Diet duo

By Carrie Johnson Weimar • Published: April 30th, 2009
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Imagine the frustration: A husband and wife decide to diet together. After just a few weeks, the husband is down to his target weight. Yet his wife has barely lost a pound.

It’s a scenario that’s all too familiar to some. But now researchers have discovered there may be a scientific reason why women have a harder time losing weight than men, news that could provide insight into higher obesity rates among women.

According to a recent study, women may have a harder time suppressing hunger. Scientists from the Brookhaven National Laboratory quizzed women and men about their favorite foods. Their answers ranged from pizza to cinnamon buns to burgers to chocolate cake.

Next, participants were asked to fast overnight. The next morning, they were hooked up to a brain scan. In addition, they were taught a special calming technique that was supposed to help them suppress thoughts of food and hunger.

While both men and women said the technique decreased their hunger, the scans showed the men’s brain activity actually decreased, while the part of the women’s brains that responds to food remained active.

Why is this? Some scientists think it may be evolutionary, since females are often called upon to provide food for their young. So their bodies may be hard-wired to eat whenever possible.

So maybe dieting as a couple may not be the best road to marital harmony. Just tell your spouse that some things are best done solo.