Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Men eat meat, women eat chocolate

Interesting ...

So what is it with certain foods (and drinks) getting the boys vs. girls treatment? There may be a few male stars — like Joaquin Phoenix and Tobey Maguire who are vegetarians, and women may be joining the ranks of bloody-aproned butchers, but in the American consciousness, real men still don't eat quiche and women stick with chocolate, tofu and yogurt. This could easily be the handiwork of the evil geniuses on Madison Avenue, but might these clichés also arise from some long-buried grain of truth? Are genetic differences responsible for our gendered eating? How many of our eating patterns come from gender socialization, and how many are hereditary? And why is it that food rarely seems to be categorized this way outside the U.S.?

Marcia Pelchat is a sensory psychologist specializing in food and beverage selection at the Monell Chemical Senses Center. Women, she said, are genetically predisposed to prefer sweeter tastes, with greater sensitivity to bitterness. As a result, cocktails and alcoholic drinks aimed at women tend to be sweet — as an attempt to mask the burn — and colorful (because, you know, pink will make anything more palatable). Drinks for men, on the other hand, tend to let the bitterness take the fore: "Men who drink hoppy drinks don't just not notice the bitter taste, they actually like it," Pelchat said.

Others, like Yale University’s David Katz, said some of our gender-driven eating can be explained by evolution. Men, as hunters, see meat as a reward and also need more protein than woman in order to build muscle mass. "Men and women have differences in physiology which might have to do with access to different kinds of food," said Katz, who is the director of Yale’s Prevention Research Center. That is, the different caloric requirements of men and women may be because we had differing access to foods as cavemen and cavewomen. We’re only continuing along those patterns today.

1 comment:

mherzog said...

Here is a good video on meat: