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Sugar, Hormones & Weight Gain | Part 2 of 3

get sugar out of your life

9 Ways Your Life Will Improve Without Sugar

Sugar is a seductress and when you get free of her clutches your life will improve in a number of ways. Including reducing your unloved menopause signs.

And who knows? The bugbears you blame on growing older could actually be due to the sugar you ingest. We kid you not!

Words of Wisdom

“If we’re asking someone to give something up do they understand what they’re going to gain in return?”


– Dean Ornish – founder of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in California and Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

1. You’ll sleep better

In Part 1 of The Sugar Series: Sugar, Hormones & Weight Gain, we mentioned sugar increases the blood sugar fluctuations and levels of the hormone cortisol that occur in your body. 

And once you know how it works (again, we invite you to read Part 1) it becomes easy to understand why your energy goes up and down when you eat sugar. 

As a result, when you give it up, your body balances out, your brain lights up and you won’t feel the need of an afternoon snooze from a sugar crash. 

In addition, once you’re through your sugar hangover, you’ll sleep through the night. Ahhh bliss.

sleeping well

2. You’ll lose weight

From the feedback you give us we know sleep and weight gain (oh, and hot flushes!) are some of your biggest crosses to bear during peri/menopause. 

And one way to lose weight relatively easily is by eliminating or minimising sugar from your diet. 

So you’ll be doing your body a lot of good as you’ll learn from reading this story. And as a bonus, your waistline will reduce. 

Swap cakes and biscuits for a piece of fruit and a handful of nuts or a piece of soft cheese stuffed in a date. (Don’t OD on fruit though, it’s high in fructose which is a natural sugar but it’s nutritious and delicious). While these snacks still come with calories, but they’re very different from refined sugar. It takes a while to get into the habit but once you do you’ll never look back. Promise.

Women eat about 10.5 teaspoons of sugar from sweets, non-alcoholic drinks and fruit per day – consumer.org.nz. Click To Tweet

3. You’ll have more energy

The reasons for this go back to number 1. However, it’s important to note you will go through a withdrawal period that could come with fatigue. 

And just like cocaine and heroin, sugar is a drug. Therefore, it takes a while to wrest it from your life. 

Sorry, but if you’ll pardon the pun, there’s no sugar-coating that fact. But once you get over the hump you’ll be swinging from the chandeliers.

4. You can wave brain fog bye bye

Brain fog? Is it from sugar or peri/menopause? In our honest opinion? It’s probably a bit of both. 

But get rid of the white stuff and you’ll find your brain becomes more alert. 

In fact, one study discovered that a high-sugar diet affects learning and memory adversely. And the really scary thing is the researchers found that dietary sugar may damage brain cell communication. 

Further, this is something you definitely don’t want. Your brain is your treasure – albeit often taken for granted – but your precious treasure.

5. You’ll look younger

And don’t we all want that? Oh, to have the skin we had at 20 and the wisdom we have now right? 

But never mind. You’re still beautiful in our book. 

That said, get rid of sugar from your diet and your skin will become more smooth and radiant. Why? Well, the main ‘youtherising’ (that’s my word) proteins in our skin are collagen for plumping and elastin for elasticity. 

When we eat sugar it sticks to these in a process called glycation. As a result, it becomes dry and undernourished. And what happens then? Hello, wrinkles! 

Who knew giving up sugar would be akin to a really, really good lifetime habit of facials?

Looking Younger without sugar

6. You can deal with your anxiety & depression

Whether you’ve got a minimalist sweet tooth or a full-on sugar habit the effects of sugar are different for everyone. Although one thing we do know is that the ups and downs of continual sugar spikes always have a result. 

Indeed, if you don’t get your fix you could go through an addiction-like withdrawal with signs like anxiety, restlessness and depression.

A study led by Columbia University’s psychiatry professor James Gangwisch that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that sugary foods (and refined carbs) could lead to depression. 

“Most nutritionists would agree that people should try to keep to a minimum added sugar and refined grains and to eat whole, natural, seasonal fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and beans,” said James. “I think this would be well worth a try for anyone suffering from depression.”

