Men Today

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Men's diet plans not so different from women's

Though many diet plans are geared to women, a fair share of men are interested in shedding pounds, too. Men may not discuss their weight gain woes around the water cooler at work, but that doesn't mean they aren't just as concerned about weight gain as women.

In recognition of the disparity between male and female weight loss efforts, weight loss experts have developed different programs to help men realize their weight loss goals. Instead of promoting salads and soups, these diets are advertising that meat and beer are acceptable while touting the benefit of lifting weights over pilates classes. But that doesn't mean these new plans are any more successful than more traditional diet and exercise regimens.

The foundation of any successful diet is cutting calories. Dieting is also successful when a person has the will power to stay on course. In addition, nutritionists often cite some tried and true methods to diet that men can follow as they attempt to lose weight.

* Consume lean proteins with every meal. Meat, egg whites, fish, legumes, and nuts are some of the lean proteins men can rely on. Proteins help you to feel fuller longer, which can prevent you from overeating.

* Eat throughout the day. Aim to eat several small meals throughout the day to keep your body working and your metabolism high. Six to eight small meals per day will have you eating all day long, so you won't have to worry about being hungry. But choose lean proteins, vegetables and fruits over fatty snacks.

* Fill up on fruits and vegetables. When arranging your plate, devote half of the dish to fruits or vegetables and the remaining half to protein and a whole-grain. Using a smaller dish will trick the brain into thinking you ate more, which can prevent overeating and keep your portions in check.

* Drink only zero-calorie beverages. Many people fail to realize just how many calories their favorite beverages contain. Drinking too many high-calorie beverages can negate the benefit of smart eating. Water, diet soft drinks and unsweetened tea or coffee should be the beverages that you stick to on a regular basis. A study by the Atlanta-based Calorie Control Council, a group that represents makers of low-calorie and reduced-fat food and beverages, found that 39 percent of men were regular buyers of diet drinks in 1994. By 2004, the number had risen to 53 percent, as there's much less of a stigma attached to drinking diet soda.

* Be aware of medications. If you take medications, pay attention to the side effects. Some pills can contribute to weight gain. Switching to another medication may help.

Although there are many diets geared to men, much of the same rules apply for men as women when it comes to shedding pounds. Eating the right foods in moderation is the key to any successful diet.