A.Vogel Talks Menopause: Sugar cravings and appetite changes


Eileen Durward
@EileenDurward


08 August 2016

Read the full video transcript below

Today's topic

Hello, and welcome to my weekly video blog. And today on  A.Vogel Talks Menopause, I’m going to be talking about sugar cravings and changes in your appetite during the menopause. Now, these symptoms are usually experienced by the majority of women at some point going through the menopause. You might find that you suddenly start to crave sugar or biscuits or sweets much more than normal. You may also find that your appetite has just got totally out of control or that you seem to feel hungry all the time. Now, why is this?

Why does my appetite or cravings change?

Well, it’s the usual story. The hormonal changes going on throughout our body creates a big need for extra nutrition. You need more vitamins, more minerals, and a lot more protein as well to help to keep everything in balance. And if you’re not getting a good enough diet or enough food to eat on a daily basis, then your body is just basically hungry and this is what can cause either the cravings or the actual change in your appetite as well.

What problems can sugar cause?

Now, this isn’t good for us for a number of reasons. Obviously we know how bad sugar is for us, as it can contribute to our palpitations to flushes to joint aches and pains that can trigger panic attacks and anxiety, but also at this time we’re very often struggling with our weight as well. And if our calorie intake from sugar or sugar-type foods starts to go up, that can add on a whole other layer of stress as well.

So what do you really need to look at here?

First of all, if you’re getting a lot of hot flushes and sweats and you find that you are feeling hungry, it could actually just be thirst. So first of all, have a look at your water intake, maybe up it, and sometimes just having a glass of water can actually take away the hunger pangs. It’s really important to have a good diet to get all the vitamins and minerals that you need. Have a good, varied diet. The more different foods that you eat, then the bigger range of nutrients you are getting and therefore the less you actually have to eat. So it’s a nice compromise. If you eat really well, you very often need to eat less and that will help you to control your weight as well.

Magnesium

I would also add in a really good vitamin and mineral supplement. And remember the magnesium. One of the interesting things is that we know that magnesium takes a big dip in the menopause. And we need magnesium for mood, for relaxation, for sleep. And one of the things low magnesium does is actually cause sugar cravings. So adding in a lovely magnesium supplement of some kind can make a difference as well. You can also look at the supplement chromium. This is known to help specifically with sugar cravings, chocolate cravings, that kind of thing as well.

Weight

Now, one really, really important thing here, as women going through the menopause, we want to look good. And if we have an issue with our weight, one of the things we tend to do is to go on low calorie diets. In the menopause, this is such a big no because if you cut your calorie intake further, you are going to get less nutrition and your body is actually going to get hungrier and hungrier. And a lot of women who go on these types of diets in the menopause actually find to their surprise that they start putting weight on because the body just shuts the metabolism down even further because of the low calorie intake. So it’s really important, as I said before, to have a good, varied diet, and not actually cut things down too low.

Points to remember

Now, just a couple of points to remember, if you find that you are craving salt rather than sugar, this can often be an indication of something called adrenal fatigue. You would also tend to get symptoms: fatigue, low mood, joint aches. You might find that your get-up-and-go has completely gone. So if you think this might be you with the adrenal fatigue, check out the blog that I’ve already written about this. The other thing that can happen with some people is that doing all these things just doesn’t seem to make any difference and those sugar cravings might actually start to get worse. If you try and help and nothing works, it’s really important to get this checked out by your doctor. One of the things that can happen in the menopause is you can start to get problems with your insulin control and obviously that needs to be looked into by your doctor.

Loss of appetite

Now, there are some women who find that their appetite actually decreases and sometimes they lose weight where they don’t actually want to lose weight. If this is you and you feel that your appetite’s gone and you just don’t feel like eating, try and still get good nutrition, purely because your symptoms can often get worse if this continues. If you don’t feel like eating much, you can get some really nice protein powders, make up a nice shake, and just take that on a daily basis until you find that your appetite is coming back.

Other food cravings

And for other women, you might be sitting there going, “But I don’t get sugar cravings. I crave apples every day.” Or, “I crave red meat every day.” So you might find that you get other very specific types of food cravings. So look at the class of food that you’re actually craving and that is probably a good indication of what you’re lacking in your diet at the minute and just make sure that, yes, you have plenty of those foods, but you have them in a nice, healthy form.

Until next week...

So hopefully that’s given you a little bit of insight into cravings and appetite in the menopause. Any questions about this or anything else, please do get in touch with me and I’ll look forward to talking to you next week on A.Vogel Talks Menopause.

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