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Term Paper - Gender & Food: Sweets (5)

Next to alcohol, a further “extra point” concerning the differences of what men and women eat are the sweets. So this blog will be about the behavior of men and women in regard to the amount of sweets as well as the reasons for eating them plus the consequences of this consumption.

Out of my survey I gained results in regard to the favorite sweets of the male relatively female persons who took part in the study. Salient here is the favor for chocolate on both sides. On the side of the women, it was a share of over 70%, on the side of the men at least over 40% who prefer chocolate. Another salient aspect I acquired with the help of my study is that there is no significantly difference in the frequency of men and women in regard of the consumption of sweets. On both sides, male and female, there were many persons who daily consume candies and Co. or at least very often during the week (in average five times [male] respectively six times [female]). So all in all, it depends on the different groups within the genders, why there are differences existing. British nutritionists found out through a study with nearly 2000 adults that the groups with the highest consumption of sweets can be divided in rather slimmer men and overweight women. The big difference between these two groups is that usually the men stay slim while the women become even fatter. The reasons for this fact are various:
Firstly, men eat sweets which approximately contain less calories like for example fruit gums, pralines and sweet pastries. All these things preferred by men are either less thick-making or at least more substantial so that other meals or snacks fall out. British researches had the result that single sugar inhibits the appetite by men which is again biological caused as by the digestion of alcohol. Completely different looks the side of the women. They on the one side prefer sweets with a high level of calories like for instance pudding, biscuits, full milk chocolate, cakes, crèmes, and desserts and so on, which are in addition not filling hunger. To demonstrate the different calorie contains of sweets which are generally preferred by men respectively women, in case of 100 g of nut-nougat-crème and the same amount of gummy bears, the proportion is 540 to 200 kcal. So on the other side, women nibble as often as men relatively a little bit oftener without letting drop any repast. These are some of the main causes why sweets cause the concerned women such problems.
Secondly, men eat sweets due to different reasons than women. The male hunger for sweets is partly determined through the need of sugar in the brain. When men feel difficulties in regard of their mental capacity they betake to candies. This is in so far very advantageous as that the demand of consuming sweets usually decreases which can be seen as a kind of “protection” for excessive eating of sweets.
Another interesting thing are the for many women typical regular cravings for chocolate.  According to recent studies, nearly 90% of the women (for comparison on the men’s side it is 20% less) get these attacks for chocolate. The answer is that women use chocolate not only to get sugar but also to receive primary products which are responsible for producing happiness-causing substances as endorphins (inhibits pain and causes euphorically sentiments) and serotonins. The latter named substance is the so-called “good-mood-hormone” because it effects a silent and balanced mood. As a result, if the serotonin level in the brain is higher, this also affects our mood in a positive way and of course the other way around. The problem concerning the women and their thick-making attacks on chocolate is that to certain times the level of serotonins as well as endorphins is quite low in comparison to the usual one. This is the case in the last weeks of the women’s cycle, after the ovulation. So this is also a biological aspect working “against” the female population.
But there is a further aspect influencing the women’s demand for sweets which already arose in regard to the reasons for drinking alcohol. There it was the case that men see alcohol as a relief valve to conquer respectively supplanting their sorrows. Here, concerning especially the sweets, chocolate has the part of being a comforter for depressed and desperate women. This emotional aspect is caused by the attitude of main parts of the society. From the beginning, girls receive chocolate in particular when they are sad, whereas boys rather get some chocolate as a reward. So girls in a way “learn” to improve their negative mood by eating some chocolate and as a consequence rather become emotional eaters.
All these facts, the sorts of sweets, saturation- as well as calories-level and biological aspects of providing sugar and eventually happiness hormones, are responsible that in fact there are no extreme differences in the amount of consuming sweets but doubtless in regard to the reasons why the eat them as well as what the “consequences” are.

11.6.11 19:08

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