As far as weight loss is concerned, women and men appear to have different metabolic effects that weight loss endeavors produce on their bodies. Scientific evidence suggests that men really do lose weight faster, but this difference does not diminish the positive effects of becoming slimmer on your systems.
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Shedding weight can be challenging regardless of gender, but studies show that it takes women more time to get rid of extra pounds. A recent study carried out by a team of scientists at New York University has demonstrated that different genders respond differently to weight loss programs aimed at rapid weight shedding.
In total, 2,224 participants were enrolled in the study. All of them were overweight and had pre-diabetes. For 2 months, the volunteers had been following a low-calorie diet, and the resulting weight loss varied among the groups: it turned out that men were losing weight faster, and the difference made up 16%.
Besides the difference in pounds lost, the team also observed different changes in heart rate and fat mass: men were more efficient at improving these parameters. As to hip circumference, however, women had it reduced to a greater extent than men did. This is largely due to the difference in where fat is stored in the first place in men and women’s bodies: while men tend to accumulate more visceral fat (the one found in the abdomen), women’s primary fat storage sites are the buttocks and the hips. That is why when men get fat, they get a large belly, and women are more pear-shaped.
This is also the reason why men’s metabolism is faster when weight loss programs are underway, researchers explain. Loss of visceral fat leads to acceleration of metabolic processes, whereas loss of subcutaneous fat (the kind of fat found in hips and other areas where fat is accumulated most in the female body) does not. This is why when men are put on a low-calorie diet and lose weight by shedding some pounds of visceral fat, their metabolism speeds up, and the body starts burning even more calories.
Difference in weight maintenance
Another research suggested that weight maintenance is also handled differently by the male and female bodies. Of the 419 volunteers who had lost no less than ten percent of their body weight prior to joining the study, males regained 16% of what they had got rid of in the course of the next two years of the follow-up, and ladies put up more than 24% of the amount lost, suggesting that weight maintenance is also affected by gender differences. Despite men’s calorie intake being higher, the effect remains, because it happens due to greater needs in calories: as men are generally taller, they need more calorie supplies to burn.
Another curious finding was that male participants succeeded in maintaining weight despite buying food from supermarkets more often than their female counterparts and preferred to plan their menus themselves, whereas women were more likely to join weight loss programs designed by third parties.
More weight shed, similar effects
Despite the difference in pounds lost, formerly overweight women and men benefit from becoming slimmer in a similar way. After the first experiment described above, the participants were no longer overweight, had no pre-diabetes, their glucose levels in the blood decreased, and the effects of BMI reduction included reduced risk of hypertension, stroke, diabetes, cancer and several other diseases.
The takeaway is that while men burn calories faster as they lose visceral fat, both genders can benefit enormously from shedding extra pounds regardless of the process speed.
Men and women respond differently to rapid weight loss: Metabolic outcomes of a multi-centre intervention study after a low-energy diet in 2500 overweight, individuals with pre-diabetes – onlinelibrary.wiley.com
Exploring Gender Differences in a Randomized Trial of Weight Loss Maintenance – journals.sagepub.com