Gender& Nutrition – male, female, different?
Nutritional differences between men and women
(dge) Women are not only different than men, they also eat and drink differently. Or at least they should. Due to lower muscle mass and greater body fat mass, women consume only 55.8 kcal per hour, while men consume 72.5 kcal. With the same body weight men may eat therefore more than women. Converted to the average German, this means with low physical activity – a man’s additional need for energy of an average of 500 calories (kcal) a day.
But what does it look like in reality? Men eat more and differently than women? The latest results from the National Consumption Survey II confirm that men actually eat an average of 166 g more food per day. The differences in the consumption of meat, sausages and meat products are particularly striking. Men eat twice as much meat as women, namely 103 g of meat and sausages per day. Women eat only 53 g of meat per day. Interestingly, the differences are already present in childhood. Men also consume more milk and dairy products than women. For both sexes, however, consumption decreases with age. In absolute terms, men eat less plant foods than women, with women eating more fruit in particular, and on average an amount of fruit equivalent to about one kiwi a day. This means that the recommendations of the German Society for Nutrition e. V. (DGE) for fruit consumption of 250 g per day by women relatively well achieved. The gender difference in fruit consumption is also present in childhood and persists into old age. With regard to vegetables, the differences are rather small. There is only a difference of 20 g, which is roughly equivalent to a radish. The differences are also marginal for bread and cereal products.
"In addition to quantity, however, the quality of food also differs between the sexes. Men are less likely to be vegetarians, drink fewer herbal and fruit teas, but more soda pop and alcohol," says Dr. Annett Hilbig of the Max Rubner Institute at the journalists’ seminar "Gender and nutrition – male, female, different?" of the DGE in Hamburg on gender differences.
Due to their lower energy requirements, women need a higher nutrient density, i.e. nutrient-rich foods with lower energy content, to ensure the supply of essential nutrients. For some nutrients, such as vitamin C, vitamin B12, calcium and iodine, women need to consume the same amount of nutrients as men, but with lower energy requirements. In addition, there is an increased need for nutrients during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
In general, the derivation of recommendations and estimates for nutrients is based on different parameters. While certain essential nutrients such as vitamins B1 and B2 are based on the guideline value for energy intake, for vitamin K and protein they are based on body mass, and for vitamin B6 they are based on the recommended protein intake. Expressed in absolute intakes, this implies higher nutrient recommendations for these nutrients, respectively. Guidelines for the man.
For other nutrients, physiological differences result in different intakes. Thus, the woman has a higher iron requirement due to blood losses in childbearing age, in men the higher losses of zinc through sweat are reflected in different intake recommendations. The alcohol intake considered tolerable is higher in men than in women, as has been shown in numerous epidemiological studies.
In practical terms, this means that women should eat more plant foods, fewer animal foods, and also lower-fat products, which they actually do according to the results of the National Nutrition Survey II. It makes sense to replace high-fat foods with comparable low-fat foods, i.e. z. B. instead of the high-fat oil sardine with 34 g of fat per 100 g, use fried herring with 14 g/100 g of fat, which is lower in fat. There are also significant differences in vegetables and fruit. For example, cauliflower is superior to peas in terms of energy content, and bananas, with 0.9 kcal per gram, are a comparatively high-energy fruit compared with apples, which have 0.5 kcal per gram of energy.
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