From the age of 30, German men are growing rapidly. It doesn’t look good and is a health hazard. Nevertheless, the stronger sex has difficulties with weight loss programs. FOCUS Online explains why this is so and which diet works best for men.
Surveys by the Federal Statistical Office show that Germany’s men are getting fatter year after year: If the body mass index is used as a benchmark, 62 percent of men are currently overweight (BMI over 25) and 18 percent are obese (BMI over 30) . And while only a third of the 20 to 25 year olds are overweight, the proportion among the over 50 year olds rises to more than 70 percent. Among women, 43 percent carry too many pounds around – but the proportion of people who are overweight shrinks slightly every year.
Visceral belly fat is a health risk
But while many of the overweight women have the word “lose weight” at least in the back of their minds, the term “diet” bounces off most men. Somehow, around 30, they gradually lose their firm body, but they feel comfortable with their figure, which they do not find too fat at all. Men seem to be more tolerant of their paunch than women of their love handles.
This has nothing to do with reason, because it is now known that so-called visceral belly fat in particular poses a health risk. The metabolically active tissue releases inflammatory substances and increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and erectile dysfunction.
The traditional image of the man promotes obesity
Papa gets the biggest piece of meat because a man has to eat properly – this age-old belief persists in Germany. And so men eat an average of 1.1 kilograms of meat every week. That is twice as much as for women and twice as much as recommended for a healthy diet. In addition, there are plenty of carbohydrates in the form of pasta, potatoes or white bread, sausage, butter and cheese – and the plates are often scooped up on the “all-you-can-eat” principle.
Many men get fat because they eat and drink too much of the wrong things, for example six times as much beer as women. And they stay fat because it is very difficult to change established eating habits.
Men need a lot of motivation to diet
Doctors and nutritionists find time and again that men rarely lose weight because they find themselves too fat. It almost always takes an external spark for the average man to change something in his lifestyle, for example when the doctor diagnoses diabetes or a heart problem, or when a relationship breaks up.
This was also the result of an evaluation of two major diet programs by the British health authority NHS. And there were even more men-specific issues on the subjectLose weight:
- Only ten percent of men had received a referral from their doctor for the programs.
- But: Once men start with such a measure, they develop ambition to lose weight and get out less often than women.
- Men are more likely to respond to programs that avoid the word “diet” and place great emphasis on exercise.
Proper diet and exercise
Weight loss results mainly from diet changes. However, if men also expand their muscle cushion in the process, the effect is increased because of the high energy requirements of the muscles. Men should exercise all muscle groups in the body and not just squint at the fast-growing biceps.
A sporting program that includes a mix of strength and endurance is often better accepted by men than women. Sport should be fun in any case, because after actively losing weight, exercise can stabilize the desired weight – without the man having to constantly watch the calories.
What men should eat for weight loss is no different from a diet for women:
1. less red / fatty meat, sausage and animal fat
2. more vegetables
3. less white flour and sugar (carbohydrates)
4. more white / lean meat, tofu, or legumes (protein)
5. no alcohol
Intermittent fasting – as invented for men
Intermittent fasting is a suitable diet method for those who like it simple and uncomplicated. With the simple principle, there are time windows for food intake, which alternate with fasting episodes. The fat metabolism is activated, excess pounds can melt – especially if you keep an eye on the calories.
- The popular “16: 8” method is suitable as a permanent nutritional principle: During the day, people eat in an 8-hour window, two to three meals without snacks in between. The nocturnal eating break is extended to 16 hours – ideal for men who do not like breakfast.
- The “5: 2” interval fasting allows you to eat normally on five days, then there are a maximum of 500 calories on two days.
- The “1: 1” method is considered to be the most difficult to stick to: alternately eat one day and one fast.
For men (and women), the combination of two protein shakes and a normal meal a day is a good start to losing weight. US presenter and comedian Jimmy Kimmel lost over twelve kilos before he switched to intermittent fasting “5: 2”.
The man’s body is the best weapon against obesity
Once men have decided to lose weight, they enjoy a great advantage over women. Men are taller, heavier and have more muscles – as a result, their bodies burn more energy even when they are resting.
If they also save calories, they lose more weight and lose weight faster than women. This was shown by a study with 2000 male and female participants who had exactly the same general conditions. After eight weeks, the men saw 16 percent more weight loss. Their bodies cling less to fat deposits, which in women are a stubborn reservoir for pregnancy and breastfeeding.