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Published on July 22, 2014

Food Mistakes Men Make

July 22, 2014

man eating burger and friesWomen often profess that fries go straight to their thighs—but many men tend to chow down without much thought for the consequences. These common food mistakes could lead to weight gain.

Portion distortion. Growing up, boys are often expected and even encouraged to have a healthy appetite, so men may think of “man-size” meals as the norm. Friendly competition may also influence men’s portion sizes. For example, when eating out with a group, a man may choose a big steak to impress the other guys rather than to satisfy his appetite. Consuming more calories than needed packs on pounds.

Not counting calories in beverages. Men may chug a sports drink or juice because it is “healthy,” without noticing how much sugar either contains. Men also tend to overlook the calories in beer, which can have as many calories per can as a doughnut—and thus, the beer belly is born. Not only do liquid calories add up fast, men can benefit most by cutting them out. A study recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that cutting calories from high-carb drinks resulted in significantly more weight loss than cutting the same amount of calories from solid foods.

Believing they will work it off. Many men think that if they exercise, they don’t need to pay attention to what they eat. But exercise alone is not enough for men to maintain a healthy weight, especially as they grow older and metabolism slows. It is also important to make smart food choices and to balance caloric intake with physical activity at any age.

Emotional eating. Women are more likely to eat in response to their feelings, but men do it, too. Unlike women, however, emotional men tend to crave meat and pizza more than sweets. Men are also more likely than women to indulge in their favorite comfort foods for pleasure and other positive emotional reasons, and men tend to feel less guilt about overindulging. For both genders, however, emotional hunger feels the same—sudden, intense pangs that seemingly cannot wait and can only be satisfied by consuming a specific food. Recognizing the difference between emotional triggers and real hunger is the first step in stopping emotional eating—replacing high-calorie comfort foods with healthy alternatives is next.

Protein: It’s What’s for Breakfast

On average, men need to consume a minimum of 56 grams of protein per day, some 10 grams more than women, and may need more depending on age and activity level. Endurance athletes should consume 0.55 to 0.9 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day, while men who perform strength-training exercises should consume 0.64 to 0.82 grams of protein per pound of body weight, which helps build muscle bulk. Men older than age 40 may also want to add protein to their diets to help retain muscle mass lost as they age.

Eating protein for breakfast not only helps meet the daily protein requirements, but also provides a steady source of energy and helps the stomach feel full until lunchtime.

Meat is a great source of protein, but meats high in saturated fat promote weight gain, so stick to lean cuts. When choosing high-protein foods, don’t rely on instinct—check the nutrition data. For example, a four-ounce serving of cooked chicken breast contains 36 grams of protein, while an equal portion of beef tenderloin steak has 29 grams—and 125 more calories. Sensible protein-packed breakfast choices include peanut butter (four grams per tablespoon), eggs (six grams each), low-fat Greek yogurt (17 grams per container) and cottage cheese (25 grams per cup).

Discuss your eating habits with a certified, KishHealth System dietitian. Visit www.kishnutrition.org for more information.

 

Sources: foodnavigator-usa.com, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20138944, webmd.com/emotional, men.webmd.com, intechopen.com, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16567150, sfgate.com, menshealth.comncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19339405, eatright.org, win.niddk.nih.gov, ndb.nal.usda.gov/chickenndb.nal.usda.gov/steak, foodpsychology.cornell.edu

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