, pasta, and white rice), potatoes, and other carb-rich foods with non-starch vegetables, nuts, seeds, protein foods, and heart-healthy fats.

Examples of low-carb diets include the Atkins, South Beach, and Zone diets.

Instead of the Institute of Medicine recommendation of getting 45% to 65% of daily calories from carbohydrates, low-carb diets may provide just 20 to 150 grams of carbs per day.

#5 Ketogenic Diets

Ketogenic diets are low-carbohydrate, high-fat diets that work well for weight loss according to numerous studies.

ketogenic food best diet plan for menKetogenic diets may provide about 75% of your calories from satiating dietary fat – especially plant oils.

The reason ketogenic, or keto, diets work for weight loss is because these diets put your body into a state of ketosis, which means your body burns fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates.

Harvard School of Public Health reports that ketogenic diets increase satiety, decrease food cravings, boost metabolism, and promote weight and fat loss.

#6 Raw Food Diet

The raw food diet is a mainly vegan, plant-based diet consisting of primarily raw foods.

sushi best diet plan for menFoods included in the raw food diet are raw fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, soaked legumes or grains, dried meats, nut milks, nut butters, fermented foods, seaweed, and raw fish.

While raw meat and raw eggs are allowed, consider avoiding these foods to lower your risk of foodborne illness. Processed foods, sweets, added sugars, alcohol, coffee, and tea are off limits.

The reason the raw food diet works for weight loss isn’t because you’re eating raw foods, but because the diet is almost entirely plant-based, is rich in fiber, and eliminates processed foods.

#7 Volumetrics Diet

The volumetrics diet is also effective for weight loss and long-term healthy weight management, according to a 2014 study published in the journal Obesity.

leafy greens best diet plan for menThe volumetrics diet is a reduced-calorie eating plan that focuses on foods with low-energy density and high fiber and water content, such as vegetable and fruits.

These foods help fill you up with fewer calories to eliminate hunger during calorie restriction and weight loss.

In addition to offering an abundance of fruits and veggies, other foods included in the volumetrics diet include beans, lean meats, fish, whole grains, broth soups, and low-fat dairy foods.

#8 DASH Diet

Studies show that the DASH diet, also knows as dietary approaches to stop hypertension, is effective for healthy weight management.

beans and legumes best diet plan for menThe DASH diet was developed to lower high blood pressure using healthy eating strategies.

It's a well-balanced, reduced-calorie meal plan that limits sodium to 1,500 to 2,300 milligrams daily and is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, low-fat dairy foods, healthy proteins, and oils.

DASH places limits on sweets, processed foods, and alcohol.

#9 USDA Reduced-Calorie Diets

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020 provide well-balanced, healthy meal plans at different calorie allotments – some of which work well for weight loss in men. For example, a USDA 1,600-calorie plan includes 2 cups of vegetables, 1½ cups of fruits, 5 ounces of grains, 5 ounces of protein foods, 3 cups of low-fat dairy foods or plant milks, and 5 teaspoons of oils daily.

#10 Fit Father Project 30X (FF30X) Program

The Fit Father Project 30X (FF30X) program is a well-balanced, healthy eating plan specifically designed for busy fathers over 40. The program combines principals of the evidenced-based weight loss diets above with muscle-building, fat-burning workouts, and other healthy lifestyle strategies.

FF30X also offers motivational support from health and medical experts, to boost your chance of long-term weight loss success and healthy weight management.

Click the banner below to start your journey!

Diet Plans to Avoid

There are some weight loss diet plans to steer clear of because they are difficult to adhere to long-term, may cause negative health effects, or increase hunger during weight loss. Examples include:

#1 Very Low-Calorie Diets

Very low-calorie meal plans contain just 800 calories or less per day. Following a very low-calorie diet (VLCD) is an almost surefire way to lose weight rapidly – up to a 5 pounds per week.

single pea on plate best diet plan for menHowever, VLCDs are difficult to maintain long-term, and should only be followed under medical supervision.

If your doctor recommends a VLCD for medical reasons, you’ll be closely monitored.

You may have to report to a doctor as frequently as every two weeks.

Possible side effects of VLCDs include gallstones, nutrient deficiencies, fatigue, hair loss, and hunger, which is why a doctor’s supervision is crucial if you follow the diet for more than a few days.

#2 Low-Fat Diets

As mentioned above, low-fat diets aren’t as effective as originally thought. You may be hungry or feel “unsatisfied” on a low-fat diet, which lacks the satiety of higher-fat meal plans.

One 2015 review found that low-carb diets lead to significantly greater weight loss than low-fat diets, and research does NOT support low-fat diets over other diet plans.

#3 Severely Restricted Diets

Any weight loss diet that severely restricts macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, or dietary fat) likely isn’t sustainable long term. The following fad diets aren’t well balanced, severely restrict foods, nutrients, or calories, and can lead to nutrient deficiencies or health problems when followed long term:

  • soup for weight loss best diet plan for menGrapefruit diet
  • Cabbage soup diet
  • Lemonade diet
  • Cookie diet
  • Werewolf/Lunar diet
  • Five-bite diet
  • HCG diet
  • Sleeping beauty diet

Some of these diets suggest you fast, consume as little as 500 calories (or less) daily, or take sleeping pills or growth hormone injections (HCG).

Replace fad diets with healthier eating plans you can stick with long term.

How to Choose the Best Diet Plan for Men

The best diet plan for men varies by individual preference and weight or fat loss needs. If you burn more calories than you eat, you’ll likely lose weight. Choose a plan that’s sustainable long-term and promotes weight loss of about 1 – 2 pounds per week, a rate that helps you keep lost weight off for good.

If you’re a busy father over 40 seeking a diet plan for men that’s sustainable long-term, has proven success, and offers motivational support and muscle-enhancing workouts, the FF30X program is for you. It’s helped thousands of dads shed pounds, burn fat, and maintain a healthy weight for life.

To learn more, try the Fit Father Project free 1-day meal plan or free metabolism-boosting workout, or sign up for FF30X today!

Erin Coleman
Writer, The Fit Father Project

A 15-year freelance writing veteran, Erin is registered dietitian and health educator who is passionate about health, fitness and disease prevention. Her published work appears on hundreds of health and fitness websites, and she’s working on publishing her first book! Erin is a wife and mom of two beautiful children.

If you’re interested in a proven and completely laid out “done-for-you” weight loss meal plan & workout routine – designed for you as a busy man…

ff30xI’d recommend you read the program overview letter for our Fit Father 30-Day Program (FF30X).

Inside FF30X, you'll receive:

  • The simple & delicious Fit Father Meal Plan
  • The metabolism boosting Fit Father 30X Workout (under 90 min/week)
  • VIP email coaching where I'll personally walk you through the program

Read the FF30X Program overview letter here to see how our plan can help you lose weight – without the complication & restriction of normal diets.

 

*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 plan for men.