Eating To Live Or Living To Eat : Differences Between Being Male & Female

Eating to live or living to eat?

One of life’s many pleasures is food, eating is a social event as well as a time to replete and regenerate, and for many eating is also an opportunity to sit still and gather thoughts. Despite all this, for one reason or another…eating is a habit. Now habits can be good or bad depending on what you eat and why you’re eating it! People acquire habits for different reasons, as a way to make them feel good or keep themselves busy, or for some self directed purpose such as bodybuilding, weight loss or health and longevity.

Our Perception Of Food

How we perceive food drastically affects what and how much of it we eat. Until recently the reasons attributed to why people ate was thought to be because of environmental factors, stressors, emotional thought processes and lifestyle. Granted every one of these factors contribute, but new research published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders, (2013) suggests a biological factor behind binge eating.

Rats Actually Increased The Studies Validity For Once

It is acknowledged that this study was performed on rats, but it’s the impact factor of these findings that make it of note. The study produced some of the strongest evidence to date supporting biology and its role in eating disorders, establishing that gender plays a significant part in rates of binge eating (eating large amounts over a short time period). A particular point of interest raised was the link found between being female, and greater numbers of bulimic and binge type eating disorders. Originally it was thought that increased cultural and psychological pressure faced by females was solely to blame, but quite ironically, the use of rats actually increased the validity of the findings! Seeing how rats don’t have the cultural or psychosocial pressures of humans e.g. being thin or not feeling comfortable with their appearance, we can conclude that biological factors must come into play.

Never Mess With A Women’s Food – Especially Chocolate…

You may or may not be surprised to hear this but when rats were fed pellets with frosting, it was the female rats that scoffed the most, 6 times more in fact! The researchers suggest that the female’s ‘reward’ activity in the brain may be more prominent than in males meaning they seek satisfying foods such as those high in sugar and fat…foods that very readily make you fat!

Another theory is that the female species is more deadly than the male, so we men keep the heck out of the way when there is chocolate involved!


Kelly L. Klump, Sarah Racine, Britny Hildebrandt, Cheryl L. Sisk, (2013). Sex differences in binge eating patterns in male and female adult rats. International Journal of Eating Disorders; DOI: 10.1002/eat.22139

Science Daily : Your source for the latest research news, (2013). The biology behind binge eating. Retrieved 3rd May, 2013, from


About the Author

Job Role Qualified Dietitian and Sports Nutritionist Qualifications BSc (Hons) Sports Science | BSc (Hons) Dietetics Tom has always participated in sport both recreationally and competitively which led to an unquenchable thirst for information on anything health, nutrition and fitness. After leaving school Tom went on to play for a football academy during which time he studied Sport and Exercise Science. From here he went on to study a BSc (Hons) Sport Science at UEA followed by his second BSc (Hons) degree, this time at the University of Hertfordshire studying Dietetics. Tom has worked in the fitness, educational and clinical nutrition industry starting out at David Lloyd Health and Leisure Clubs. He then went on to work as a Dietitian (RD) in the NHS, during which time he conducted clinics for healthy eating, weight loss and weight gain, as well as specialised consultations on Diabetes, IBS and Coeliac disease to name a few. He has vast amounts of experience at devising diet plans and supplement regimens, as well as working in the community with schools and competitive athletes. As Head Nutritionist and Supplement expert at Discount Supplements Tom is here to provide current and evidence based health and nutrition information to help you reach your health and fitness goals!
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