Written by Nourished Not Deprived Practitioners

Should a Woman Eat Less Than a Man?

Funnily enough, a typical form of blog writing is to keep you in suspense for some time during the beginning of your read, to at least have you read part of, if not the entirety of what the writer has written, by of course leaving you in suspense…

However let’s just BLOW that one out of the water here and start by saying, there is no universal rule that states a woman should eat less than a man. That includes not only the frequency in which a woman eats, but also the portion and type of food consumed, full stop.

For educational purposes, and to really bring home our statement, let us review why this seems to be a common thought, however luckily more infrequent than decades prior, however still a topic of debate that is around.

HIS vs HERS PLATES Or whatever that means….
Typically, we see a lot of comparison when it comes to men and women. You may have  seen the infamous ‘’his vs her’’ plates on Instagram, where pictured we usually see a plate full of food for both genders, with similar food types, but less served.

You may have experienced this in your own family dynamic where a certain family member (not pointing fingers here.. *cough* Aunt Suzanne *cough*) tells one of the women that she couldn’t possibly eat as much as her brother. Potentially to a lesser extent, you may have experienced the woman having comments thrown at the amount of food they have served themselves, to have the men void from these comments completely.

THAT’S HOW MUCH A BOY SHOULD EAT
I personally remember being very young when my mother (God bless her) commented on the amount of food I was eating and told me that it was a ‘’mans serving’’ and that I was a little girl who shouldn’t be eating that amount of food. Now she was most certainly saying this out of the kindness of her heart and absolutely meant no harm (and mum if you are reading this I love you dearly, and I’ll still be seeing you for dinner on Sunday okay, love you) but these comments, I think most people have experienced at least one or twice in their lifetime. However, is it factual? They are not. Harmful? They certainly can be. WHAT DOES THE SCIENCE SAY?
Now why universally should a woman not need to lower her portion sizes compared to a man? Well, let’s talk about energy expenditure.

Every single day you and I burn calories to survive. This amount of calories burnt depends on our age, height, weight, age, gender, activity levels and any underlying illness that causes metabolic change. Gender is most certainly one of those factors however it is not the only factor that plays into someone’s energy expenditure.

LET’S DO THE MATH.

‘’Say we have a 25 year old woman, weighing 80 kgs, 174cms. She has a very active job and works out 4 days per week. She will burn between 2200-2700kcals per day to maintain her weight, give or take.’’

‘’Now say we have a 29 year old man, 72kgs, 170cms tall, who has a sedentary job and doesn’t exercise much at all, he will burn around 2000-2300kcals per day to maintain his weight, give or take.’’

As per these calculations, it is evident that this woman requires more energy (calories through food) each day to maintain her weight and meet her nutritional requirements.

Therefore the sentiment that women need to consume less than men is, in fact, incorrect.

SO SHOULD A WOMAN EAT LESS THAN A MEAN?
To answer this question simply the answer is gender aside, every person’s needs will be different, some will need more energy, some will need less and universally women shouldn’t be eating less than a man across the board.

Ps. Here at Nourished we are a Gender-sensitive practice.
We provide Gender-sensitive care that is informed by knowledge and understanding of the differences, inequalities and varying needs of women, men, transgender and intersex individuals, and the interrelationship of gender identities with people’s histories, social and economic situations, treatment needs, and experience of mental health and alcohol and other drug issues.
We always consider and respect the needs of people with different gender identities and preferences.

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