The weight loss debate: Do men really shed pounds faster than women?
Who loses weight more easily? Men, or women? (Kevin G. Gilbert / / April 10, 2013)
But your husband, who is following the same routine, is shedding the pounds more quickly, even when he occasionally indulges in dessert.
Is there a double standard when it comes to weight loss?
Do men have an easier time of burning calories, increasing their metabolism and winning the war against fat?
Ask most seasoned female dieters those questions and the answer will be a resounding "yes."
But what is fact and what is fiction when it comes to the great divide of losing weight?
Obesity, in general, doesn't discriminate, said Dr. Rafai Bukhari, family medicine physician with Potomac Family Medicine, a physician practice of Meritus Health.
"There are many factors that lead to obesity, including food consumption, exercise, genetics and socioeconomics," he said. "So, the prevalence of obesity among men and women is about the same."
But when it comes to getting rid of those unwanted pounds, women are at a bit of a disadvantage.
"You do see men drop weight a little bit faster," he said. "They have more muscle and testosterone, which causes more metabolism. If you compare everything evenly, men do have more muscle mass, so they can burn calories a bit faster."
But if a woman exercises and follows a nutritional diet, he added, "she is going to lose weight faster than a man who is not eating right and exercising."
Fair or not, it comes down to the fact that men and women are simply made differently — and those differences have an impact on weight loss.
Here's what's at play.
First, said Bukhari, men and women usually burn calories at a different rate.
"It's because men are burning more due to the testosterone and muscle mass," he explained. "Women are burning calories but sometimes they don't need to use as much energy as men. It's the way energy is used and stored."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every pound of lean body mass you have burns about 14 calories a day. So, the more muscle you carry, the greater your daily calorie burn. Not only are men's bodies bigger, they tend to carry more muscle than women do, too.
Next, "women store fat more than men do," Bukhari said. "Women who go through pregnancy also sometimes hold on to extra fat that occurs during pregnancy. Women don't have as much testosterone as men do."
Women do have more estrogen than men, though, says the CDCP, and estrogen increases storage of body fat.
Because most men have a greater muscle mass, their bodies respond more quickly to exercise.