This section is from the book "Practical Dietetics With Special Reference To Diet In Disease", by William Gilman Thompson. Also available from Amazon: Practical Dietetics with Special Reference to Diet in Disease.
The relation of sex in regard to food affects the quantity rather than the quality, excepting among a few rude tribes where superstition is allowed full sway. The northern. Eskimos, for instance, have a belief that if women eat eggs they cannot become pregnant, which is in curious contrast to the reputation for aphrodisiac effects which this food has among civilised people! Women eat less food than men relatively because their average size is smaller, and also absolutely because they do less work and lead a more indoor life. The difference is slight, and when other conditions are equalised the question of sex has very little influence upon the quantity of food consumed.
Generally speaking, women's digestive processes are somewhat less active than men's, and they have greater tendency to constipation. The accepted standards for woman as compared with man are as follows: The meal of a woman equals 0.8 of the meal of a man; a woman with little muscular work demands 80 grammes protein, and a total food value of 2,400 calories; at moderate muscular work woman requires 90 grammes protein and 2,800 calories; man with little muscular work requires 112 grammes protein and 3,000 calories, and at moderate muscular work 125 grammes protein and 3,500 calories.
About the only way in which sex affects the quality of food consumed is in the somewhat greater fondness for sweets and confectionery exhibited by females, but this can be shown to be due more to other considerations of habit and custom than to sex. The use of tobacco and alcohol by many men, for instance, makes them care less for such foods.