Menopause – Part 3

Due to low estrogen, blood sugar levels can become hard to control. A drop in blood sugar is what triggers hunger so it is increasingly important for post-menopausal women to learn to manage their blood sugar levels.

Blood Sugar Imbalances
Estrogen stabilizes fasting blood glucose and insulin levels. Studies actually show that women eat less during the ovulatory phase due to increased estrogen. Because of the changes in blood sugar maintenance, eating refined carbohydrates and simple sugars will only make your symptoms worse. Make sure to eat complex carbohydrates (whole grains, fruits and vegetables) as part of a meal that includes fat and protein as well. For example, instead of just eating an apple, eat it with cheese or peanut butter. For this same reason, limit your caffeine and alcohol intake, which could cause large blood sugar spikes and falls. Your perception of sweetness also decreases after menopause so your taste for sweets may grow stronger. That is why some studies show that those women who use artificial sweeteners (which are 100-600 x sweeter than sugar) may make you want more to satisfy your sweet tooth. With that said, it would be wise to minimize your use of artificial sweeteners to perhaps no more than one serving per day. And now for some good news, eating more fatty fish (salmon, trout, shrimp, tuna, etc) may improve your glucose and insulin metabolism so aim for at least 6-9 oz (2-3 servings) of fatty fish per week.

Emily Fonnesbeck RD,CD