Living Well

Nutritional Pitfalls for Men

Last updated: Jun 27, 2016

Healthy food choices are central to a man’s well-being.

Walk into your average summer barbecue and what do you see? Hamburgers, steak and ribs, overstuffed subs, and a cooler full of beer.

Many of the foods that men love best are also the worst for them because they are high-fat and high-calorie foods.  Three common nutritional pitfalls for men include:

  • Fatty cuts of meat
  • Smoked foods
  • Alcohol

“The moderately active adult male requires about 2,600 calories a day,” says Susan Canonico, RD, of Summit Medical Group’s Nutrition Services Program.  “You can easily eat half of that in a single meal with a large cheeseburger, fries and a beer.”

Macho Meat

Men across cultures see meat as a “masculine” while viewing food and vegetables and salads as “feminine” food choices. (1) This is true even as they also realize that red meat is linked to heart attacks, vascular disease, and the weight gain that can cause diabetes. 

The good news is that men don’t have to give up a steak for a salad.  There are leaner cuts of meat that provide the beef men crave without the harmful fat. Lean and extra lean cuts of meat include:

  • Eye of round roast or steak
  • Sirloin tip side steak
  • Top round roast and steak
  • Bottom round roast and steak
  • Top sirloin steak

Smoked Foods

Sausage, pastrami, and deli-meats like ham are all man-bait, but are also high in fat and salt.

Having a healthy heart starts with good dietary choices.  Eat smoked foods in small amounts or using them to flavor food, such as a pasta sauce, rather than being the main meal.

“You don’t have to give up the foods you love,” says Canonico. “Just make them a part of a dish instead of the whole dish.  Instead of eating a sub with a half-pound of ham, eat a large salad with some sliced up low-salt ham on top, or fill your sandwich will fresh greens, tomatoes and other vegetables.”

The high sodium content in smoked food, and all processed foods, can lead to high blood pressure. One of the best ways to combat this is to focus on eating more fruits and vegetables as well as lowering salt. 

By eating fewer processed foods and powering their bodies with fruits and vegetables, patients can lower their blood pressure by about five points on average.

Beer Belly Blues

American men drink nearly 80 percent of all beer consumed in the United States, while women tend to prefer wine. (3)  All alcohol can cause weight gain.  One of the downsides of drinking beer (about 150 calories a serving) is that most men will drink several.

  • There is a direct relationship between alcohol and belly fat.
  • When someone drinks, the liver burns alcohol instead of fat.
  • Alcohol consumption can both slow metabolism and increase appetite.

Too much beer drinking can be a stepping stone toward obesity. Instead of heading for the cold beer at a summer party, start out with a seltzer with lime or a zero-calorie soda, as recommended by Summit Medical Group nutritionists.

Preventative health screenings, including screenings for high cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar are a cornerstone of Summit Medical Group’s Live Well Program.  We are eager to empower you to take control of your health and help prevent health problems before they start.

Sources:

1. National Institutes of Health, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15702587

2. Mayo Clinic., http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/cuts-of-beef/art-20043833

3. Summit Medical Group podcast: “Pressure Up, Pressure Down,” http://www.summitmedicalgroup.com/doctor/elunenfeld/

4.Gallup Poll,  http://www.gallup.com/poll/174074/beer-americans-adult-beverage-choice-year.aspx?g_source=Drink%20beer&g_medium=search&g_campaign

5. Susan Canonico, RD

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