We’ve all heard the joke about the woman who quits drinking sodas and gains three pounds while her similarly-abstaining husband loses 20. As ridiculous as it sounds, there is a slight grain of truth, although Marla Ahlgrimm says that it doesn’t really have that much to do with gender, but more size and body mass.
According to Marla Ahlgrimm, women do have slightly slower metabolisms than their husbands and brothers. However, this biological function isn’t necessarily different because of gender, but more because women tend to have more fat on their bodies than men. But, higher muscle mass is the result of sex hormones, specifically testosterone. Women have higher estrogen levels and, proportionately, more body fat. Muscle burns fat faster; therefore, men are typically more efficient at the process.
Another difference between men and women relating to fat is where it’s stored. Women tend to be lucky in that fat is distributed more evenly across the body. Women also have more subcutaneous fat, which is easier to lose and poses fewer health risks than visceral fat, which is more common in men. Visceral fat stored in the abdominal cavity. If you’ve ever seen a man with a “beer belly,” then you have seen visceral fat at work.
Our muscle fibers are also different, says Marla Ahlgrimm. Women have more of what’s known as slow twitch muscle fibers, which are known to burn fat and a much higher rate during exercise than men. Men, however, burn more fat after exercise.
Overall, Marla Ahlgrimm says that men and women metabolize similarly, men just have a slight edge when it comes to resting metabolism.
Marla Ahlgrimm says that men and women that are concerned about their weight should worry less about their metabolism and prioritize healthy eating and activity. Get 120 minutes of exercise each week, steer clear of fried and processed foods, and drink lots of water. The combination of these three activities will typically boost your metabolism, help you lose weight, and live a healthy life.