Women are the major consumers for weight loss programs and diets. Men tend to focus more on exercise. But either topic is, and should be, popular with both sexes. Men, too, need to concern themselves with proper diet and nutrition as part of a rounded program of weight loss and health.
Particularly with the onset of middle age, diet becomes a greater concern for men. Calorie needs are typically highest in the mid-20s and taper off about 2-4% with every passing decade. For an average-sized male (say, 5 ft 9 inches and 170 lbs), the average number of appropriate calories per day, 2500, reduces to 2200-2350.
One of the reasons for the change is an average reduction in muscle mass. It takes a lot of calories to continue to feed blood to muscles, to perform cellular repair and maintain internal body temperature among other physiological tasks. As men age, they tend to have less muscle mass, thus requiring fewer calories.
But the other major reason is a shift in basal metabolism. That’s the ‘base’ or ‘natural’ rate at which your body burns calories for all its functions, even at rest. That amounts to about 70 calories per hour for most men, and constitutes about 65% of the daily calories needed. Hormonal and other natural changes with age reduce that basal rate.
The thyroid, which participates in regulation, and other glands tends to be less active and less efficient as we age. The adrenal gland is another example. Glandular reduction is one of the internal factors that actually defines biological aging, in fact.
As a result, taking in the same number of calories in mid-life that were consumed during earlier decades will result in the excess being stored in adipose tissue, in other words you’ll gain body fat. For most men, that body fat is considered unsightly, and beyond a certain level has definite health risks.
Though it’s not the only number you should look at, a BMI (Body Mass Index = weight/height squared) > 30 should be a concern for nearly anyone. A BMI over 40 is generally considered obese. Waist circumference – over 35 inches – for the average male is an indicator, with over 40 inches considered obese for most.
Whatever you eat – while it does matter for nutritional and general health reasons – taking in more calories than are consumed leads to the excess being stored as fat. That leads to weight gain. Reducing the daily intake by as little as 50-100 calories per day for every decade past age 29 can go a long way toward eliminating that problem.
Alternatively, and a good thing for other reasons, burning an extra 50-100 calories will help reduce solve that problem and lead to better overall health. An extra mile per day walking is enough to accomplish that.
Reduce calories, stay active and you can look and feel fit for a lifetime.