Healthy eating is a priority for every human being but men and women may have specific requirements that require a different plan when it comes to meals.
Over the years, I’ve noticed clear discrepancies in how myself (and my female friends) eat in relation to our male counterparts. I decided to do some research on the topic and I was fascinated at what I found.
What an adult male or female requires nutritionally depends on several factors…
- Fitness level
- Lifestyle choices
- Personal habits
Genetically, men and women differ. Men tend to weigh more and have more muscle mass while women naturally have more fat depending on body type. This isn’t true for everyone, of course, but it holds true for most.Choose the best foods for your age, health, and lifestyle.Click To Tweet
1. Calorie Consumption: In this area, men and women run parallel.
For those who live a sedentary lifestyle, both men and women require about 13 calories for each pound of body weight. If you weigh 150 pounds, that works out to a daily requirement of around 1,950 calories per day.
For those who live an active lifestyle (defined as exercising at least half an hour each day), then you require about 18 calories for each pound of body weight. If you weigh 150 pounds, that works out to a daily requirement of around 2,700 calories per day. A healthy eating plan begins with portion control. The Western Diet includes huge portions of foods that are high in unhealthy fats, sugar, and salt so choose carefully.
2. Nutrients: Many so-called healthy foods are all the rage in the health industry but the individual requirements for men and women are important to remember.
- Calcium is healthy for both genders but is critical for women. Experts recommend females get at least 1,000mg per day to lower their risk osteoporosis and heart disease. After 50, we need to up our calcium intake to 1,200mg per day. Men need to keep their intake under 800mg per day to avoid raising their prostate cancer risk.
- Fiber is another big difference. Women need about 25 grams per day before 50 and 21 grams per day after 50 to guard against negative cholesterol, control blood sugar, and prevent cancer. Men need more for equal heart protection. Before 50, they need 38 grams and after 50, 30 grams daily. If you up your calorie intake, you need to also up your fiber.
- Iron is a big one for women since we lose substantial amounts while we’re still menstruating. Not getting enough results in anemia, respiratory distress, foggy thinking, and fatigue. Women need 18mg per day until menopause. After menopause (when you’re no longer menstruating), your daily requirement drops to 8mg per day. Again, men require iron but too much puts them at higher risk of heart disease. They need to keep their daily intake at 8mg through their lifetime.
- Protein is responsible for lasting energy levels, cell repair, and the production of new cells. Athletes of both sexes require more but too much protein can result in a loss of calcium. Men and women need approximately 8 grams per kilogram of body weight or roughly 2.7 grams per pound of bodyweight. That works out to about 55 grams per day for a person who weighs 150 pounds (68kg) or 72 grams for a person who weighs 200 pounds (90kg). For general health (and despite fad diets), 60 grams of protein are a good benchmark.
- Omega-3 fatty acids are another big difference and the experts are still out on recommended daily requirements. Women can benefit from this nutrient no matter the source (plant or marine) to prevent blood clots, improve heart health, and keep cholesterol levels on track. Eating fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines) a couple of times a week will give you what you need. Males need marine-based omega-3s and should avoid omega-3 supplements since they may raise their risk of prostate cancer due to the high concentrations. Eating fish twice a week is the best and safest source.
3. Alcohol: This is a major area where difference is key. Drinking in moderation (particularly red wine that’s packed with resveratrol) has been proven to be good for your heart. However, women should follow a strict one-glass per day rule. Experts feel men can safely follow a two-glass per day rule. However, in both genders, you cannot “save up” those drinks and have them all in the same day. This can result in serious liver distress.
4. Water: Both men and women should be consuming approximately half an ounce of water per pound of body weight. That’s the equivalent of 75 ounces if you weigh 150 pounds, 100 ounces if you weigh 200 pounds, and so on. If you live in a particularly hot climate, have an extremely physical job, exercise daily, or work outside, you should consume one ounce per pound of body weight. No healthy eating plan is complete without water.No healthy eating plan is complete without water.Click To Tweet
Eat for Your Needs…Not Your Partner’s
Women are more likely to choose fruits and vegetables while men (as a group) prefer meat and starches. The important thing to remember is that choosing to “blend” your eating plan with that of your partner simply might not be the best answer for you.
Choose the best foods for your age, health, and lifestyle. Feeding your body is a personal thing. Ease and convenience could have you eating foods that don’t give you the fuel your body craves or needs.
Eat for you and make no apologies!