Diet Wars: Men, Women and Food
If one is to follow the social typecast, one is likely to conclude that men eat like lions and women, like birds. A typical male will favor red meat, pork, sausages, egg and starchy food, while a typical female will shy away from them. Meat, which represents virility is classified as “male food” while fruits and vegetables are considered “feminine.” Men also tend to eat more because society has given them the license to be fat while women should always be slim. Men are more likely to admit that they eat for pleasure, while women will use food for a physique that will fall within socially accepted norms on beauty and fitness.
Such an observation is true based on several studies conducted about the eating habits of men and women. Both men and women have specific reason on why they eat certain food items but women put more weight on food as a source of nutrition. Women would also regard food as a source of comfort or a method for maintaining overall health and well-being.
A research conducted by the International Food Information Foundation in the US reveals that women are indeed more discriminating than men in terms of the kinds of food they eat. The study shows that women tend to benefit from and contribute to their overall fitness.
In addition, both men and women believe that specific foods and beverages target their unique gender-specific needs. The following are some of the observations made by the study.
- 53 percent of women consume specific foods they believe will make them health while 48 percent of men believe the same.
- 42 percent of women choose certain foods that make them full or satisfied. A lower percentage of men, 27 percent choose food for the same reason. In general, men believe that volume and not the type of food is the key to satisfying their hunger.
- 41 percent of women pick food items that aid their digestive health and only 33 percent consciously make this choice.
- 34 percent limit their diet to food that will lessen the effects of whatever disease or medical condition they presently have. 27 percent of men do the same.
- 34 percent of women include food in their diet that boosts their energy or stamina. Surprisingly, only 27 percent of men who are actively engaged in sports are mindful of this.
- 34 percent of women put a premium on the food items that increase their mental performance while 27 percent of men do so.
- 33 percent of women utilize food that will prevent them from acquiring certain diseases. 25 percent of men have this level of awareness (the rest find out too late after consuming too much that they have acquired a life-style related disease).
- 30 percent of women maximize the benefits of food to improve their overall appearance while 20 percent of men are equally conscious of this benefit.
Sex and Food Choices
Based on the study, one can conclude that men are not really that health-conscious when it comes to making decisions about the food they eat. The study also shows that women tend to be more satisfied with their health status but pay more attention to their weight than men. As a result, women are more likely to make more changes in their diet than men in order to improve their health.
In a survey conducted by the International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases in Atlanta, Georgia, it was shown that men are more likely to consume meat and poultry products. Aside from being potential sources of bacteria and viruses when poorly prepared, meat increases the risk factors for acquiring lifestyle diseases. These include cardio vascular, hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes.
Women on the other hand prefer vegetables like carrots and tomatoes and fruits like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and apples. A common denominator of all these plants is that they are rich in chemicals and anti-oxidants that possess anti-aging properties and prevent certain diseases. Women also prefer dry foods such as almonds and walnuts and consume more eggs and yogurt.
While women prefer fresh meat over frozen ones, they tend to shy away from undercooked items like burgers and steaks, runny or over-easy eggs, raw oysters and cheese made from unpasteurized milk. In general, men don’t mind if their food is under cooked. This gives an insight into women’s heightened alertness of food items that are potential sources of diseases. Women are also more likely to eat raw vegetables like salads and greens and sprouts.
When it comes to snacks, men and women’s preferences vary as well. Women consider themselves healthy “snackers.” Women choose fruits, nuts and vegetables over the over the counter kind. When dining out, men would usually go for burgers and pizza. In addition, women are on the lookout for healthier options in fast food or fine-dining restaurants.
As men and women age, their eating habits are likely to change or mature as well. A separate study conducted in Japan that focused on the eating habits of older citizens showed more middle-aged men took more nutrients from food rather than women. However, women took the lion’s share in consuming vegetables and fruits. Interestingly, despite the increased risks of acquiring lifestyle-related diseases, men still consumed high amounts of alcohol compared to women who preferred tea. Men were able to consume more nutrients simply because of the sheer volume of food they eat. Women despite eating less were able to show more variety in the food they ate.