Menopause: let’s not run away from (good) fat – part one
The vast majority of women consider menopause to be accompanied by weight gain.
And indeed, most scientific studies have found an increase in weight in postmenopausal women (some studies speak of an increase of 0.5 kg per year1), although there is debate on the real impact of menopause as such vs. slowing metabolism with age.
In any case, one of the consequences of this perception is the temptation to « flee » from fat in all its forms, or at least to greatly limit its consumption.
But this almost instinctive temptation makes the menopausal woman miss the undeniable benefits of a « reasonable » consumption of fat.
Yes, it is undeniable that fat is very high in calories: one gram of fat releases twice as many calories as one gram of carbohydrates or proteins (9 kcal vs 4).
But, taken in the right amounts and of the right type, fat can quickly become one of your body’s allies.
Among the many benefits provided by fats, we can mention:
Vitamins A, D, E and K need fat to dissolve so they can be used by your body
to speak only of vitamin A, in addition to its well-known role for good eye health, it helps to regulate the famous metabolism mentioned above.
Dietary fat helps you keep a healthy skin (and hair)
and dry skin problems are one of the main symptoms mentioned by postmenopausal women.
(The right type of) dietary fat can help increase lipolysis (body fat breakdown) and lower lipogenesis (body fat formation)
and thus help in weight regulation.
Fat is critical for your brain to function properly
and therefore an ally in the face of menopause symptoms such as concentration or memory problems.
Dietary fat can help increase your muscle mass
and muscle mass is essential to fight against one of the proven risks of menopause, osteoporosis.
Certain types of fat are essential for a healthy heart and good blood circulation
and therefore help prevent cardiovascular disease, the main health risk for postmenopausal women.
In fact, it’s all a question of quantity and quality.
Quantity: it is recommended that 25-35% of the daily calorie intake be from fat. Quality: the different types of fats range from highly harmful (trans fats) to beneficial (unsaturated fats … in reasonable quantities).
Exploring these different types of fats deserves its own post: « Menopause: let’s not run away from (good) fat – part two ».
Are you interested in the experiences of women at different stages of their menopause? Would you like a reminder of the physiology of menopause and the main symptoms? Download our free ebook, Menopause Story(ies).
1: source : the Writing Group of the International Menopause Society for World Menopause Day 2012 (2012) « Understanding weight gain at menopause », Climacteric, 15:5, 419-429, DOI: 10.3109/13697137.2012.707385