* The outcomes of this diet depend on the person's individual predispositions and cannot be guaranteed in every person. We advise you to consult your doctor before you start a diet programme.
Men lose weight more easily than women. But how come their excess weight poses a bigger risk?
It’s no April fool’s joke, I’m afraid. It’s a fact. “I know that women won’t be very pleased to hear this, but it is true that losing weight is easier for men than women,” says a dietician Martina Dvořáková, thus confirming this glaring injustice. However, women can take it in their stride. You see, it is the men who suffer harsher consequences of being overweight or obese. Why should men be more watchful of any extra kilos compared to women? And what are the differences in slimming diets for men and women? Read on and find out.
Why do men lose weight more easily than women?
You’ve all been there – you make a resolution to lose weight and hope for (almost) instant results. However, the slimming process is affected by many factors – age, genetics, previous diet and, as already mentioned, gender. How do men and women differ when it comes to losing weight and why is it easier for men? The main culprit is the difference in body composition. Whilst the male body has more muscle mass, the female body is higher in fat mass. This is to ensure the correct functioning of the female hormone system. Specifically, it is the menstrual cycle and therefore reproduction which require a certain amount of fat tissue to function properly. “Because of the differences in body composition, there are also differences in metabolism between men and women. Generally speaking, men’s default position is to burn the ingested calories more quickly than women because they have more muscle mass in which the calories can get burnt,” explains Martina Dvořáková.
Excess weight carries a greater risk for men
The difference in fat percentage, however, is not the only difference between male and female bodies. Their hormones are different too. Whilst male testosterone is responsible for fat being deposited in the abdomen, the effect of female testosterone and progesterone is a higher fat storage in the hips, thighs and buttocks. This means that obesity in women doesn’t pose such a health risk compared to obesity in men. The reason is that the fat that tends to get stored around the abdomen and internal organs in men has a detrimental effect on their function. This then leads to an increased likelihood of cardiovascular disease, including heart attack. That’s why the men who notice their weight slowly creeping up should be extra vigilant.
Mission: LOSE WEIGHT! One goal, two different approaches
Although it is easier for men to lose weight than it is for women, a studies revealed a higher incidence of excess weight and obesity in men. Why is that? “I would say that this might be due to the fact that men don’t place as much emphasis on their physical appearance as women do. In other words, they don’t want to be on a restricted regime all their life, they have a stronger desire for indulgence and they are just not prepared to lose sleep over a few extra kilos,” muses Martina Dvořáková. However, once the excess weight becomes a risk to men’s health, we can observe an entirely different behaviour. This is usually after they have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, high cholesterol or high blood sugar levels and their GP recommends shedding the extra weight. “When a man decides to lose weight, he takes his decision much more seriously than a woman. He is more consistent and persevering,” adds Martina who works with both male and female clients, including several celebrities. Men don’t set out to lose weight just to like their image in the mirror. That’s our speciality. Also, they don’t try all sorts of different diets. In fact, you would find very few perpetual dieters among men. Once they set out on a slimming journey, they really go for it. In any case, people must find the right motivation, otherwise no weight-loss journey will ever reach its desired destination.
TIP! Have you tapped into the right motivation to lose weight, but are you a bit short on willpower?
Learn how to train it with the help of our previous article.
Slimming diets for men and women. What are the differences?
With the differences in body composition, should there also be different slimming diets for men and women? If you decide to switch to a normal healthy diet free from unhealthy types of food (fried foods, sweets, sweetened drinks, processed food etc.), then it is your individual basal metabolic rate that is the most important factor. You can have it checked by an experienced dietician, using a bioimpedance machine (e.g. InBody or Tanita) or you can work out its estimate value using one of the available formulas (e.g. Harris-Benedict Equation). “The basal metabolic rate determines the amount of nutrients that the body needs in order to function properly. However, there are also other factors that we need to take into account, such as the person’s height, weight, age and the level of their physical activity. Clearly, the higher the energy output, the higher the input must be,” explains Martina. It then makes sense that when following this type of diet, men should eat more than women. However, the composition of the diet can remain more or less the same.
A protein diet works differently. To kick start ketosis, it is essential to reduce the carbohydrate intake. You won’t have to bother with the intricacies of daily calorie counting as your body will be getting energy from its own fat reserves once in ketosis. That’s why the diet for men and women can initially be very similar. However, if a man is physically active, either because of a physically demanding job or regular exercise, he can top up his diet with an extra protein meal a day in order to protect his muscle mass and to make sure the weight loss is only due to losing fat.
The only slight difference when it comes to the protein diet in men and women is the amount of carbohydrates they need to cut down to facilitate the state of ketosis. At the beginning of the diet, women should keep their daily carbohydrate intake under 30g, while men can usually get away with a 50g threshold. For this reason, men can enjoy more “sweet options” even when following a diet plan – protein bars, protein mash, protein croissants or tomato soup. However, they need to make sure that they have only one of these meals in one day.
And what about normal healthy post-diet eating? Are there any differences?
Even in this case, the composition of a balanced diet can be the same for men and women. Or are you telling me that you are prepared to devise separate menus for you and your partner? Again, the only difference is in the amount of food. Men can tuck into slightly larger portions because their basal metabolic rate (i.e. the amount of energy needed for a good functioning of the body) is most likely to be higher.
Different gender, different type of exercise?
Apart from diets and healthy eating, a healthy lifestyle would never be complete without regular exercise. Are there actually any differences in the forms of physical activity for women and men? Are some sports activities more suitable for women and other way round?
According to a dietician Martina Dvořáková, the choice of a suitable sport is very individual. She has come across women who love lifting 100-kilo weights, as well as men who enjoy pilates and yoga. There is only one conclusion – you should find such an activity that will make you happy and with which you will stick. Ideally, the best way is to combine several different types of exercise so that your body keeps getting stimulated and you don’t end up in a rut.
High time to put your trainers on and stretch a bit, don’t you think?
Author: Nikola Nevečeřalová
Photos: Depositphotos, KetoDiet