Feed the Boys More Fat! Why Boys Need More Fat than Girls

Fat is delicious, nutritious and an outrageously important part of our diets. It’s true, I promise! Don’t close me now! While children and adults of all ages must include essential fatty acids in their diets or risk becoming deficient and sick, here’s the low-down on why boys needs more fat in their diet than girls. It’s time to feed the boys more fat!

Essential Fatty Acids

Essential fatty acids are made up of two families: Omega 3’s & Omega 6’s. The latter are common enough in contemporary diets (safflower and sunflower oil, mayonnaise etc.) – but many people walking the streets today are doing so with inadequate amounts of Omega 3’s to keep them company. These fats are called essential because our bodies cannot synthesize them independently – we must get them from our diet. So many, however, lack these good fats because we are told to eat margarine instead of butter, skim instead of whole milk and egg beaters instead of full eggs.

Why boys need more fat than girls - feed the boys more fat

Why Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are Important

  • EFAs are an important component of every cell membrane in the body
  • The brain is made of 60% fat
  • Connections in the brain (synapses) require long-chain fatty acids to be efficient
  • EFAs are required for optimal fetal and infant brain development
  • The corpus collosum (a sheet-like bundle of nerves that connects the right and left brain hemispheres) is made of fat
  • The myelin sheath which covers nerves and speeds up signal transmissions is also made of fat
  • Most interestingly to me: The forebrain (the part of the brain used for sustained attention) – has the highest concentration (30% of the total brain fat) of DHA (an Omega 3). Hi-five from every mom of a boy!

Research on Boys Vs. Girls

Boys and girls are different – they play differently, have different ways of thinking (and different attention spans), and different biological makings. As a result, research is finding that they also have different nutritional requirements. Studies done with rhesus monkeys showed that mothers produced milk with 35% more fat and protein for male babies, and milk made for female babies was less fatty but higher in calcium.

Researchers based at Michigan State University studied 72 Kenyan mothers and found that women with sons generally made richer milk (2.8% fat compared with 0.6% for daughters). Another study of (well-nourished) Massachusetts’ moms discovered that they too produced milk that had 25% more energy content for boys than for girls.

Our bodies are total miracles! They know what they need 🙂 And in the case of boys – we need to get the message out. Little boys need 3 times the amount of essential fatty acids than little girls. This may be because estrogen is a fatty carrier and testosterone isn’t (and it explains how frustratingly difficult it can be for us women to lose weight, while men workout once and drop 5lbs).

Studies old and new have found that many hyperactive children were deficient in essential fatty acids. Ever notice how learning and behavioral difficulties are much more prevalent in the tiny dudes? Feed the boys more fat! Recent research out of Purdue University found that boys with lower Omega 3 blood levels were significantly more likely to exhibit hyperactivity, impulsivity, tantrums, sleep problems and anxiety.

How to Feed the Boys More Fat

  • Add some flaxseed or chia seeds to their oatmeal or mashed up banana (or sprinkle it into hummus, soup, or stew)
  • Add a tablespoon of high quality cod liver oil into their daily routine
  • Serve some walnuts with a meal or as a snack
  • Increase their intake of eggs (read about the other benefits of egg consumption here)
  • Allow for the liberal use of grass-fed butter and whole milk
  • Occasional seafood
  • Steam some brussel sprouts or kale with a meal

There is so much documented and anecdotal evidence of these foods helping to tame unreasonably rambunctious boys – and I’ve certainly seen a difference at times when we forget to include some of those sources for a few days. So share this message with a friend – and tell a mom at the end of her rope… there is hope 🙂 (look at that, a rhyme!) Down with Ritalin and in with the fat!

69 thoughts on “Feed the Boys More Fat! Why Boys Need More Fat than Girls”

  1. Oh, we’re all about the fat in our house! I’ve never specifically drawn the conclusion, though I have heard the research before, in terms of fat and boys and breastmilk. So, thanks for highlighting and bringing this to my attention (again)! We shoot for pure butter, whole milk, and of course eggs – wonderful powerhouse eggs! 🙂

    1. Awesome!! That’s so wonderful to hear 🙂 Thanks for stopping by Kendall – love what you’re doing!

    1. YES! It totally is!! One of the easiest ways I’ve seen it done is to simply melt some coconut oil into oatmeal/porridge in the morning for them :). 3 tbsp a day has had some amazing results for people!

    1. Right on 🙂 Good for you! There are so many little habits we can adopt that make serious differences!

  2. This was interesting! I didn’t actually know that but it surely makes sense. Good fats are pretty essential for all of us so for little boys it makes no harm to add an extra dose. Thanks for this tip!

