If unwanted weight gain makes menopause even more miserable, you’re not alone. Hormonal changes and slowed metabolism during this life stage can wreak havoc on your waistline. But effective diets and supplements specifically targeted for managing menopause weight gain are available.
This article explores diets like the Mediterranean diet, intermittent fasting, and some diet pills and supplements for menopause weight gain that are highly recommended based on clinical research. Follow these strategies to shed those stubborn pounds and regain your confidence in midlife.
There are a few diets and dietary strategies that can help with menopausal weight gain:
1. Low Glycemic Diet:
Aiming for foods that have a low impact on blood sugar and insulin can help maintain stable energy levels and hormone balance. This includes plenty of non-starchy veggies, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
A low glycemic diet can benefit women over 40 experiencing menopause and weight gain. The glycemic index measures how quickly foods cause blood sugar and insulin levels to rise after eating. High glycemic index foods spike insulin and glucose sharply, while low glycemic index foods result in a gentler rise.
During menopause, women experience fluctuations in hormones like estrogen that impact how the body stores and utilizes fat. A low glycemic diet focused on low GI foods can help stabilize these hormonal fluctuations. These diets emphasize lean proteins, healthy fats, non-starchy vegetables, and whole grains, which release energy slowly and steadily.
Slow and even rises in blood sugar after meals help curb hunger and food cravings, making it easier for menopausal women to control calorie intake and avoid overeating. High insulin levels also signal the body to store more fat, so moderating insulin spikes through a low glycemic diet may support fat loss and weight maintenance. The unprocessed, whole foods that comprise a low GI diet provide more fiber, vitamins, and minerals to support hormone balance and weight control.
Low glycemic diets have also been linked to benefits like reduced inflammation, improved cholesterol levels, and cardiovascular health – all highly significant for menopausal women. The slow-releasing carbs in low-GI foods may improve energy levels by counteracting the slowing of metabolism during menopause.
2. High Fiber Diet:
Increasing fiber intake, especially soluble fiber, can help you feel full on fewer calories. Good sources of fiber include beans, oatmeal, vegetables, and fruits.
A high-fiber diet can benefit women over 40 experiencing menopause and weight gain. Fiber helps support digestive health and has several advantages that are especially relevant during this life stage.
The soluble fiber in oats, beans, fruits, and vegetables forms a thick gel in the digestive tract, slowing down nutrient absorption. This helps regulate blood sugar levels, which fluctuate more during menopause due to hormonal changes. Steady blood sugar helps curb food cravings and binge eating, promoting weight gain.
Fiber also promotes feelings of fullness, allowing menopausal women to eat less while still feeling satisfied. As estrogen levels decrease, appetite and hunger cues become disrupted. The bulk provided by fiber in the stomach helps compensate for this hormonal imbalance.
High fiber foods tend to have a lower calorie density, meaning they contain fewer calories per gram. Opting for more fiber-rich plant-based proteins, whole grains, legumes and non-starchy vegetables makes it easier to consume fewer calories without excess hunger and ultimately lose weight.
Insoluble fiber, mainly from the skins of fruits and veggies along with whole grains, aids with constipation which is common during menopause. The fibers add bulk to stool, speeding up how quickly waste moves through the digestive tract. This helps alleviate bloating, another uncomfortable symptom.
3. Moderate Protein Diet:
Consuming moderate protein at each meal can boost metabolism and support muscle mass. This may help counteract some of the slowings of basal metabolic rate during menopause.
Consuming moderate protein at each meal can help menopausal women maintain a healthy weight or minimize unwanted weight gain. Higher protein intake supports weight control in a few key ways, especially during this life stage.
First, protein has a higher thermic effect on food than carbohydrates and fat. This means the body expends more calories while digesting and absorbing protein. The extra calorie burn can marginally boost the metabolism, counteracting some of the decrease in basal metabolic rate that tends to occur during menopause.
Next, protein is the most filling macronutrient. It helps curb appetite and reduce between-meal snacking, which is common among menopausal women. The hormone ghrelin, which stimulates hunger, declines after consuming moderate protein meals.
