Do I HAVE to Cut out ALL Sugar In Perimenopause?
Are you over 40 (or late 30’s) and feel like a big physical and mental shift is happening? You might be feeling that your moods are all over the place, a good night's sleep isn’t common anympre, cycles and PMS symptoms are different (e.g;. worse!).
If this sounds familiar, you might be in perimenopause!
Despite the mad rollercoaster we're all on, the good news is that nutrition can be your trusty sidekick during this wild ride. Yep, what you eat can have a major impact on how you experience perimenopause. You are what you EAT!
A big one in perimenopause is keeping our blood sugar levels balanced as spikes in our blood sugar levels increase our perimenopause symptoms.
So with that comes the question: Can I have sugar? Can I have ANY sugar? Any at all??
Buckle up, we're going to dive into why curbing your sweet tooth in perimenopause is your new BFF during this transitional phase of womanhood.
Kicking the Sweet Tooth in Perimenopause
One of the most common food habits, which is hard to kick, is controlling that sweet tooth.
We get asked alot “Should I remove all processed sugar from my diet or can I just cut down?"
The bottom line is it's definitely better for you to cut out the refined sugars but you've got to love life too! And yummy food is one of llife's joys.
To make things more manageable you could consider swapping out the white or refined sugars for natural unprocessed sugars like maple syrup and honey. However, even with these, they need to be had in moderation.
The absolute worst and we are pretty hardline about is no liquid sugar e.g. fizzy sugary drinks - these dump on the liver, spikes our blood sugar levels, impacts our gut health and causes fatty liver. All of these making our symptoms worse.
Enjoy a small amount of natural sugars but in moderation - have a piece of fruit, have the best version of your vice of choice e.g. fancy a cake? Make your own versus buying a processed version from the supermarket. You can choose the flour, the type of sugar, the fats - all that kind of thing.
Do remember though: sugar is addictive (activating to same part of the brain is cocaine - eek) when you have anything with sugar be sure to observe yourself: do you now crave more? Do you find it ignites that sugar-craving fire within? If yes, it may well be you have to be very careful with it.
You may choose to cut it out altogether because it leads you down a spiral you then struggle to kick out of.
Maybe it's something you have on special occasions?
You can be the judge of you knowing the impact it has on you and your perimenopause symptoms.
If it's too overwhelming to give up altogether, consider taking a run-up to quitting. Start slow, set the bar low, be gentle with yourself. If you fall off your wagon (Whatever you decide that to be), it's okay! Hop back on again! We're cheering you on - all the way (you know it)!
Eat a Balanced Diet To Curb Sugar Cravings in Perimenopause
Eating too much of the same thing isn’t good for balance especially if you're experiencing perimenopause symptoms. Eating too much of one flavour can cause cravings for the opposite flavour. A diet high in salty foods tends to create cravings for sweet foods. If you crave sweet foods try sweet vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes and corn or flavour foods with sweet spices like coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and cardamom.
Focus on Good Sleep in Perimenopause (easier said than done!)
When we are overtired the hunger hormone Ghrelin kicks in which can have us reaching for the quick sugar fix (hello quick high and oh, hey there massive crash - URGH).
Find it hard to sleep? You're not alone and we know it's easier said than done.
Get out top tips for better sleep in perimenopause here
Need good sleep now? We can help - head here for more info.
Avoid Artificial Sweeteners.
Artificial sweeteners can be more intense than sugar and many times sweeter. You will still have the same cravings and want more and your palate will get used to that intense sweetness flavour.
Are You Eating Enough Protein?
You need to eat protein at every meal, roughly the size of your palm, to maintain blood sugar levels.
Eliminate or Reduce Processed Foods.
Processed foods tend to have higher levels of sugar. Always read ingredient labels - you'd be amazed what you'll find sugar in - even sausages!
We recommend avoiding foods with more than 10g of sugar per 100g serve.
For easy reference: 4g = 1 teaspoon of sugar.
Are you Deficient in Magnesium?
Magnesium regulates blood sugar levels, if you're deficient it may cause intense sugar cravings, especially for chocolate. We find one cup of Peri Chai Latte in the morning and a Peri Hot Choccy later in the day, both loaded with Magnesium Glycinate, are great pick-me-ups when the energy levels start to drop and we're on the sniff for some sugar.
SheBANG! blends will also help you sleep better which means you wake up refreshed and not craving - a wonderful happy cycle!
Snackies to Keep Blood Sugar Levels Steady
- Nuts and seeds
- Tahini/hummus and veggie sticks
- Boiled egg
- Apple and nut butter
- Greek yoghurt with chia seeds and berries.
Insulin and Perimenopause
Insulin is the hormone created by the pancreas to regulate our blood sugar levels. Insulin resistance in perimenopause can increase our symptoms. The main signs of insulin resistance is abdominal weight gain (that's weight gain around your middle).
And other signs might be:
- Sugar cravings
- High cholesterol and triglycerides (fat cells in your blood)
- Fatty liver
- Skin tags: (you might notice thicker and darker patches, usually in skin creases and folds like the sides and back of the neck, armpits, elbow pits, and groin.
You can get tested by your GP for your insulin usually with ‘fasting insulin’ and ‘oral glucose tolerance test with insulin’.
Wrap Up Time
The best diet in perimenopause is one focused on
- Whole foods
- Plenty of plant based foods
- With good quality protein sources at every meal
- Keeping hydrated
- Including good fats and
- Quality complex carbs.
Read more here Best Diet for Perimenopause.
Limiting or cutting out processed foods and sugar to balance our blood sugar levels but in the same token feeding our souls too, life's all about balance especially now.
If you want to get serious about cutting your sugar cravings, try our Peri Protein POWder with clinically tested KSM-66 Ashwagandha.