Women may be hard-wired to overeat, according to a new study of why men diet more successfully than women. A little-understood mechanism in the brain appears to give women less self control when it comes to dieting. Researchers speculate that women have evolved to crave food for pregnancy and lactation. Study volunteers first had to fast and then were shown a wide variety of tempting food.
Both men and women exhibited brain activity in scans when shown the food, but men's brain activity in certain regions slowed significantly more than women's when told to control their desire to eat the food. "Men following a diet are able to lose about 10% of their weight over a three-month period," said the study leaders. "Women manage a decrease of only about 5%. We need to understand which areas of the brain are involved."