Genders Are Very Different – Our Diets Should Be Different As Well

July 24, 2017

Men may not be from Mars nor women from Venus, but there are still differences between men and women that should be considered.

For one thing, there is a 3 percent difference in the DNA between men and women. The variation is centered around the sex chromosomes, with women having XX sex chromosomes and men with XY chromosomes. It is from this divergent point which stems men’s and women’s nutritional difference.

Sex Chromosomes and Body Fat

As women’s bodies are biologically programmed to carry a child, their bodies require more fat than a man’s body. This adaptation is from early human ancestors where women needed the fat stores to nourish the growing fetus while living in an uncertain time.

The best range of body fat percentage for women is:

  • Athletic – 8-15%
  • Good – 16-23%
  • Acceptable – 24-30%

Where the optimal range of body fat percentage for men is:

  • Athletic – 5-10%
  • Good – 11-14%
  • Acceptable – 15-20%

As you can see, women can have as much as 10% percent more body fat than a man and still be within the acceptable range for body fat. This is just the beginning of the health and nutrition differences between men and women.

Basic Nutrition Between Genders

Nutrition can be broken down simply into two categories: macronutrients and micronutrients. While there are a few micronutrient differences between men and women, those who eat a well-rounded diet will generally get the adequate amount of micronutrients. So we will focus on the macronutrients and caloric needs.

Calorie Intake: Men vs Women

At the most basic level, nutrition starts with appropriate calorie intake. With more than one-third of American adults found to obese and the rest of the world not faring much better, there is a clear need to understand how many calories women and men should be taking in.

If you take a calorie calculator and plug in the same numbers (weight, height, activity level, and age) and only change genders between men and women, you will see a difference. With the only differential being gender, you can see that a man can eat almost 300 calories more than a woman.

Part of this is due to the fact that men generate much more testosterone than women which helps them build more muscle. The more muscle a person has, the better their calorie burn.

Once you know how many calories you should be taking in daily, you can then apply appropriate macronutrient intake percentages to your diet.

Protein Intake Considerations

The general recommendation for protein intake for both sexes is that protein should only make up 15 percent of their daily diet. This protein should come from a variety of sources, both plant and animal.

The reduction of animal protein in a diet will help prevent kidney stones. Men should be especially concerned with their animal protein intake as it has be found that men are 3 times more prone to have kidney stones than women.

So those embarking on high-protein diets like keto should be careful to vary their protein sources. Also, be aware that scientists have not found proof that these dietary lifestyles have positive long term effects.

Fat Consumption

Diet fads from the 1980s painted all fats with the same bad brush, but there are good sources of fat as well as bad. The bad sources are the same for either gender.

Dietary sources of fat to be avoided by men and women are trans fats, such as:

  • Margarine
  • Fried foods
  • Processed snack foods
  • Commercial baked goods

It can be pretty easy to find if a food has trans fats in it. These foods are always processed and generally come with a nutritional label. So if you check under the label’s section ‘Total Fats’ and see there are trans fats listed, you don’t need that in your body.

The better fats are the monounsaturated and unsaturated fats. There are also saturated fats which are generally found in animal protein, and as it has already been recommended you cut down on those, you can naturally cut down on your animal fats.

As for your daily intake of fat, it should not take up more than 30-35% of your daily calories.

Men should avoid vegetable oil fats (canola, flaxseed). These types of oil have type of omega-3 fatty acid chain that has been strongly correlated with increased risk of prostate cancer.

Carbohydrates for All

Carbohydrates should make up 45-65% of your daily calorie intake. This macronutrient is considered gender-neutral and is key to having the energy to function.

Carbohydrate sources men and women should have less of are:

  • White carbs (pasta, bread, rice)
  • Sugar
  • Bakery goods (muffins, cupcakes, pastries, etc)

The ones you should cut back on are called simple carbs and the energy spike you receive from them will be brief and lead to a crash.

Slow-burn carbohydrates are:

  • Legumes (beans, peanuts, etc)
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Brown rice

Sometimes it can seem hard to meet all your nutritional needs but the more you practice the right habits for your gender, the easier it will be to maintain a healthy and balanced diet.

Kevin Jones is a full time professional fitness expert. When he isn’t in the gym, he is offering practical research, fitness plans and nutritional tips to the world. Kevin regularly contributes to many fitness and health authority websites. With a passion for family, fun, and fitness, Kevin has found a way to manage and combine these three aspects in an effective and successful way. Connect with him online; LinkedInTwitter

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