Menopause is an important and often uncomfortable transition for many women, with a variety of physical and emotional changes occurring. One issue that plagues many menopausal women is an insatiable craving for sweet foods. While this may seem like harmless indulgence, too much sugar can have serious consequences on one’s health. In this article, we’ll discuss why giving up sugar can be beneficial during menopause and a solution on how to do it successfully.
Why give up sugar?
When it comes to staying healthy and feeling energized, especially during menopause, making the right food choices make all the difference. As we all know, sugar is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to unhealthy lifestyles. Whether added to a cup of tea or hidden in processed foods, sugar can have a huge impact on our overall health if consumed in large quantities. But why should we give up sugar?
An overabundance of sugar in the diet can contribute to weight gain, diabetes, heart disease and other health issues common among post-menopausal women and none of us want any part of that. Sugar can also cause inflammation throughout the body which aggravates pre-existing conditions such as arthritis or fibromyalgia.
When we talk about sugar, it’s not just the white stuff, it’s anything food that is highly processed and turns into glucose in our blood stream. For the most part, it’s the crackers, cookies, cakes and candies as well as the breads made with highly refined flours. We even see on the market flours made from beans which are also highly refined and become a simple carbohydrate.
The body breaks down the simple carbohydrate into glucose and fructose. Glucose is the form of energy used by all the cells in the body. However, fructose is converted and deposited in the fat cells. So what happens if there is too much glucose in the blood? The liver converts it into fat and stores it as triglycerides. This leads to insulin resistance, which allows the sugar to stay in the blood for long periods of time leading to a plethora of problems such as fatigue, sleeplessness, hot flashes, brain fog and so much more.
6 Things Sugar is Stealing From You
Ingesting simple carbohydrates can lead to a condition called autointoxication. This is where the sugars literally permeate the cell walls of the intestines and the food particles float freely into the interstitial fluid where the lymphatic system has to go in and mop up the extra waste products and then eliminate them from the body. Your body has to work overtime and into the night shift in order to function.
Also, it takes vitamins and minerals in order to metabolize the simple carbohydrates, all B vitamins, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, copper, manganese, zinc and chromium. When you consume foods that are barren of these vitamins and minerals your body has to rob them from your own cells, depleting you even further.
When you eat whole foods such as a sweet potato, they have all the vitamins and minerals necessary to digest the food leaving you with pure nutrition right into your cells.
When you are eating foods that are highly refined carbohydrates, they are deficient in nutrition and even robbing your body of vital nutrients and vitamins you are left with a deficit in energy. Therefore you are tired as you don’t have a consistent fuel for your cells to operate in a normal manner.
Furthermore, without proper nutrition you may have issues with brain fog, dizziness, and fatigue.
Oh the woes of sleepless nights! When we are sleeping our bodies like to go into a state of ketosis where it will burn fat for fuel to get us through the hours we are not eating. When we eat highly refined carbohydrates (sugars) our body cannot shift into fat burning mode as it is working on the sugars. This leads to awful night sweats, the flip and flopping in the bed, and insomnia.
The worst part of eating sugars before bed is that it increases your risk for diabetes and obesity which in turn, increase your hunger and cravings for more sugar!
It’s an insanely vicious circle.
White blood cells are what respond to pathogens and they are suppressed when eating refined sugars. Sugars kick your immune system to the curb and actually feed the viruses and bacteria. If you are sick of being sick, then eat whole foods vs refined.
The truth is that when your immune system is suppressed, you not only are more likely to pick up viruses and bacteria, but also develop chronic health conditions such as heart disease, dementia, and even cancer.
- Thriving into your 90’s
Many women in menopause want to thrive well into their 90’s and age gracefully. When we eat foods high in refined carbohydrates, it causes inflammation in our bodies. Inflammation is exactly what it sounds like, flame. Flame equals pain, overheating, redness, swelling and HOTFLASHES!
Sugar causes oxidative stress as well and is silent. We may not realize it is happening until it is too late and the pain has set in and has caused damage to our cells, nerve tissue, blood vessels and our brain.
- Normal Eating Habits
In menopause our hormones are already unstable and when we eat sugars it causes our hunger hormones, leptin and ghrelin to get out of whack as well.
Leptin tells your body that you are full and let’s get active.
Ghrelin on the other hand says we are hungry.
When we eat too much sugar we are likely hungry all the time and it’s likely because you have leptin-resistance. Once you stop eating the sugars, leptin comes back on board.
This is why, when you make a decision to stop eating sugars, don’t train for a marathon. Put on your bunny slippers and relax for the first few weeks until leptin regulates.
Stretching and walking will help so don’t eliminate those.
Are you ready to Kick Sugar to the Curb?
If you feel ready to kick that sugar to the curb, take it one step at a time and get support to keep you accountable and motivate you.
Remember that successful weight loss requires a lifestyle shift in all areas of wellness from the food you eat, the drinks you are drinking, sleep habits, movement, and most of all, support from friends.
Join our VIP Menopause Support Group on Facebook.
They all work synergistically to help you cruise the “Menowave” with grace, gratitude, confidence and ease.
~ Tina “Joyful” McDermott