This one is for the ladies of Macros Inc and is our second most requested topic that has been submitted to our “Submit A Topic” box in our NutriWiki.
Not only is it one of the most requested topics, but also some version of, “I maintained my body weight just fine until I hit menopause, that is when things started to go haywire” is one of the most common comments/questions we receive during our live Q&As.
So today we are going to address this question! So without further ado… here we go
Does Menopause Cause Weight Gain?
There are subtle changes in physiology that occur during menopause that shift the body composition toward higher body fat and lower lean mass. This is a relatively well-established fact.
This appears to be largely based on changes in estrogen. These changes appear to be based on changes in body composition that are fairly small.
More importantly, any substantial changes in body weight appear to be mostly determined by changes in energy intake and energy expenditure, with most of the explanation coming from reductions in energy expenditure.
These reductions in energy expenditure are due primarily to moving less with only a very small part being attributed to basal metabolic rate.
The changes that do occur do not appear to be so drastic that proper exercise and nutrition protocols can’t prevent or improve body weight.
In fact, at least one long-term clinical trial (five years in length) demonstrated that simple exercise and dietary interventions are effective enough to double your likelihood of preventing a roughly six-pound weight gain at menopause.
The study also showed that it prevented changes in waist size. These results were due to being more active and consuming less total calories.
So, the real answer here appears to be that, yes, menopause does cause some changes that might make it a little bit easier to store fat. However, this can be mitigated and even overcome through proper lifestyle interventions. So you are in the driver seat and control!