Menopause and Weight Gain

"Advice to all women approaching menopause and searching for the best way to lose weight..."

In your search for the best way to lose weight, you might not realize that during the menopause, changes in fat metabolism mean that they're more likely to store - and less likely to get rid of - body fat.

You'll often hear many experts extol the virtues of a "balanced" diet (whatever that means). One expert tells you that the best way to lose weight is to cut calories. Then somebody else tells you that calories don't count. With the mass of dieting information currently available, it's no wonder that virtually everyone is confused about the best way to lose weight.

However, a research team from the University of Maryland in Baltimore has shown that your age has a massive influence on your ability to lose weight - no matter what you eat!

Publishing their findings in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, the researchers extracted fat tissue from the abdomen and buttocks of 24 women. They found an enzyme that promotes fat storage, (known as adipose tissue lipoprotein lipase), was more than twice as active in postmenopausal compared with perimenopausal women.

What's more, the rate at which stored fat is broken down in postmenopausal women was also dramatically reduced compared with perimenopausal women. Interestingly, stopping smoking has a very similar effect. In fact, after you stop smoking for just four weeks, studies show that the activity of lipoprotein lipase (one of the enzymes that promotes fat storage) is more than doubled.

This doesn't mean that getting older is a guarantee that you'll gain weight. The best way to lose weight remains an effective program of diet and exercise, no matter how old you are. Still, women who find it difficult to lose weight as they get older might be happy to know that it isn't entirely their fault!

Reference Ferrara, C.M., Lynch, N.A., Nicklas, B.J., Ryan, A.S., & Berman, D.M. (2002). Differences in adipose tissue metabolism between postmenopausal and perimenopausal women. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 87, 4166-4170

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