Advances in Clinical and Experimental Medicine
2020, vol. 29, nr 1, January, p. 165–172
Publication type: review article
Do nutritional behaviors depend on biological sex and cultural gender?
1 Department of Anatomy, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Poland
2 Internal and Metabolic Diseases and Dietetics Department, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Poland
Conventional knowledge, resulting from observations and experience, maintains the conviction that there are gender differences in the acquisition, preparation and consumption of food. This review shows differences between the sexes in eating behavior, food choice and nutritional strategy which were conditioned by evolution and by intra-individual (biological or psychological) and extra-individual (socioeconomic and cultural) factors. Women manifest a more pronounced trust in healthy nutrition, greater engagement in controlling body weight, a higher tendency to eat in a group and in stressful situations, and they frequently experience frustration due to their own nutritional behaviors, which reflects higher social pressure and their attempts to reduce eating-related pleasure. On the other hand, men prefer fatty meals with a strong taste, and are directed mainly by the pleasure of consumption; they more frequently furtively eat sweet foods while watching television, use more dietary supplements and more frequently visit fast food restaurants. Nutritional behavior, styles of nutrition, dietary profiles, approach to nourishment, approach to the place of meal consumption, and the sources of nutritional knowledge all demonstrate associations with gender. Reciprocal interactions between gender and diet are conditioned by physiological, psychological and sociocultural factors. This system of reciprocal interactions includes feedback: biological sex and cultural gender shape one’s diet and, reciprocally, one’s diet affects the deepening or flattening of gender differences. The analysis of reciprocally interacting factors entangled in the formation of a nutritional model may also represent an important element of pro-health prophylaxis and should be used in medical and dietary practice. Males in particular should be informed and educated about health-promoting diets.
eating habits, food intake, nutritional strategy, female subjects, male subjects
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