Ever wondered why your husband was able to shed 10 kilos in just two months while you were still trying to get used to dieting? Well, then here’s the answer for you: men are more likely to resist a plate full of tempting treats than women.
That’s the conclusion of a new study, which involved a group of 23 volunteers, and has been published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
In the experiment, the volunteers did not eat for a day and were then asked to suppress all thoughts of food.
When questioned further, the male participants reported fewer hunger pangs and fewer cravings for food.
Then, by using a brain scanner, scientists tried to see if this was backed up by differences in the patterns of brain activation between men and women.
After the men were told to resist their cravings, there was far less activity in regions of the brain called the amygdala, hippocampus, orbitofrontal cortex and striatum, reports the BBC.
The men seemed to do better and brain scans later revealed they had far less activity than the women in a part of the brain linked to desire for food.
The researchers say this ability to "switch off" thoughts of food may explain lower rates of obesity in men.
The researchers wrote: "Lower cognitive control of brain responses to food stimulation in women compared to men may contribute to gender differences in the prevalence rates of obesity and other eating disorders."
"Men are more single-minded than women and tend to commit themselves more. Women on the other hand are much more concerned with the needs for others around them,” Dr Ian Campbell, medical director of the charity Weight Concern, said.
"The second reason is oestrogen. Women have plently, and men don't. Oestrogen works to promote weight gain, or resist weight loss, in women and makes it harder for them to lose weight.
"This study demonstrates the need for weight management programmes to recognise the different needs of different genders, ages, and social and cultural backgrounds. The diet that works best, is the one you want to do,” he added.