Weight Loss Diet Plan for Men: Benefits of Plant Based Diets
Let’s get something clear at the outset. When we talk about a weight loss diet plan for men and say “plant-based diet”, we aren’t saying vegetarian, vegan, or advocating any form of diet that eliminates meat as a source of nutrition. But, we are talking about a weight loss diet plan for men using the proven benefits of a plant based diet.
You might be wondering, “what exactly are we talking about when we say plant-based diets then? Easy ways to lose weight? ” A fair question. When we use the term, we are talking about a diet that consists mainly of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, herbs and spices. These are supplemented with animal-based sources of protein from red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy. These are all put together to create the natural weight loss diet plan for all types of men.
The Problem With Common Knowledge
Before considering any fairly major lifestyle change like this one, the obvious question is, why would you bother? After all, the current generation between 30 and 50 have grown up with the accepted wisdom taught in schools about the food pyramid, “meat and two veg” as a staple dinner. Plus, more food choices than previous generations could have imagined.
But the problem with all of this so-called “accepted wisdom” is that it is the subject of review and revision, which has accelerated over the last few years. Consider the case of fat, once demised as the root cause of overweight and obese adults and children alike. The connection was based on a deceptively simple premise: eat fat, get fatter. That led to supermarket shelves being crammed with low-fat options.
Unfortunately to get to low-fat products and preserving flavor and shelf life, manufacturers loaded these foods with sugar, stabilizers, preservatives, and emulsifiers. By now, a plant based weight loss plan doesn’t sound too bad for men.
Science Behind the Diet
Recent scientific studies have triggered a complete rethink of the common knowledge around fat. Now it has been shown in multiple studies with thousands of patients. Certain kinds of fats, like those found in fish, avocado and nuts, are actually beneficial to long-term health and a long life. In contrast, studies are piling up at an alarming rate showing the awful side effects of sugar consumption on our health, including obesity, heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Concerns like this have culminated in policy changes towards sugar taxes and interventions at every level of the health and food system.
The same revisionist thinking is now looking more broadly at the idea of the diet as a whole, not just the single ingredient inputs.
The Weight Loss Benefits of Prioritizing Plants
There are numerous documented benefits of adopting a plant-based diet approach as defined above. But the most obvious is also the best. By building up your diet with more unrefined, unprocessed plants and grains, you are naturally leaving less room for things like ready-meals that have very limited health benefits. The common sense of eating more “real” food and less processed is not in doubt. This real food is the base of any weight loss diet plan for men.
The other thing to note is that “diet” in this sense doesn’t mean an eight-week crash diet or short-term plan. It means a long-term change in how you shop, prepare and store food, leading to a change in how you eat.
Having said that, the health benefits would have to be fairly compelling to change how a person eats. And they are.
A meta-review is a fancy word for a study that reviews a range of other studies. Researchers do this to check a wide range of data to find trends that might not have been spotted before. A study in 2006 did just this with plant-based diets.
It turns out that independent of any exercise, a plant-based diet will help the person on it lose about 0.5kg a week. It’s also likely that these results would be even better in men, because it has been shown that females, for various reasons, lose weight less quickly than males. That same review also showed that diets skewed towards plants caused more calories to be burned after meals, as fewer nutrients were stored away as fat.
At an evolutionary level, that makes perfect sense, as our ancestors weren’t accustomed to eating meat every day simply because it was so difficult to hunt. As a result, when nutrient dense and calorie-heavy meat was occasionally consumed, we evolved to store much of the energy present for a later time when it was needed. Of course, the physical demands of roaming the African or European plains are much different to our current lifestyles, but our bodies still treat meat in the same way by storing much of the energy for later.
In terms of statistics, vegetarian men are on average 7.6kg lighter than their meat-eating counterparts. While a low meat diet (as we are discussing), rather than no meat diet would likely have a less stark difference, the statistic is still informative.
