Do Women Really Lose Weight Slower Than Men?

There’s a longstanding rumor that women lose weight slower than men. A lot of us believe that guys have a definite physiological advantage when it comes to weight loss, and sketchy stories of men burning insurmountable amounts of fat effortlessly at the gym while women put in blood, sweat, and tears to shed just a pound or two are fairly common.

But is it true? Do men really lose weight faster than women do? Is it physically harder for women to shed body fat?

Do Men Lose Weight Faster?

The short answer is, yes, they do. At least initially. A man’s body naturally contains more lean muscle tissue (non-fatty tissue) than a woman’s. Muscle burns more calories than fat, even when we’re resting. Therefore, men do tend to lose more weight when they burn the same quantity of calories – but it’s temporary. David Grotto, a well-known dietitian and author of The Best Things You Can Eat, says, “Over the long-term, the playing field is more equal.” He continues, “It’s not a race to see who can lose weight the fastest. The important thing is that you’re both going in the same direction.”

What Gives Guys the Edge?

Testosterone—and a lack of additional estrogen—is what makes weight loss easier for men. It is said that the average woman’s body contains 6-11% more body fat. This is because the female body has adapted through evolution to accommodate pregnancy and child-rearing. Throughout a woman’s life, even if she consumes fewer calories, she maintains more average body fat. It’s worth noting, though, that more fat doesn’t mean less healthy. The bigger fat stores are natural; it’s not added weight. In other words, 10% more body fat doesn’t make a woman 10% fatter, and a fit woman can be 10% fatter than a fit man.

What Else Should you Know?

When overweight men start to lose weight, it comes off the abdominal region first, making weight loss more noticeable than in women. Even engaging in light exercise tends to shave off fat in the belly area for guys. Ladies, in comparison, have fat stores that are more widely distributed in the body, which is partly why weight loss seems more gradual and less noticeable. While women can certainly lose belly fat quickly, they typically have less of it to lose. In men, the tendency to accumulate and lose weight around the midsection can be advantageous, but it is also linked to an increased risk of heart disease.

Sum and Substance: What it Boils Down to

While men do seem to have the upper hand when it comes to losing weight, at least when they start out, they are at a disadvantage health-wise. An overweight man is generally more at risk for disease than a plus-size woman. The weight that women carry in their hips, thighs, and buttocks and hate so much is less harmful than the midsection fat that men are prone to. Ultimately, weight loss is a possible reality for anyone, regardless of gender. If you’re informed and committed, nothing can stop you!

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