Women Store Fat More Efficiently Than Men

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

Women store fat more efficiently than men. Women have more difficulty losing fat while consuming fewer calories. A new review of the facts shows that perhaps women have an advantage in the way we store fat.

Estrogen may be the cause of why and how women differ from men when comparing difficulty with weight loss, and body composition. We all know women tend to store fat in the belly, hips and thighs.

Women have six to eleven percent more body fat than men, on average. A review from University of Wales researchers suggests that women store fat more efficiently than men.

To date, there has been no good explanation of why women have more body fat than men, especially if we exercise the same, and have the same energy expenditures. Reducing calories does not make a difference – women still store fat. It starts during puberty. Women gain fat early in pregnancy, despite no increase in calorie intake.


Associate Professor Anthony O'Sullivan, from University of New South Wales, and author of the review explains, “Female puberty and early pregnancy – times of increased estrogen – could be seen as states of efficient fat storage in preparation for fertility, fetal development and lactation.”

Storing fat give women a biological advantage. Women store fat because it is efficient. Estrogen prevents calorie expenditure, and prevents women from burning energy the same way men do.

The review, published in the journal Obesity Review, does not address why women become obese. The researchers suggest more studies to find out which combinations of genetic and environmental factors cause obesity in women.

The scientific review suggests that estrogen makes women store fat more efficiently than men, giving us a biological advantage in preparation for pregnancy and lactation. Women start storing fat during puberty. We may just have to live with that.



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