Men and women process food differently. When dieting side by side, men appear to shed pounds easier and more quickly than women do. But is that really the case?

According to Greg Caporaso, assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Northern Arizona University and assistant director of the Center for Microbial Genetics and Genomics, diet affects men’s and women’s stomach microbes differently, even when identical foods have been eaten.

In addition, according to the paper “Lower sedentary metabolic rate in women compared with men,” R. Ferraro, S. Lillioja, A.M. Fontvieille, R. Rising, C. Bogardus, and E. Ravussin, affiliated with the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and National Institutes of Health, Phoenix, and published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, on average, women’s total energy expenditure, which is the number of calories burned for metabolic needs, including breathing, blood circulation, digestion and physical activity, is around 5 to 10 percent lower than men’s.

The composition of the female body also differs from the composition of the male body. Men have more muscle mass and less body fat than women, which also can contribute to how easily men may be able to shed weight. Maintaining that muscle mass can push their metabolisms even further.

According to the Poliquin Group, producers of unique weight training fitness programs and supplements, the following factors also come into play.

l At rest, women burn more glucose (sugars and starches) but less fat than men.

l Men and women burn and store body fat differently.

l Stress can inhibit fat loss in women.

l Diet trends, including fasting and calorie restriction, tend to be more beneficial for men than women.

To overcome these factors, women can work with their doctors, trainers and nutritionists to develop plans that take their metabolisms into consideration.

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