"Women metabolize foods differently than men," says Larrian Gillespie, M.D. "Where men use carbohydrates for energy, women use carbohydrates to store as fat so we're able to procreate in the face of starvation." Plus, she notes, alterations in estrogen levels make these diet differences even more pronounced as we grow older. Read the tips below to fight menopause-related weight gain.
Eat five or six smaller meals throughout the day. To counteract the weight gain typical of menopausal women, Dr. Gillespie recommends eating five or six smaller meals interspersed throughout the day rather than three large meals. "These meals should each be around 250 to 300 calories," she adds.
Focus on "good" carbohydrates. To fight the foods that lead to weight gain, Dr. Gillespie recommends that menopausal (and premenopausal) women make diet decisions based on the glycemic index, a chart that ranks foods by their affect on your blood sugar. The higher a food's glycemic ranking, the more it boosts your blood sugar. She suggests focusing on foods with a low glycemic ranking, including beans, peanuts, most fruits, and sweet potatoes. Foods with a high glycemic ranking include bagels, corn chips, potatoes, and pretzels.