YMCA Healthy Living Magazine, powered by n4 food and health (Spring 2014) - Page 6
KATE SAVE, APD
Kate Save is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian and Exercise
Physiologist. She is the director of Peninsula Physical health and
Nutrition (PPN), with locations include Mornington, Frankston,
Sorrento, Rosebud, Somerville and Langwarrrin (VIC). Find out more
about Kate at www.n4foodandhealth.com
Have you ever wondered why a lot of men seem to be able to
eat anything they want and their weight doesn’t change? Yet if
some women even glance at those same foods they tend to
gain weight? Unfortunately we are not all created equal!
Nutrition expert, Kate Save explains.
he physiological reasons for
increased weight gain in women,
compared to men can include:
• A woman’s metabolism is about 15
per cent slower than a man’s.
• Women have approximately 40 to 50
per cent less upper body muscle
mass than men, which means they
burn less calories.
• Women’s bodies are better at
lipogenesis (fat creation and storage)
and men’s bodies are better at
lipolysis (fat breakdown).
• Women must carry a minimum of 13
per cent body fat, for essential
functioning and reproduction. This is
compared to men, who only need a
minimum of three per cent body fat
(although do note that 20 to 25 per
cent body fat in women, and 10 to
15 per cent in men is recommended
• Women’s heart and lung capacities
are one third smaller than men’s,
which means that when exercising,
men often find it easier due to their
increased oxygen levels and
Additionally, some psycho-social
reasons for the weight gain discrepancy
between genders, may include:
• There is a greater tendency for
women to eat emotionally, due to
• Traditionally, females are surrounded
by more food temptations than men,
due to the familial responsibilities of
food purchasing and preparation.
• Traditionally, females are less likely
to work in labour-intensive positions
in the workforce than men and,
therefore, tend to burn less calories
in everyday life.
So what can women do to minimise their
chances of gaining additional body fat?
The first change that should be made is
to become more physically active, either
by doing more incidental activity or more
planned exercise. Did you know that
following a high intensity bout of exercise,
the rate of metabolism is elevated for up
to 38 hours after you’ve finished? This
effect is called “EPOC (Excess PostExercise Oxygen Consumption)”, which
is also known as the “afterburn”. With
regular aerobic exercise, this postexercise energy expenditure will positively
contribute to helping achieve any weight
Secondly, women should change their
diet in order to help increase their
metabolism. One of the most important
ways this can be achieved is by eating
regularly. Dieting and skipping meals,
YMCA HEALTHY LIVING MAGAZINE SPRING 2014
especially breakfast, tells the body it’s
in a famine and tends not work in your
favour in terms of long term or
permanent weight loss.
Skipping meals results in a
metabolic disaster, which may
unfold like this:
Your hunger cells turn on and your
satiety cells (sense of fullness) switch
off. So, if you are overweight, even
though you have plenty of fat stores,
the brain behaves as if you are starving.
A consequence of this is the loss of
conscious signals that tell you when
you are full and when you are hungry.
A common sign that this is occurring in
overweight people is that they don’t
feel hungry when they get up in the
morning, which of course, may then
result in skipping breakfast.
Unfortunately, what then happens is
the brain interprets this as a signal for
more starvation, and further shuts
down the metabolism. This is why one
of the biggest risk factors for obesity is
By improving your diet and getting an
individualised exercise program, you’ll
be able to get your metabolism working
in your favour!