Could sugar be the underlying problem for women trying to lose weight in menopause?
We’ve got the media telling us weight loss is hard if not impossible after 50 (some doctors have even told my clients that!)
And you’ve either experienced…
Never struggling with your weight but all of a sudden you’ve got a muffin top.
OR you’ve struggled all your life but have always been able to shift the weight when you got serious – but those quick fixes aren’t working anymore!
Just so you know – you’re not imagining the changes, and dropping estrogen levels are largely responsible for making weight more difficult to shift.
One of the reasons is that prior to menopause, estrogen kept insulin in check.
But once estrogen levels start to decline, many women find that their doctor is telling them their blood sugar levels are too high, and they are pre-diabetic – what the heck!
And insulin also tells the body to store fat – talk about menopausal mayhem!
However, studies have shown that when women eliminate processed sugar and flour (which acts like sugar) it levels the playing field.
Meaning menopausal women are able to release weight as long as part of their strategy is ditching processed sugar.
Now if you’ve been following me for a while you know I have a sweet tooth.
So you’ll be pleased to know this doesn’t mean abstaining from desserts it just means we have to get smart with our choices.
This looks like desserts and sweet treats that come from whole foods.
When sugar comes in its whole food form, it comes with fiber.
Fiber is also the KEY to a healthy microbiome which is responsible for at least 70% of your immunity and a tonne of other health benefits.
Fiber is ONLY found in plants – fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and lentils (plus some fiber in nuts, seeds, olives, & avocados – but they are mainly healthy fats).
When food is eaten with the fiber intact, it slows down the release of sugar into the bloodstream.
So there’s a BIG difference between eating whole fruit and drinking fruit juice.
The sugar in fruit is attached to fiber, which the body has to individually detach (using enzymes) so that the sugar can enter the bloodstream.
Detaching the sugar molecules takes time, so sugar only trickles into the bloodstream, and insulin is able to keep up, letting sugar into the cells, so your blood sugar levels only gently rise and fall.
This means insulin is kept in check and can’t go on a fat-storing rampage AND you don’t go down the insulin resistance & diabetes path.
However when you drink fruit juice, there is no fiber, so the sugar rushes into the bloodstream like a tsunami and sets off a cascade of events that not only trigger the additive part of the brain but also causes excess insulin to be released, as the body works overtime trying to bring down your sugar levels.
The tsunami sugar analogy occurs with all processed sugar foods, like cakes, biscuits, chocolate, etc.
Just as a side note the fiber is also going to remove unwanted estrogen that the body has tagged for elimination.
This is super important because constipation leads to toxins and unwanted estrogen sitting around in the large intestine, and can be reabsorbed back into the body!
You might like to check out my Black Bean brownies or purchase my Thriving on Plants cookbook which has all sorts of sweet treats like Banana Oat cookies, Sweet potato pudding, and old-fashioned favourites like Baked apples.
If you find yourself with a few more questions and would like to explore how I can support you then book a complimentary 30-minute Mini Menopause assessment and let’s chat.
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