Protein also plays an important role in preserving lean muscle mass. As estrogen levels drop, menopausal women lose muscle and gain more body fat. Consuming around 20 to 30 grams of protein per meal helps maintain muscle, which boosts the metabolism and prevents the deterioration of bone density.
However, excessive high-protein diets are unnecessary or recommended for menopausal weight control. The ideal range is around 20% to 35% of total daily calories from protein sources. This means aiming for between 60 and 120 grams of protein per day based on individual factors like activity level and weight goals.
For example, sources of moderate protein include Greek yogurt, eggs, lean meats, poultry, fish, nuts, nut butter, beans, and legumes. Pair protein-rich meals and snacks with healthy fats and high-fiber carbohydrates for a balanced nutrient distribution that supports hormonal balance and weight management.
4. Mediterranean Diet:
This healthy diet pattern emphasizes healthy fats, plant-based proteins, and many fruits and vegetables. Multiple studies have linked the Med Diet to a lower risk of menopausal weight gain.
The Mediterranean diet has been shown to help combat menopausal weight gain by emphasizing healthy fats, plant-based proteins, and high fiber-rich fruits and vegetable intake. Multiple features of this dietary pattern benefit women experiencing hormonal changes during menopause.
The Mediterranean diet focuses on consuming mostly whole, unprocessed foods. These tend to have a lower glycemic index which helps stabilize blood sugar levels. Steady blood sugar is important for maintaining balanced energy levels and hormone production as estrogen declines.
The diet is high in monounsaturated fats from olive oil, nuts, and avocado. These “good” fats have been linked to reduced inflammation and improved metabolic health – two factors that become increasingly important during menopause.
Plant-based proteins are the main protein sources in the Mediterranean diet. These promote fullness without raising insulin levels and support cardiovascular health, which often deteriorates after menopause.
Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains provide abundant fiber to alleviate digestive issues, curb binge eating and promote weight stability. Ongoing research suggests higher intake of omega-3 fatty acids through fish and plant sources may also help mitigate menopausal symptoms.
The Mediterranean diet also emphasizes moderate consumption of alcohol, mostly red wine. While alcohol intake should be limited during menopause, occasional wine in moderation may counteract the risk of heart disease and cognitive decline.
Combining whole foods, healthy fats, and particular emphasis on plants inherent in the Mediterranean diet makes it an appealing lifestyle change for menopausal women. However, the benefits kick in when the diet combines regular physical activity and stress management practices.
5. Intermittent Fasting:
Some research suggests intermittent fasting may improve hormonal function and metabolism. Fasting 14-16 hours daily could help menopausal women lose or maintain weight.
Intermittent fasting may benefit menopausal women experiencing weight gain and other symptoms. By periodically restricting calorie intake, intermittent fasting can support hormonal balance, metabolism, and overall health.
During menopause, hormones like estrogen and leptin that regulate appetite signaling become disrupted. Intermittent fasting gives these hormones time to reset between fasting periods, which may improve hunger cues and reduce overeating.
Research indicates intermittent fasting can boost hormone-sensitive lipase – an enzyme that breaks down fat. This enhanced fat burning may make it easier for menopausal women to lose or maintain weight stability.
Intermittent fasting has also been shown to increase human growth hormone levels, which decline rapidly after age 40. The growth hormone helps promote muscle mass and strength, supporting tissues at risk of deterioration during menopause.
The short fasting periods allow the body to enter a state of autophagy, where it recycles and removes damaged cells. This cellular rejuvenation process may counteract some of the effects of age-related decline that typically occur after menopause.
One popular intermittent fasting approach for menopausal women is the 16:8 method, where fasting lasts 16 hours, and eating occurs within an 8-hour window. This can be done by skipping breakfast and restricting eating to noon to 8 pm.
However, intermittent fasting is not recommended for all menopausal women. Those with eating disorders or unbalanced relationships with food should avoid drastic calorie restrictions. Intermittent fasting must also be combined with a nutritious, whole-foods-based diet and regular exercise.
