Are women more efficient than men at burning fat during exercise?

Recent studies have found that women are more efficient than men at burning fat during exercise. And because they have a better efficiency at losing this fat, female athletes have an advantage in endurance activities like marathons. 

One researcher says, “Our study found that females typically have a greater reliance upon fat as a fuel source during exercise than males. Understanding the mechanisms behind these sex differences in fuel use may help explain why being female seems to confer a metabolic advantage for insulin sensitivity, an important marker of metabolic health." 

Additionally, many studies seem to conclude that fat oxidation is higher in women. In a study of 300 men and women, the sample size’s fat oxidation was measured over a wide range of intensities. The results show that women were slightly better at oxidizing fat than men. Their peak fat oxidation was just over 10% higher, and this happened at a higher exercise intensity. In other words, women had an upwards shift of the fat oxidation curve compared with men. So based on these findings, women are better at burning fat than men, and might be more suitable for very prolonged endurance exercise where fat is the main fuel.

Other findings support previous evidence that women may be better able to stay strong during long workouts, runs, or other physical activity than men. However, it is important to remember that the body's ability to burn fat should not be equated with an ability to lose weight. Losing weight is primarily produced by an energy deficit (ie. consuming fewer calories than we expend). For weight loss, in particular where individuals might be overweight, it is important to diet and exercise.

So calling all women: Start exercising today to burn off belly fat! A healthy lifestyle will help you to refresh your body and mind.

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