Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Because men always get more food

"Feed the man meat" - Australian ad campaign

There is a peculiar tradition in our society that states men need to get more food than women and children.

This starts when they’re young. Boys get more food than girls, teen boys get fed more than teen girls and it moves on into adulthood when the men and the male boys still get the larger portions of food.

This is primarily a status thing. Even though men have 5/10% more muscle mass than women this only generates an average of a need for 5% more food in a day – an amount that would barely be recognisable, and especially not represented by a 40% increase in the size of the meal offered the masculine family members.

Also, when a woman is pregnant, breast-feeding or menstruating, she needs more food than men, and almost at any point in her life she will need more iron and calcium. Male and female nutritional needs may be different at different times, but only at the point of balance, not necessarily content, unless there is a very dramatic size difference.

And yet, we do it.

Food is not now, nor has it ever been simply a means of nutritional nourishment in our society. For all consumers it has much more to do with emotional issues than it does the actual needs of our bodies. One thing Doctors do agree on is that all of us in the Western world eat too much and too much of the wrong thing.

One of those emotional myths about food is that the boys in the house need to be fed faster, first and more.

In romance novels, the full-figured woman who eats a healthy big meal is admired and adored for her appetite and her round fleshy curves. No emphasis is placed on what the men eat, only on what the women eat, and in that case there is never anything other than love, understanding and quantity.


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