The Difference Between Male And Female Eating Habits

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The Difference Between Male And Female Eating Habits
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The Difference Between Male And Female Eating Habits

Since neurobiological research has suggested that men and women respond to food differently, researcher Tomoko Udo hopes to dig deeper.

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Udo explains her mission to explore gender: "To understand why women are more susceptible to emotional stress eating, we have to understand how they're different from men. On the flip side, we need something to help men, because it's their problem too."

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In the study researchers will ask the participants to choose between healthy snacks like fruit and nuts or unhealthy ones like potato chips and cookies.

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Udo has designed her experiments hoping to explore how hormones, mood and other factors can affect food selection.

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It’s only since 1999 that women were required to be included in clinical trials, so Udo’s work couldn’t come soon enough.

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Udo plans to proceed with her experiment by measuring the appetite hormone ghrelin and changes in the participant’s heart rate.

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Ghrelin is a hormone that generally increases during hunger and then decreases after the body begins to eat. Previous research suggests that the hormone acts differently in obese individuals. Udo seeks to discover if ghrelin affects food choices and cravings in her study.

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Tracking heart rate provides information on the autonomic nervous system of the subject. The autonomic nervous system controls involuntary behaviors like breathing and digestion. By measuring heart rate, Udo hopes to learn how different foods affect those functions.

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Yale is hoping to better understand how gender affects health and disease. Udo's research is leading the way.

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According to the director of Women’s Health Research at Yale, Carolyn M. Mazure, "Research on gender differences in health and disease reveals how, where and when these differences should affect a course of treatment or prevention strategies."

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Mazure is overseeing four projects on health differences in gender with a 2.5 million dollar grant. Udo’s project is one of them.

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While Udo conducts her important experiments on food and gender, there are other completed studies out there that explore the disparities between male and female eating habits. Read on for more.

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In 2008, a study found that men preferred to eat meat and poultry while women were more inclined to consume fruits and vegetables.

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Many ladies have observed this phenomenon already, but apparently it is true that women tend to eat less when dining with men according to a 2011 study published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology.

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In 2008 the New International Food Information Council found that women took more steps toward eating a healthy diet.

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A mother-to-be's eating habits can potentially impact the gender of her child according to a report by researchers at Oxford and the University of Exeter.

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In 2006 the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that women were more likely than men to try out different diets to lose weight. The study also found hat women tried harder to eat fewer sugars, carbohydrates and fats.

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The Department of Nutrition and Health Sciences at the University of Nebraska examined the frequency with which male and female college students consumed fast food. The researchers found that 84 percent of men reported eating fast food for lunch weekly, while only 58 percent of women said they did.

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Men and women also crave different comfort foods. According to a study by the USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion men tend to enjoy "warm, hearty, meal-related comfort foods" like soup, steak or casseroles. Women on the other hand crave snacks like chocolate and ice cream.

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A study from 1990 found the unsurprising results that women were less satisfied with their weight and body image when compared to men. Women thought about overeating more and felt guilty twice as often as men did. 68 percent of the women dieted monthly while 75 percent of men dieted once a year or not at all.

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It's no surprise that men and woman have different taste.

But a myriad of research has begun to suggest that the way men and women approach food is also vastly dissimilar.

According to Jill Tanner, a nurse practitioner at the Medi-Weightloss Clinic, women tend to eat to cope with stress: "Women do more emotional eating and reward eating. If they're upset or stressed, they tend to go towards food."

This wouldn't surprise Tomoko Udo, Ph.D, MSc of the Yale School of Medicine, where Tomoko and other researchers have begun to examine the various ways men and women approach food. Udo explains, "By understanding these basic behaviors and how they're different between men and women, we might also inform research into other addictive behavior."

That women and men differ in their relationships with food is not a groundbreaking observation. Weight Watchers has designed two websites, one for their female clients and another for their male ones.

However, the science behind male and female food habits is definitely something that needs to be explored further.

Check out the slideshow above to discover how researchers are studying the difference between male and female eating habits.

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