Wednesday, April 20, 2011


The relationship of a person with food is a complex issue that should be appropriately addressed when looking for optimal health. Although cost, convenience, and taste are the three main determinants of alimentary habits, there are other factors that may contribute or not to the right path to optimal health.

A very interesting study has appeared in the journal APPETITE . Authors of this study (Matthew Ruby and Steven Heine from the University of British Columbia) believe that virtue and masculinity have something
to do with people{s food choices. This is why I have title this post Real Men Eat Meat.

In fact, according to this study:
"…meat is often viewed as an archetypal food for men, with many men not considering a meal without meat to be a "real" meal, and the concept of the strong and hearty "meat and potatoes man" abounds." 

Which basically means that men may choose to eat meat because meat eating is associated with manhood, power, and virility (in addition to perceived nutritional properties or sensorial characteristics).

When comparing perceived views regarding omnivorous vs. vegetarian subjects, the study states:
"people infer a stronger sense of virtue and morality in those who abstain from eating meat. Especially for male targets, participants perceived vegetarians as less masculine than omnivores…."

"…purposefully abstaining from meat, a widely established symbol of power, status, and masculinity, it seems that the vegetarian man is perceived as more principled, but less manly, than his omnivorous counterpart." 

The results of this study highlight the importance of considering additional factors (other than cost, convenience, and taste) to design, implement, and follow nutritional plan for people who are looking for optimal health. The general advice of eat more vegetables and fruits could find some sort of resistance by men who may look at the advice as leaning to become, or be perceived by others, as less masculine.

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