Do Men Really Hate Their Vegetables?

The HealthGal Health Guide
  • Yes, that was the recent shocking headline in the news.  Men seem to have avoidance issues when it comes to eating vegetables.  The study published in the Journal of Consumer Research suggests an association (real or perceived) between masculinity and meat.  The researchers wanted to look at masculinity and how it interacts with consumption of meat – especially what they call "muscle meat" like steak.  In fact, they call it a metaphoric connection and they suggest that people do associate the attributes of men with a carniverous-based appetite.


    The studies took place in the US and Great Britain, but the authors of the study also examined 23 languages that use gender related pronouns.  Across all the languages being a meat-eater was associated with a masculine edge.  The significance suggests that a guy who considers himself macho, muscular, All-American, strong or uses other male adjectives, typically eats meat or meat-containing foods.  Plant-based foods like soy do not appear at this point to conjure up a tough man image.  And that may raise a small alarm since we do know that there is an association between a diet containing fruits and vegetables and some plant-based proteins and optimal health. 

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    There is a theory in psychology called “the theory of planned behavior” and it looks at the connection between people’s beliefs and people’s behaviors.  The researchers focused on three beliefs that should motivate people to eat more healthfully.  The Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus principles are also a bit at work here.  So this is a great opportunity for food companies, especially fruit and vegetable producers and branding firms, to get together and figure out ways to make fruits and vegetables more sexy and macho for men!!


    It also falls on the shoulders of women to try and get men to consume more plant-based foods.  Having cut up and clean ready-to-grab fruits and vegetables available in the frig and displayed during meals can help.  Using stealth nutrition, which is an approach typically used in the kitchen to boost kid’s consumption of fruits and vegetables may be necessary, but if the men like the taste of the meatloaf that has pureed cherries, or the soup that has pureed broccoli and cauliflower, or the guacamole dip that is mostly made from soybeans, then it’s important to do a recipe reveal!!  Another trick that helps kids to eat more vegetables and fruit is to provide a dip and that presentation may appeal to macho guys who like chips and dip.  In fact, you can surprise your football fan by creating a gorgeous display of cut up veggies and a variety of healthy dips for Saturday football viewing with his friends.  Who knows?? You may just start a new feeding frenzy that other wives and girlfriends may mimic too!!


    (Some information sourced from Today Health at

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Published On: September 10, 2012