On any given day, more than half of women in the U.S. are on a diet. In hopes of slimming their figures, millions take on Atkins, South Beach, Lean for Life or Hollywood 48. Some never eat after 5 p.m.; others only eat Subway sandwiches. While the diet industry has a less than noble reputation, it’s clear that American women, far more than men, remain obsessed with dieting. But what can evolutionary biology tell us about gender difference and eating habits?
In a new book called “Why Women Need Fat,” Steven J.C. Gaulin, an evolutionary biologist, and William D. Lassek, a retired doctor of public health at the University of Pittsburgh, explain the science behind women’s unique relationship to their diet. In the book, Lassek and Gaulin make a surprising argument for a more positive outlook on fat and illustrate the differences between the ways women and men gain weight. Think of it as the evolutionary biology diet.