Is Protein the Key Ingredient to Preventing Menopause Weight Gain?

So you’re eating the way you always have, but you seem to be gaining more weight than ever? Hello menopause! You’re not alone — many women face weight gain during this time, and it can be pretty frustrating. But what if there was a simple tweak you could make to the way you eat to help ward off those extra kilos? Researchers from the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre might have found a clue: prioritising protein.

Why Does Menopause Cause Weight Gain?

Before we look into the possible solution, let’s talk about why weight gain happens during menopause. It turns out that as women transition to menopause, their bodies go through a lot of changes. One key change is that the body’s requirement for protein increases. This happens because the hormonal changes during menopause cause our muscles to break down. So we need to make up for this by eating more protein to build more muscle. If you don’t get enough protein to meet your body’s needs, you might find yourself overeating other types of food, like carbs and fats – Hello extra weight gain.

Basically, if your body isn’t getting the protein it needs, it will keep driving you to eat more until you do, which can lead to consuming unnecessary calories.

The Double Whammy

Adding to the challenge, your energy expenditure tends to drop during menopause. This means you’re burning fewer calories than before, making it even easier to gain weight. The researchers suggest that to counter these biological changes, women need to eat less energy in the form of carbs and fats and more protein.

Small Changes, Big Impact

The good news? You don’t have to overhaul your entire diet. According to Professor David Raubenheimer, small changes can make a big difference. By eating more protein and less fats and carbs, you can help manage your weight during this transition.

What Does This Look Like in Practice?

If you’re wondering what these dietary changes might look like, it’s pretty straightforward. 

More Protein

Simply increase the protein in your meals and snacks by choosing higher protein foods: Lean red meat, chicken, fish, eggs, low fat dairy, beans, legumes, chickpeas and tofu.

Fewer Processed Foods

By swapping foods high in sugars and fats like fried foods, pastries, bags of chips, soft drink, cookies and cakes for more nourishing foods like yoghurt, fruit, wholegrain crackers and hummus, veggie sticks you’ll not only reduce the amount of energy you’re consuming you’ll get in extra nutrients like protein, fibre and vitamins to support your transition through menopause.

Try these high protein meals and snacks:

Crispy Egg Tacos

Peanut butter Bliss Balls

Cottage Pie

Raspberry Yoghurt Clusters

Meal Prep Shredded Chicken

Feta Stuffed Meatballs

Nutty Protein Bars

Healthy Breakfast Cereal

Chicken Quinoa Casserole

Looking Ahead

The next step for the researchers is to conduct a large scale study to test this formally. If proven correct, this could lead to new strategies for preventing weight gain in women during menopause, making this transition a little bit easier.

In the meantime, consider making those small dietary adjustments. Eating more protein might just be the key to keeping those extra kilos at bay. So, is more protein the secret to preventing weight gain in menopause? According to the latest research, it certainly looks promising!

Stay healthy and strong, and remember, a little change can go a long way.



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