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17 July 2008
Different Dietary Needs For Men And Women

What you eat can strongly influence your longevity and reproductive success, but now scientists have discovered that what works for males can be very different for females. In the first study of its kind, Australian researchers have shown that gender plays a major role in determining which diet is better suited to promoting longer life or better reproductive success.

"When it comes to choosing the right diet, we need to look more closely to the individual, their sex and their reproductive stage in life," said University of New South Wales researcher Rob Brooks. "It may be, for example, that women in their child-bearing years need a different diet to those who are post-menopausal."

Interestingly, the researchers say that the lifespan of both males and females is maximized on high-carbohydrate, low-protein diets. But reproductive success differs dramatically between the sexes when the carbohydrate-protein balance is changed: males live longest and have the greatest reproductive success with a diet that favors carbohydrates to protein by eight-to-one, whereas females have greatest success when the ratio is just one-to-one.

"Men and women invest differently in reproduction. Think of the tremendous amounts of energy and protein required of a mother in carrying a baby to term and breastfeeding. We also know that men and women need to eat different diets - think of the careful attention we pay to what expectant mothers eat. What men and women need to eat might be more dramatically different than we had realised. However, men and women eat very similar diets and our results suggest that our tastes and food preferences could be a shared compromise," concluded Brooks.

Related:
You Aren't What You Eat
Protein And Cancer
Popular Food Myths - What's The Truth?

Source: University of New South Wales


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