Woo-hoo! Being a beefcake is a true blessing. Not only does your body becomes a 'crowd stopper', you also end up attracting most women. But wait, there's a downside of all that brawn: poor immune system and an increased appetite.
That's the conclusion of a new study.
According to William Lassek, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who led the new study, such evolutionary costs could explain why males of our species do not all look like He-Man.
"In some respects I was surprised at how big the costs were... something I hadn't anticipated," New Scientist quoted him as saying.
Multifarious studies have concluded that ladies tend to prefer more toned men, and muscle-bound men tend to have more sexual partners than slender men.
However, previous research has also suggested that musculature comes with a cost. Testosterone, a hormone that promotes secondary muscle growth, suppresses the immune system of all animals, including people.
But no one examined both the positives and negatives of big muscles in a single population -- up till now.
In the latest study, Lassek analysed data from more than 5,000 men, aged 18 to 49. They participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, between 1988 and 1994.
The beefier the man the more sexual partners he had, Lassek confirmed.
In the same men, muscle mass did a better job of predicting caloric intake than body mass index (BMI), age, or activity levels. And revealed that hunky men are going hungry more often.
Compared to skinnies, muscular men also tended to produce fewer infection-fighting white blood cells and less of an important immune molecule called C-reactive protein, which helps destroy pathogens.
The study has been published in the journal Evolution and Human Behaviour.
Illustration: Uttam Ghosh