Gender Based Dietary Distinctions – Sexist or Science?

Gender Based Dietary Distinctions - Sexist or Science?

Does gender influence diet? Since gender is a fairly significant part of our personal identities there is no question that it does exert some influence over our diets. The real question, however is, “How much of a role does gender play in determining our diet?

So, while gender can most certainly influence some of our habits, values and attitudes to a certain extent, the link between gender and diet is probably not as strong as we might first imagine. At best, gender has more of an indirect influence on our diet, mainly because of its connection to other demographic factors.

It seems safe to say that no single factor can determine a person’s overall diet.  I would never want to be “assigned” a diet based on my gender alone and never have the opportunity to live my life. As we grow and change and have various experiences our diets will naturally change as well. It has been stated when you ask a man what his favorite food is chances are he’ll “nominate a juicy steak or a gravy-smothered meat pie but women would probably  answer cupcakes and chocolate.”

Males tend to think they haven’t had a meal if they haven’t had a serving of meat, whereas women would settle for a piece of fruit, a protein shake or even a meal bar. While nutritionists generally recommend a higher calorie intake for men, the amount of daily energy we need to consume depends on a variety of factors such as age, height and level of activity, says Sharon Natoli, director of Food & Nutrition Australia.

The question of whether our gender determines what we like to eat has long puzzled scientists and nutritionists. Are men and women programmed to want different foods? Do we have varying body requirements? Would we really want it any other way? Share your thoughts?

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