One thing I often hear in the Atkins Community is how it seems like men lose weight faster than women once they start a low carb diet. Guys cut out pizza and beer for a week and they’re ten pounds lighter while a woman may feel like every pound she loses is a hard-fought battle. Well, a new study I co-authored shows that this might be true, but that women also experienced some important health benefits early on.
Researchers from the University of Missouri School of Medicine gave 20 middle-aged pre-diabetic men and women low carb meals (some provided by Atkins) for two weeks, and then gave them additional guidance for planning and preparing low carb meals for the next two weeks. And the end of four weeks, the men lost 6.3 percent of their body weight, while the women lost 4.4 percent. But, in addition to tracking weight loss, we also measured something called arterial stiffness. As women age, their blood vessels stiffen more than men’s blood vessels do. Obesity, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome also increase this. When your blood vessels are stiff, it makes it more difficult for blood to flow through them, increasing your risk of heart disease. After four weeks on a low carb diet, arterial and aortic stiffness decreased for the women, while there was no change for the men.
So, as a woman, you will lose weight at a slower pace than men on a low carb diet, but in the meantime, while the men start winning the battle of the bulge first, you win the race at decreasing your risk for heart disease.