The way to a man’s heart, we were always told, was through his stomach. After a hard day’s work, a sure-fire way of keeping a man happy was to feed him well. In days past, men rarely thought of eating the right food.
To some extent, that continues till today. Women on the other hand, have and still continue to be careful eaters — barring a few.
Following the rules
Says Jacob Jamesraj, senior consultant cardiac surgeon, Madras Medical Mission: “I am not sure if there is a significant gender bias when it comes to making the right food choices. But, generally speaking, women are more compliant when it comes to healthy eating. However, only when a man fusses over his health and appearance does he eat right. A lot depends on the milieu the person comes from and the level of education. I remember reading somewhere that men who marry educated women tend to live longer because they eat the right food.”
Jayashree Padmagirisan, a finance executive, says: “Women eat right for health reasons, men for reasons of fitness.” Speaking for herself, she says her intentions are in place, but the difficulty is in honouring them. “I do have a certain amount of discipline — such as having fruit juices in the morning, drinking lots of water, and not eating out more than once a week, but I can’t go back to being the super lean person I was.”
However, there are the likes of Sudheendra (name changed), a placement consultant, who says: “Tomorrow is another day. You live only once, and you may as well eat what you like.”
Fitness expert Ramji Srinivasan cautions that all this false bravado and philosophy (typical of men) is very well as long as things are fine.
However, the moment there is a health problem on account of indiscriminate eating, pessimism sets in.
Women, in contrast, are conscious of what they consume, when they are in a fitness programme. Women are also the ones to visit nutritionists — men usually don’t bother. So much so that even if they can’t sign up for an exercise programme, they regulate their diet.
Explaining why men slip up, Manoj, an executive, says that when in the age group of 25 to 45, they are usually neck deep in their careers.
And, often this involves a fair amount of travel. “When travelling, it’s not always possible to find healthy food, and they give in to the urge to experiment. The other thing is that they are a little lazy to make that extra effort.”
Avinash Deshmukh, food and beverage manager, Sheraton Park Hotel and Towers, says: “When it comes to social dining, men used to be less careful than women. But, today both genders are more aware about what’s good and what’s not — especially well-heeled travellers. Food choices are driven by the women at the table and the children too.”