Achieving ideal body weight is part of a healthy life style and may also be involved in fertility and pregnancy success. Achieving ideal body weight, however, is very difficult. Here are some reasons why it is harder for women to lose weight. There are several biological reasons for this discrepancy. First, women have more fat content and less muscle mass on average than men. Muscle burns more calories than fat. Men also have a faster metabolism than women allowing men to burn calories faster with less activity than women. There are also differences in brain function between men and women. In one study when women and men were asked to smell, taste and observe high calorie foods such as pizza, cinnamon buns and chocolate, brain scans showed enhanced activity in the regions that control the drive to eat in women’s brains more so than in men’s brains. The “I am hungry hormone,” ghrelin has also been shown to spike after exercise in women while the “I am full hormone,” leptin decreases. So after working out women are more likely to be hungry and eat more. This does not appear to occur as frequently in men. Women are also more likely to be emotional eaters than men craving foods high in sugar, salt and fat content. This in turn causes neurotransmitters to bind to opioid receptors in the brain causing a transient “feel good” sensation hence the term, “feel good foods.” Unfortunately, however, “feel good foods” are more likely to lead to weight gain. Thus women have a much harder time than men to lose weight.
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