In the right context, intermittent fasting can be a tool to complement a healthy lifestyle for menopausal women struggling with stubborn fat, sluggish metabolism, and difficulty managing appetite and food cravings.
Simple calorie counting using an app or tracker can help ensure you’re not excessively overeating, which is common during menopause due to hormonal changes and fluctuations in appetite.
Calorie counting through an app or food logging can help menopausal women manage weight by ensuring they do not excessively overeat. During this life stage, hormonal changes and fluctuations in appetite and hunger cues make it easy for women to consume too many calories unintentionally. Tracking calorie intake provides awareness and accountability that can prevent weight gain.
Decreased estrogen production during menopause lowers a woman’s basal metabolic rate, meaning the body burns fewer calories at rest. Reducing caloric intake becomes crucial to maintain energy balance and avoiding weight gain while in this state of slowed metabolism. Tracking the number of calories consumed is an effective way to limit food intake without becoming overly restrictive.
Hot flashes, night sweats, and sleep disturbances common during menopause disrupt sleep quality and hormone function. Poor sleep is linked to overeating and cravings for high-calorie, unhealthy foods. By logging calories, menopausal women can catch potential slip-ups in eating patterns caused by sleep issues before they contribute to significant weight gain.
Many calorie-counting apps integrate with fitness trackers to provide a complete picture of energy balance. Combined calorie burn and intake data helps identify when simply reducing portion sizes or swapping high-calorie foods is enough versus times when increasing activity levels may also be needed.
However, focusing only on calories and a number on a scale can be counterproductive for menopausal women. A healthy lifestyle incorporating enough nutrients, exercise, and stress relief is essential for overall well-being. Calorie tracking should support – not dictate – a balanced approach to weight management during this life stage.
Counting calories through an app or food journal can give menopausal women valuable insight into what and how much they eat. While not a one-size-fits-all solution for all women, calorie tracking can help achieve and maintain a healthy weight for those experiencing hormonal fluctuations, appetite changes, and unwanted weight gain.
Best Supplements for Menopause Weight Gain
Many supplements can help with weight management during menopause. The right combination of ingredients can target multiple factors contributing to weight gain at this life stage.
Probiotics containing Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains help balance the gut microbiome. This supports healthy hormones, metabolism, and digestion, which all play a role in menopausal weight gain. Probiotics have been shown to reduce belly fat and aid in weight loss.
Appetite suppressants using natural ingredients like hoodia, acai berry, and green tea extract work by increasing levels of hormones that curb hunger. They also contain caffeine that boosts metabolism slightly. These supplements help combat increased hunger and food cravings common during menopause.
Fat burners containing thermogenic ingredients like capsicum and green coffee bean extract work by raising your body’s temperature, stimulating metabolism, and promoting fat breakdown. Studies show capsicum, particularly, can target belly fat and visceral fat linked to health risks.
Supplements with A-lacys reset, a compound that activates proteins involved in metabolism, may help preserve muscle mass during menopause. Muscle mass declines as estrogen levels drop, which lowers basal metabolic rate and makes weight loss more difficult.
Chromium picolinate aids in insulin sensitivity and the transport of glucose into cells. Insulin resistance becomes increasingly common as women age, so chromium helps balance blood sugar levels to curb hunger and cravings. This promotes a healthier metabolic state for weight control.
Nopal, derived from prickly pear cactus, is high in fiber and contains compounds that reduce water retention. Both symptoms are aggravated during menopause due to hormone changes. Nopal aids weight loss by making people feel fuller on fewer calories.
In summary, supplements targeting gut health, appetite, fat burning, muscle preservation, blood sugar balance, and bloating provide a holistic approach to weight management during menopause. Look for products that combine multiple clinically studied ingredients instead of one “magic bullet.”
Best Diets for Menopause Weight Gain Summary
Focus on whole, unprocessed foods and limit sugar and refined carbs. Get plenty of vegetables, moderate amounts of lean proteins, and healthy fats. Limit excessive snacking and portion out your meals.
No single diet will work for everyone during menopause. Find an overall eating pattern you enjoy and can sustain long-term. And remember to combine dietary changes with regular exercise and stress management techniques.