Men vs. women in the metabolism race

I have read that men need to stoke more calories per day than the average women.  (Why they eat like such pigs…no just kidding for any guys reading this)…..gotta love them.

Men typically need a daily intake of 2500 while women average to about 2000.  (One also has to consider exercise level, age and height):

The Harris-Benedict Equation for calculating calorie needs.

Use the appropriate formula for men or women..

Men:  BMR = 66 + (13.7 x W) + (5 x H) – (6.8 x Age) = Daily calories required

Women:  BMR = 665 + (9.6 x W) + (1.8 x H) – (4.7 x Age) = Daily calories needs


W = weight in Kgs  Convert body weight here!

H= Height in cms ( 1 foot = 12 inches, 1 inch = 2.54 cms)

Age = Years

I have noticed through the years that men seem to eat more in meal portions than their counterparts.  As we grow older our intake can sometimes hamper us if we do not monitor what we eat. 

Exercise Physiology, the excellent textbook by Drs. William D. McArdle, Frank I. Katch and Victor L. Katch (Lea & Febiger, 3rd Edition, 1991), tells us that people do tend to get fatter with age. College-age men average 15% bodyfat and older men are usually about 25%. Women in their youth carry bodyfat about 25% and move up to 35% or more by age 50. The doctors hasten to add, however, that these “average” values should not be accepted as normal. “We believe that one criterion for what is considered ‘too fat’ should be that established for younger men and women – above 20% for men and above 30% for women. There is probably no biologic reason for men and women to get fatter as they grow older.” Increases in bodyfat, they explain, are more a function of activity than age. Inactivity results in loss of muscle. And loss of muscle, not an aging metabolism, is the primary cause of creeping obesity. The muscle that remains is as metabolically active as ever.

Another contributing factor to a slower metabolism is less muscle mass.  Women tend to store more fat on average, part of it is due to “storing for a pregnancy”.  Those of use who already know this realize that we gain weight in our abdomen and thighs….ugh…fat causes our metabolism to slow down.

It would seem to me that because men tend to have more muscle of course their body will melt the fat off much more quickly than we women can…frustrating isn’t it?

Evans and Rosenbreg explain that:  “As our muscle mass falls, our calorie needs fall with it. According to the authors of Biomarkers, most people need to take in about 100 calories per day less each decade to maintain a level body weight. The problem, of course, is that we continue eating the same. “Too many calories coupled with too little exertion, a reduced musculature, and a declining metabolic rate add up to more and more fat.” This cycle, they conclude, will only worsen over time – unless broken by a program that increases muscle and restores lost metabolism.”

Another contributing factor for a woman’s metabolism to slow down is the dreaded menopause.  Watching the show on occasion—I am not a big fan of reality shows) The Biggest Loser it does seem men tend to lose fat at a faster rate than women.

For myself, I noticed as I have grown older and yes as I reached my 30’s…my metabolism did slow down to the point I was overweight.  Two years ago I was 50 pounds heavier and now as I continue to monitor my diet and exercise I feel and look better than I did at 35.  It is all about having a positive attitude, loving yourself, and wanting the best that life can give to you.  Trust me, it is worth it…..


Further Readings:

Raloff, J. 2004. Counting carbs. Science News 166(July 17):40-42. Available at

______. 1999. Why cutting fats may harm the heart. Science News 155(March 20):180. Available at

______. 1998. Cholesterol-busting products provoke FDA. Science News 154(Nov. 14):311. Available at

______. 1996. More on those “really bad” LDLs. Science News Online (Sept. 21). Available at