Well, it’s simple biology
Men have more muscle.
Even seemingly un-muscly men have a greater proportion of muscle than women – I’m talking about your average person here, not people who train for sport or bodybuilding.
Muscle is ‘metabolically active’, that just means it’s doing stuff ALL the time. Even when men are just sitting down doing nothing their higher proportion of muscle is needing more calories just to keep itself ‘there’.
So the daily calorie needs of men are higher than for women as a general rule. Not by much though, a fifth to a third as much again is about all that’s in it.
Your height matters too
There’s another big factor at play with different energy requirements, even between same-sex people, and that’s their height.
A woman of 5ft 1in will need a fair bit less food than a woman of 5ft 8in, in fact she’ll only need about as much as a ten year old girl. The shorter height means there’s less body to keep going. But a 5ft 8in woman will need less than a 5ft 8in man because she’s less metabolically active.
So this is how we write the plans, to account for these variations between the average person.
We don’t calorie count
But they don’t account for how much a person moves about each day, how much they fidget (fidgeting burns cals), how much they exercise, whether they have health conditions or medications that affect their energy burn, whether they’re stressed or any of those other factors that subtly change how many calories we burn.
That’s why, even though as nutrition professionals we know the calorific value of foods, we will never state calories on our plans. There are simply too many variables.
We write our plans with the average person in mind and so that they have less food than it’s currently fashionable to eat – hello fat loss!
So guys – you are quite lucky. Women, you need to serve yourself less than any male you might be eating with!
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