Clean Eating

Counter Weight Gain During Menopause

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Amy Lee, MD, endocrinol­ogist and head of nutrition for Nucific, explains how.

CE: How can menopause affect your weight?

DR. AMY LEE: During menopause, a common symptom is weight gain. A decrease in estrogen can cause the body to store fat in the abdominal area and decrease muscle-mass maintenanc­e. This results in fewer calories burned.

CE: How does menopause affect food cravings?

AL: Changes in hormones can disrupt other hormones, like the hunger hormone, ghrelin. In a University of Michigan study, ghrelin was found to be higher in perimenopa­usal females, along with a decrease in muscle mass due to aging. The body is then set up for weight gain.

CE: What are some practices to help counter these effects? AL: Be prepared for the inevitable process of aging. Learn what to eat and what exercises to do – it’s not just about cutting out sugars. Focus on lean proteins and lots of antioxidan­t-rich produce. Around age 50 and up, the body doesn’t burn calories like it used to. Next, exercise. Not just walking 10,000 steps daily; one must incorporat­e resistance training. I recommend free weights and elastic resistance bands.

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