Better Nutrient Absorption
Vitamins and nutrients are essential for our bodies to do pretty much everything, from growing muscle to building athletic endurance or thinking critically for our jobs. As a result of switching to a plant-dominant diet, research has shown that by default, we consume more nutrients as our food becomes more diverse.
Specifically, the nutrients magnesium, potassium, thiamine, and folate, as well as a host of vitamins, are more common in vegetarians than those who eat few vegetables and prioritize meat as their main energy source.
Reduced Risk of Diabetes
This is a big one. Diabetes is known as a western lifestyle disease by many, and with good reason. Rates of type 2 diabetes have skyrocketed in the western world in the last few decades, fueled by a shift towards energy dense, low nutrient, processed food that is high in simple sugars and carbohydrates.
The negative health effects of diabetes are horrendous. Heart disease, nerve damage limiting the ability to move freely, eyesight loss, amputation of toes and limbs, Alzheimer’s disease, and kidney damage have all been linked to diabetes. Diabetes is a progressive disease that steadily worse over time, and modern medicine has no cure.
Studies have shown that there is a single change that can be made to reduce the risk of developing diabetes by 50%. You guessed it. It’s the plant-based diet. In fact, one piece of research that studied over 60,000 people found that only 2.6% of vegetarians had diabetes, compared with 7.6% of non-vegetarians.
Lower Blood Pressure
High stress leading to high blood pressure has meant that drugs to reduce this condition are among the most commonly prescribed in the world. But research into the Japanese diet which is plant-based with protein coming mainly from fish has shown that Japanese have a consistently lower level of blood pressure than those from western nations.
Debunking the Myths
Of course, there are plenty of reasons why people of all ages are reluctant to switch their diets away from steak, pies and kebabs. However, plant-based diets, as opposed to vegetarian or vegan diets, don’t require any of these things to be put on the “banned” list. Instead, they just advocate adding more plants and grains around these things to ensure that your plate is more well-rounded.
We cover some of the other reasons that people tend to avoid plant-heavy diets below.
“I won’t get enough protein” – not true actually. Even full-on vegetarians get enough protein according to national guidelines in most developed nations. Protein is not just found in animal sources. For example, brown rice, lentils, beans and hummus are all sources of high-quality protein. In addition, a lower-meat, as opposed to a no meat diet, significantly addresses this concern.
“I’ll be iron deficient” – while plants do contain iron, our bodies don’t process it as well as iron from meat. A lack of iron is called anemia and can be associated with tiredness and fatigue. However, iron is present in spinach, beans, oatmeal and cashews. Anemia in fully vegetarian diets is uncommon, and even rarer in a plant-based diet that allows for some meat.
“I tried it once, and I felt terrible” – this one is true for any dietary change. We are designed to tolerate only minor changes to our major food sources because our bodies get good at processing and absorbing what we eat regularly. That’s why when we travel overseas, there can be a few days of discomfort as a result of the new foods we are eating.
As any coffee drinker or chocolate enthusiast will tell you, trying to give either of these things up can cause brain fog, tiredness, irritability and digestive discomfort. The same is true of any diet change, including a switch to a more plant-heavy, less meat-heavy diet. Typically these symptoms resolve after four to five days, so push through for the long-term benefits.
The Final Word
The science behind moving away from a diet that is based around meat and towards one that prioritizes plants, nuts, legumes and grains is piling up very quickly. The best weight loss diet plan for men doesn’t require a drastic lifestyle change or banning certain foods forever to deliver life-altering results.
A vegetarian dietary pattern as a nutrient-dense approach to weight management: an analysis of the national health and nutrition examination survey 1999-2004.
Vegetarian diets and weight status.
Berkow SE, Barnard N
Meat consumption is associated with obesity and central obesity among US adults.
Vegetarian diets and childhood obesity prevention.
Sabaté J, Wien M
Am J Clin Nutr. 2010
Meats, processed meats, obesity, weight gain and occurrence of diabetes among adults: findings from Adventist Health Studies.