In honor of National Men’s Health Month, we asked Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist David Orozco to give us insight on men’s health and nutrition. This is a two-part series.

Part 1 of 2

NPB: As a dietitian, do you see different ways men and women prioritize nutrition?

David Orozco, MS, RDN, LD, Atlanta-based nutrition expert.

David: Yes, I believe men have distinct differences when it comes to prioritizing nutrition.  Men tend to unconsciously focus more on gender roles when it comes to eating. They seem less connected with food, but in the long run the emotional issues similar to those with female clients come up. For example, we all eat socially, yet men tend to be very competitive. Men like big bold flavors, meat and potatoes, large portions, eating faster than the next guy, and foods that enhance their manliness. Men are also straightforward about what they like and don’t like. Most of us have strong memories and strong first experiences with food as children where we learn behaviors from our parents or adults. Men tend to eat very fast and have this unconscious “auto-pilot syndrome” when eating. In many cases men may not tune into their emotional side or listen to basic physiological or psychological cues, and in fact they may view listening or paying attention to these cues as weakness. One of my goals as a registered dietitian and nutritionist is to help my male clients learn to listen to their bodies and help them view this type of listening as a strength.

NPB: Do you see differences in age groups?

David: Yes and no. It depends on the individual and what kind of childhood they’ve had, their work and life situation, and their health. Some younger men I’ve worked with in their 20’s and 30’s are “super healthy” eaters, yet I’ve worked with men in their 60’s and 70’s eating “super healthy” as well. What I find is that men tend to really take a 100 percent hardline, all-or-nothing approach to changing their diet once they suspect their health and/or youthfulness in danger.

For example, I had a 72-year-old client previously diagnosed as obese; with heart disease, hypertension and an enlarged prostate. When he came to see me he was at a healthy weight, exercising 2 to3 hours a day 5 to6 days a week, eating tons of fruit and veggies, lean protein, and incorporating healthy fats like peanuts and peanut butter into his diet.  He wanted help enhancing his diet for an ultra-triathlon. I’ve also had a 39-year-old client with severe depression and he could care less about eating healthy.  It just depends on what’s going on in someone’s life at the moment.

For more about men’s nutrition click here.

About David Orozco, MS, RD, LD: David is an Atlanta-based Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist with a Master’s in Health Science from Georgia State University. He also holds certifications as a Health Fitness Specialist from the American College of Sports Medicine, is a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, and is a Certified Quit Smart® smoking cessation counselor. As the owner of t+d wellness®, David enthusiastically equips people with the knowledge and motivation to be healthy by providing one-on-one counseling, teaching nutrition and fitness classes, and consulting various clients and organizations.