Men should keep in mind that calorie-dense products (especially those high in refined carbohydrates like sweet baked goods and sodas) can easily lead to exceeding daily calorie limits, while displacing micronutrient-rich foods like fruits and vegetables. As appetite decreases with age (due to a reduction in hunger hormones like ghrelin), nutrient-packed meals become even more important for preventing deficiencies.
Recent Diet Trends: Good or Bad for Men?
A number of alternative dietary patterns are trending today, ranging from gluten-free to vegetarian to keto. Let’s look at which of these diets are actually beneficial to men seeking a healthy lifestyle through good nutrition and which ones fall short.
Vegetarian and Mediterranean Diets
As one of the Dietary Guidelines recommended healthy eating patterns, the vegetarian diet is a trend worth embracing. Men can meet their protein needs through legumes and grains, while reaping the benefits of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals from a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and nuts. A vegetarian diet can also include dairy, which provides calcium and vitamin D (both nutrients of public health concern for Americans).
Another recommended healthy eating pattern is the Mediterranean Diet. This diet also provides an abundance of plant foods, while including some dairy and fish. Fish is an excellent source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids for men. For men adhering to a strict plant-based (i.e., vegan) diet, it’s important to take a nutrition supplement for vitamin B12, an essential nutrient not found in plants. They may also wish to supplement with calcium and vitamin D.
Current evidence supports that gluten-free diets are only important for the approximately 1% of the population affected by celiac disease. Since gluten-free eating requires eliminating fiber-rich grains like wheat, barley, and rye from the diet, men are cautioned against jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon if they don’t have an allergy or sensitivity to gluten.