  3. I’m a mom of four boys. Thank you for this info. Realistically, chia seeds may never happen, but butter, olives, and fish we can certainly manage! Thanks!

    1. So glad this is useful for you April! 4 boys!! you must have your hands full – way to go 🙂 🙂 Good luck with integrating some of these sources of good fat!

    1. Thanks Lex :). So glad it’s helpful for you! Please do share it with others who think will benefit from it!

  4. I’ve never had any experience with raising boys but this is very good information. I had no idea they need more of the “good” fat than the girls and well, it does make a lot of sense when you think about it. These are very good tips on how to make up for the fat that they need as well, I hope a lot of parents read them!

    1. Thanks so much Elizabeth :). Please feel free to share with anyone you think it might be useful for! Appreciate you stopping by!

    1. Hi Saminu! The good news is that it’s not dietary fat (esp not omega 3’s) that make us fat… In many cases they help us burn more of it (and keep us full longer so we eat less overall)

  5. Fatty acids are just as important as eating all the healthy stuff, I don’t think people understand that. Great post !

    1. Thanks so much Kerry! It’s time we get the word out eh? So many untruths floating around out there!

  6. I have a little girl so this doesn’t apply to me but I do have one very hyperactive godson! I’m definitely going to tell my best friend all about this and share your link with her as she is at the end of her tether with what to do with him xx

  7. Wow this is new to me, i didn’t know men’s body reacts differently when it comes to fats.. I know that fats are very essential to our body except when we consume too much food with bad fats right?

    1. Exactly- the fats in processed foods are no good – but the natural ones I mentioned (and things like avocados) are so important!

    1. Eugenia – glad it was useful for you! I think there are a lot of mom who could benefit from this!

  8. This is so helpful! Wow I had no idea. I need to make sure I get my act together for my son 🙂 Thank you for sharing this at the Happy Now link-Up! I am so happy you did!

    1. Oh Jen – I’m so happy you found this useful 🙂 I hope you see the wonderful difference we did!

  9. I’ll make sure to have my sons have the right intake of essential fatty acids. Thanks for providing a list of food where these can be gotten from.

    1. Yes! It can be such a challenge in today’s climate of convenience foods – but the payoff for prudence is enormous 🙂

  10. This was interesting. i though fat was bad be it for boys or girls. actually with food and nutrition there is so much of myth doing the rounds that it gets difficult to separate myth from facts.

    1. Hi Subhadrika – I agree – it can be so hard to know what is true… but look into this one 🙂 Lots of good evidence to back it up! I hope you’ll consider it 🙂

  11. I’ve read some great books lately that affirm what you’ve said; it seems that while fat got such a bad name over the years, refined sugar was the real culprit all along.

    1. You got it Katie 🙂 Everyone essentially took out the fat and replaced it with high fructose corn syrup to make it taste good… and that’s why people have continued to get sicker instead of being healed!

  12. I am only 18, but I do sometimes think about children and I imagine that a bit terrifying, what if I do something wrong for my kid? So this post was really helping, the proper diet is important for development.

    1. Hi Borka – so great that you’re even starting to think about this! Good for you 🙂 I’m glad this was helpful!

    1. Now is a great time to get healthy – way to go Lizelle 🙂 Hope you are finding the journey fruitful so far – it’s an adjustment re-learning the dietary guidelines so many of us took for granted!

    1. It is interesting isn’t it…. So different from conventional wisdom! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  13. Great article, very informative! I had never really thought about that before; theres so much misinformation out their in regards to health, particularly children’s which is sad.

    1. Thanks Ashleigh – I’m glad it’s helpful! I agree about the misinformation – time to get the word out 🙂

  14. This post is interesting to read. I don’t have kids but thanks for sharing this amazing information that boys need more fats than girls!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Ana! I think it’s great when people who don’t even have kids yet read this kind of information and think about it 🙂

  15. I noticed this during my last pregnancy! I was so much hungrier with my son than I was when I was pregnant with my daughter! I craved eggs, avocados, and other foods with fat. It’s so amazing how our bodies work!

  16. My five-year-old son would eat a pound of bacon at a sitting if I would let him. He is the ultimate carnivore. I’ve tried to hide avocado and other good fats in his food, as well. Thanks for explaining why no sausage is safe around my son! I’m visiting from the Best of the Blogosphere Link Up.

    1. hahah, that’s hilarious!! I love the visual of a quaking sausage hiding behind a pancake… thanks for that – and for stopping by Jennifer!

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