Harvard Men's Health Watch

Good nutrition: Should guidelines differ for men and women?

In the stereotypical Ozzie and Harriet family of the 1950s, men ruled the roost while women ruled the roast. That's no longer true (if it ever was), but in most households women are still in charge of nutrition. They stock the pantry, plan the menus, and fill the plates. In most households it's a good thing, since the average woman knows more about nutrition than the average man. But when it comes to optimal nutrition, there are differences between the sexes. The differences are subtle, but they may affect a man's health.

Here is a quick summary of the similarities and differences in dietary guidelines for men and women.

Calories

Men and women are 98.5% identical in their DNA, and their nutritional needs are more similar than different. That's certainly true of calories; in this case, at least, men act just like big women.

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