A third of men said they had lied to family, friends and loved ones about being on a diet, with some going to extreme measures, including feigning sickness, to cover up the truth behind their weight loss.
While half of male respondents admitted they had tried at least four different slimming options in the past.
The main reason men gave for lying was the fear of being ridiculed by family and friends as many still considered dieting as a female-only pursuit and very unmasculine. Others considered dieting as a sign of weakness.
Researchers for Atkins, the diet and lifestyle experts, who conducted the study of 1,654 men across the UK, believe this reluctance to be open and honest about their weight loss battles is leading to the rise of the secret male slimmer.
Atkins nutritionist Linda O’Byrne said: “Nine out of ten men over 25 told us they have been on a diet at some stage in their lives; this shatters any myths that real men don’t diet, in fact the opposite is true.
“Our advice to dieters is to be open and honest and focus on eating and drinking healthily by cutting down on sugar and refined carb intake and getting some exercise. This, along with some patience, is the key to weight loss, whether you’re a man or a woman.
“Cutting calories too low will increase cravings, as will eating a ‘low fat’ diet as good fats are needed for satiety. Look to lean protein, vegetables, good fats and low sugar snacks; something that can be sustained and become part of a lifestyle and routine.”
Experts also discovered that men don’t come in all shapes and sizes - in fact they believe the male body has four distinct forms.
While women are identified as pear or apple-shaped, it is now thought that men’s bodies fall into one of the four following categories - triangle, rectangle, oval or linear.
It’s good news if you are a triangle – like football star David Beckham - with broad athletic shoulders and a trim waist. But bad news if you are an oval with the extra weight centred around the belly, like presenter James Corden, which can lead to heart disease, stroke or diabetes.
Researchers for Atkins, the diet and lifestyle experts, who conducted the study, believe the majority of men are rectangle shaped, thicker in the waist area without the tapering affect enjoyed by those who are triangle. Britain’s Got Talent judge and comic Michael McIntyre is a classic example of a rectangle-shaped man.
The survey revealed the fourth distinct shape was linear, where men possess narrow shoulders, waist and hips and tend to have a high metabolism and find it harder to gain weight, especially muscle mass. England footballer Peter Crouch is a classic liner shape.
Atkins nutritionist Linda O’Byrne said: “Women have for many years been categorised by shape but nothing similar had been applied to men. So we set out to discover a similar trait in men and when we analysed the dimensions of our survey respondents we were able to easily identify four distinct shapes that kept reoccurring.
“Each different shape category will have different needs when it comes to dieting, we don’t believe in a one size fits all diet programme and the results of our research will help us enormously going forward.”
Expert Linda O’Byrne has drawn up a guide for each body shape which will enable men to either maintain their healthy physique if they are a triangle, or lose it if they are oval.
Triangle – David Beckham
The ideal body shape for men because it tends to be leaner with a higher percentage of muscle mass. The triangle shape comes from broad shoulders which taper to a slim waist; thereby not holding onto fat in any particular area.
Maintenance is the key here. Eat regular meals & snacks all day to keep the metabolic fire burning. Cut out the junk and getting plenty of lean protein, healthy fat and complex carbs in the form of vegetables, whole grains and legumes.
Oval – James Corden
This is the unhealthiest male shape because ovals tend to carry their weight around their midsection, which is the worst place as belly fat has been linked to a higher incidence of various age-related diseases; such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
Regular small meals/snacks all day to up regulate the metabolism so the oval shape can lose excess bodyfat. Keep carbs to a minimum and concentrate on foods with a high protein/healthy fat content.
Regular exercise incorporating both weight training, to increase muscle mass and cardio, to burn calories and improve heart health. Avoid foods high in saturated fats, especially junk & processed foods that have trans-fats. Stick to lean cuts of meat and eat lots of poultry and fish as a protein source.
Rectangle – Michael McIntyre
This body shape may or may not be overweight. Those who measure up in this category find that being rectangle-shaped means they are thicker in the waist area, giving an illusion of a straight bodyline as they don’t taper in like the triangle-shaped male.
If overweight then follow guidelines for Oval shape to reduce overall bodyfat level. Incorporate weight to build lean muscle, especially in the shoulder area to expand shoulder width to help create more of a ‘triangle’
When adequate body fat level is attained, be careful to watch for creeping weight gain. This shape must keep their eye on their diet as they gain weight fairly easily.
Linear – Peter Crouch
Men who are line-shaped are thinner with narrow shoulders, waist and hips and tend to have a high metabolism so they find it harder to gain weight, especially muscle mass.
Eating regularly is important, including plenty of healthy fat, complex carbs which are slow burning and ensure you include protein in every meal & snack.
Post workout meals are very important as this type has a high metabolism so provide plenty of amino acids (protein) and a combination of slow burning and fast burning carbs to increase uptake of nutrients into muscles.
Include protein based snacks prior to bedtime to prevent catabolism of muscle during the night.
To view the four phases and guidance on the new ‘Atkins Nutritional Approach’ and products visit www.atkins.com.
Media Contacts: For more information, images or samples please contact Kate Greville or Lizzie Mitchell on 0161 817 6600 or email kate.greville@