The Atkins Diet & Menopause

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Menopause brings many changes to a woman's body, which may be overwhelming and occur in a relatively short time period. In addition to the cessation of reproductive function, you must also deal with possible weight gain, thanks to hormonal fluctuations. Fortunately, however, you need not perpetually suffer with weight gain. You can improve your body composition with proper changes to your dietary strategy. If you are currently going through menopause, consider the Atkins Diet to help you shed a few pounds.

Weight Gain During Menopause

  • Not all women experience weight gain during menopause, it is likely to happen, since it affects roughly two-thirds of women. Generally, you might gain between 10 and 15 pounds throughout the course of menopause. This fat gain is also coupled with a decrease in "insulin resistance," with which the Atkins Diet is equipped to help.

About Insulin Resistance

  • Insulin is your body's primary transport hormone, and is released largely in response to blood sugar spikes caused by carbohydrate intake. Insulin scoops up the sugar floating in the blood and drives it into both fat and muscle tissue. If you have recently exercised, insulin will act predominately to nourish your damaged muscle tissue. If you have not, insulin will store the blood's nutrients for later use in the form of fat. Being resistant to insulin means that your body has to produce additional insulin to achieve the same effect, amplifying the impact of any particular insulin spike. These spikes quickly turn into accumulated fat gain, which is where Atkins comes into play.

Atkins and Insulin Resistance

  • Without the catalyst of carbohydrates, the body's insulin levels will no longer abruptly spike, removing the threat of unexpected fat storage. Thus, the Atkins plan can help you avoid weight gain through menopause. As your body naturally increases its insulin resistance, you will effectively curtail its plans by adhering to a lower-carb approach and removing insulin as a threat.

Following Atkins

  • Phase one of the Atkins plan requires that you go through a two-week induction period, when carbs are kept at or below 20 grams per day. This facilitates the shift from a carb-burning to a fat-burning metabolism. Following this, your daily carb limit is doubled to 40, and you are encouraged to consume copious amounts of vegetables and fruits (within your carb limit, of course). As you reach your target weight, carbs are steadily increased until you are losing no more than a pound per week. Once you hit your goal, increase carbs again until you are neither gaining nor losing weight. Thus, Atkins is only a truly "low-carb" plan for the first couple of months, after which it becomes more well-rounded.

Considerations

  • The primary thing to understand about menopause is that, as your body changes, you must change along with it to maintain optimal health. Thus, you can no longer get away with splurging on carbs--your increased insulin resistance simply will not allow it without repercussions. Being adaptable and switching to a low-carb diet strategy not only demonstrates dedication and drive, but it also allows your body to continue to function optimally for the decades to come.

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