Not so long ago I was trying to give up coffee and I couldn’t. And one of my fellow Integrative Nutrition students said she’d done it and found that after 48 hours she was OK. So the next time I tried I kept saying 48 hours in my head every time I was tempted. And it worked! Therefore I’d recommend it for you for eschewing sugar. And if you give it a try – do let me know by emailing me here.
Columbia Uni found a diet high in sugar is likely to cause anxiety, irritability, and mood swings. Click To Tweet

7. You can tell the mid-life zits to disappear

I’ve been hearing of lots of women who are experiencing menopausal acne and not liking it one little bit. Indeed, they thought they’d left pimples and blemishes behind years ago. 

But no, our friend sugar contributes in a huge way to systemic inflammation, which is a proven trigger for acne. 

That’s one huge reason to get over your sugar addiction.

8. You’ll give your health a boost

We know that as our estrogen levels decline during peri and post-menopause our incidence of chronic and serious illness can increase. 

Additionally, systemic inflammation and topsy-turvy insulin levels (mentioned above and in part one) accompany dietary sugar.

So it’s something you want to keep a lid on when it comes to conquering overall health. Inflammation and insulin can increase blood sugar and heart rate and the subsequent build up of fatty liver and insulin resistance put you at risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Among other things.

A Columbia University study discovered sugary foods (and refined carbohydrates) could lead to depression. Click To Tweet

9. You’ll feel so great you’ll be grinning from ear to ear!

Hallelujah! 

The benefits of eschewing (or minimising) sugar are 10-fold. 

What’s more, if you give yourself three weeks it’ll become like second nature. 

So swap the sugary coffee for fresh lemon and ginger tea (yummy) and the cupcake for an orange or two pieces of really good, 85% dark chocolate (that doesn’t have sugar listed in the top three ingredients). 

And try and get into the habit of eating a salad a day. In winter try a warm salad, they rock! 

It’ll change your life and how you feel.

Conclusion

That being said, it’s not easy. 

Have you ever heard of anyone breaking an addiction and saying it was? 

But I have to tell you that when you swap the sweet stuff for lots of green leafy vegetables and a salad a day you begin to feel so wonderful. As a result, you have a ready smile, oodles of energy, tend to be ‘nicer’ and are always ready, willing and able to go the extra mile.

happy women without sugar

THIS WAS PART TWO OF OUR THREE-PART SERIES ON SUGAR. YOU CAN READ PART 1: SUGAR, HORMONES & WEIGHT GAIN HERE.

Jennifer is a certified integrative health and menopause coach with a specialty in 40+ women, peri/menopause and hormone balance for weight loss. If you have questions email her here.

 

 

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Post-menopause


This is the time when menstruation is well and truly over, the ovaries have stopped producing high levels of sex hormones and for many ladies, perimenopause symptoms subside.

Estrogen has protective qualities and the diminished levels mean organs such as your brain, heart and bones become more vulnerable. It’s also a key lubricant so your lips may become drier, your joints less supple and your vagina might be drier. In addition, your thyroid, digestion, insulin, cortisol and weight may alter.

At this juncture, a woman might experience an increase in the signs of reduced estrogen but she should have a decrease of perimenopause symptoms. That said, some women will experience symptoms like hot flushes for years or even the rest of their lives.

Perimenopause

Peri = ‘near’

Most females begin to experience the symptoms of perimenopause in their mid-forties. Your progesterone levels decline from your mid-30s but it’s generally from around 40 that the rest of your sex hormones begin to follow suit. 

Perimenopause is a different experience for every woman and some women may barely notice it. The first indicators are usually changes to the monthly cycle. This means that for some ladies, this can be accompanied by things like sore breasts, mood swings, weight gain around the belly, and fatigue as time goes on.

For those with symptoms it can be a challenging time physically, mentally and emotionally.

Importantly, perimenopause lasts – on average – four to 10 years. The transition is usually a gradual process and many women enter perimenopause without realising.