The Best Diet Plan For Men [A Guy’s Guide To Proper Nutrition After 40]

Written by: Erin Coleman,

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

Written by: Erin Coleman,

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

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 weight off for good.

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.

We'll show you how to build the best diet plan for men that works for YOU!

In this article, you'll learn about:

    • What truly makes up the best diet plan for men.
    • The truth about many popular diet plans, including paleo, keto, vegetarian/vegan, low-carb, and more.
    • Which diet plans you should ALWAYS avoid.
    • And more!

Welcome to The Fit Father Project – Your New Nutrition and Workout Resource!

At the Fit Father Project, we specifically help busy men over 40 get back in shape by offering free information and resources on our website, backed up with our Fit Father 30X (FF30X) Program.

This article will teach you everything you need to know about the best diet plan for men, but we're here to help you make a whole slew of healthy and sustainable lifestyle changes that will last.

Everything we do here at the Fit Father Project aims to simplify eating and exercise for you so you can get in great shape and stay strong and healthy for your family — without any unnecessary complications.

Sound good? Good. Let's dive in!

The Key Components of the Best Diet Plan for Men

When choosing the best diet plan for men, make sure it includes these key components:

It's Loaded with Vegetables

Effective diet plans for men are loaded with fruits and vegetables – especially non-starchy veggies like leafy greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, and bell peppers.

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.

Testosterone boosting foods - Dark green vegetables

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.

It's Slightly Lower in Calories

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

However, 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 1,500-1,800 calories a day, but individual needs vary based on your size, body composition, and activity level.

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:

  • Fruitsbalanced plate how many carbs should a man eat to lose weight
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Beans and other legumes
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Protein foods like poultry, fish, seafood, and tofu
  • Low-fat dairy foods or plant milk
  • 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.

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:

  • Hunger
  • 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 that prevents hunger and nutrient deficiencies, and keeps energy levels high all throughout the day.

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.

Studies 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 contain 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 instead of carbohydrates — a process known as ketosis.

1 day meal plan

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...

A Look at Popular Diets and How To Find the Right One For You

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.

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 principles 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.

Paleo Diets

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

A 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 that 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.

Mediterranean-Style Diets

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

This healthy diet is rich in fish, olive oil, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and herbs.

Mediterranean food diet plans for men

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.

Vegetarian Diets

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

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

In this three-part video series, Dr. A reveals THE TRUTH about carnivore and vegan diets!

Low-Carb Diets

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

Low-carb diets replace added sugars, refined grains (white bread, pasta, and white rice), potatoes, and other carb-rich foods with non-starchy vegetables, nuts, seeds, protein foods, and heart-healthy fats.

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

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

Ketogenic Diets

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

Ketogenic 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.

Part 2 of Dr. A's rant – and it's all about vegan and plant-based diets.

Raw Food Diet

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

Foods included in the raw food diet are raw fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, soaked legumes or grains, dried meats, nut milk, nut butter, 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 that you’re eating raw foods, but because the diet is almost entirely plant-based, is rich in fiber, and eliminates processed foods.

Volumetrics Diet

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

The volumetrics diet is a reduced-calorie eating plan that focuses on foods with low-energy-density and high fiber and water content, such as vegetables and fruits.

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

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


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

The 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.

USDA Reduced-Calorie Diets

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans provide well-balanced, healthy meal plans at different calorie allotments — some of which work well for weight loss in men.

For example, a 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 milk, and 5 teaspoons of oils daily.

Part 3 of Dr. A's rant – and it's all about healing the gut and choosing the best foods.

Diet Plans to Avoid

Here are some weight loss diet plans to avoid because they are difficult to adhere to long-term, may cause negative health effects, or increase hunger during weight loss.

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 5 pounds per week.

However, 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, so a doctor’s supervision is crucial if you follow the diet for more than a few days.

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 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.

Severely Restricted Diets

Any weight loss diet that severely restricts macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, or dietary fat) likely isn’t sustainable in the 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:

  • Grapefruit 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!

Here’s a FREE Meal Plan & Workout For Busy Men 40+

We’ll show you exactly what to eat & how to exercise to reignite your metabolism in your 40’s, 50’s & 60’s.

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

Writer, 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.

Here’s How Busy Fathers Over 40 Are Finally Burning Stubborn Belly Fat & Getting Healthy Without Restrictive Diets or Time-Consuming Workouts

This proven "Fit Father Program" has helped 38,000 busy men 40+ lose weight, rebuild muscle, and finally keep the weight off.

If you're frustrated with stubborn belly fat, failed diets, and time-consuming workouts, this is the answer you’ve been looking for…

Join 38,000 guys in over 108 countries that are using Fit Father Project to lose weight. You get everything you need to succeed – including:
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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 plan for men.

Written by: Erin Coleman,

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

Fit Father Project Fact-Checking Standards

Our Fit Father Project Team’s deepest commitment is to helping you live healthier for both yourself and your family. And when it comes to online content, integrity and trust is everything. That’s why our Fit Father Project staff-writers are all trained professionals in the field of health and wellness (registered dieticians, licensed personal trainers, and licensed physicians) – see the full team here. We rigorously run all of our articles through a rigorous editorial process to ensure the accuracy, simplicity, and utility of the information. And we aren’t just a team of “academics” sitting in an ivory tower. We are real people – with jobs, responsibilities, and families – working hard in the trenches and testing our tips & methods out to make sure you can stay healthy for family.

Here is what you can expect from us on our Fit Father Blog and YouTube channel:

  1. All of our content is written and reviewed by licensed health professionals (dieticians, personal trainers, doctors).
  2. In nearly all of our articles, we link to published research studies from the most respected peer-reviewed medical & health journals.
  3. We include research-based videos to accompany our articles to make it easier for you to consume our content, put it into action, and see results.
  4. Inside our articles & videos, we do promote our free meal plans, workouts, and/or paid programs, because we know they have the potential to change your life.
  5. We openly take feedback here on our contact page. We welcome your content suggestions… and even feedback on grammar (we’d like to thing that we’re pretty OK at spelling and “stuff”).
  6. Above all, we are a community of likeminded men and women committed to living healthier. We do not advocate any health advice that we wouldn’t personally implement with our families. Because as far as we’re concerned, you’re our family too.

Thanks for checking out the blog. We can’t wait to support you toward greater health, energy, and vitality. – The Fit Father Project Team


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