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Are you eating enough protein for this stage of your life?



Until recently, the medical world of studies and literature would exclude women from their studies. They found women too complex and the physiology of men and women so different, that it was easier and more standardized to exclude this complex female counterpart.

 

This meant that if there was a study on weight loss, for example, the population studied was male.

This data was then extrapolated and applied to women as if we shared the same physiology.

 

As Stacy Sims, an exercise physiologist and nutritional scientist says it best, women are not little men.

Scientific findings in men cannot be broadly applied to women. This should be obvious and transparent.

 

In this exciting time in medicine, where more focus is given to studying the other 50% of the population, and the complex changes that occur in the female body, we are learning more about supporting this journey. From puberty to pregnancy, to perimenopause right through to post-menopause.

Each of these times provides a unique physiological environment.

 

One of the most frustrating changes that occur in women as they enter perimenopause and menopause is weight gain. “I can't lose the weight as easily as I did before, my body is just not responding like it used to, I can’t get away with my previous habits”

 

And yes, you are right. Your body is not the same! Your hormones are changing, resulting in metabolic changes – increased sensitivity to insulin, bone loss, muscle loss, and harder to gain and maintain muscle mass.

 

All of these have a strong link to your dietary habits and an important part of my assessment involves understanding your macronutrient intake – what is the ratio of protein to carb to fat you intake.

 

I see so many women eating either too little or continuing to follow a low-carb diet that is not serving them, or most commonly, not eating enough protein to maintain muscle mass, let alone to support building muscle.

 

Ensuring sufficient protein in the diet is one of the easiest ways to support weight loss. Stabilizing blood sugars, increases satiety, supports muscle building, and therefore changes in body composition – loss of body fat and increase in metabolically active muscle.

 

Importantly, your body uses protein less efficiently when you are menopausal, so the type and quality of the protein you eat and when you eat it becomes very important to build and maintain your muscle. Your requirements range between 1.8 – 2.0g of protein per kilogram per day when you are post-menopausal.

That generally equates to about 20-30g per meal.

 

So how do you know how much protein is in a meal?

My best suggestion to collect the data is using an app called MyFitnessPal. You do not need to pay for it, though there is a version you can purchase if you choose to.

 

This simple way helps you learn to understand and measure the quantity of protein in your diet.

I will often recommend using this tool for 5 days. This is generally enough for you to start gauging the amount of protein you consume.

It is great as it also reveals if you are under or over-consuming on the other macronutrients, namely carbohydrates and fats.

 

Data collection can be cumbersome, but it is so worth the effort. When we have data, such as more accurate ways of recording and determining your macronutrient intake, then we have a more accurate place to make decisions and recommend changes in diet.

 

Head over to my Instagram page to watch some videos I made to provide some different ideas on a protein-rich breakfast, and also follow the link to my protein-based meal ideas document.

 

 

 

 

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