‘Worst time of day’ to eat meals during menopause, according to experts

As women get older, they may start to notice the numbers on the scales creeping up even if their eating habits haven’t changed.

In the years before and during menopause, women may start to gain weight which can continue at a rate of 1.5 pounds each year throughout a woman’s fifties.

The reason women put on weight during menopause is because of hormonal changes which means they gain weight around the tummy rather than in the hips and thighs.

However, it should be noted that lifestyle and genetic factors can have an impact on weight gain.

While there are lots of diets and supplements experts recommend for menopausal weight gain, changing the time of day you eat could help fight menopausal weight gain.

READ MORE: Man loses 10 stone and reverses prediabetes following diet with ‘tasty meals’

GP talks about the impact of the menopause on weight gain

Authors and registered dieticians Hillary Wright and Elizabeth Ward who co-wrote The Menopause Diet Plan: A Natural Guide to Managing Hormones, Health, and Happiness told Red Online that “when you eat matters”.

The authors said that if you under-eat early in the day or you over-restrict food to lose weight, you’re more likely to overeat later in the day and into the night.

They added: “Due to the influence of circadian rhythms on our metabolism, night is the worst time of day to play calorie catch-up.”

The reason when we eat matters is our body’s natural circadian rhythms. Consistently eating food will regulate energy levels and will prevent people from eating too much when they’re hungry.

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The experts added: “Managing meal timing is gaining ground for its role in weight control, regulating blood glucose levels, getting better sleep, and possibly lowering cancer risk.”

Dr Pamela Peeke, author of Body for Life for Women, said eating late at night can make it difficult to lose weight.

She said women should avoid eating too much too late as eating later in the evening “is murder for trying to keep weight off”.

Snacking in the afternoon can also make weight loss more difficult, especially if you’re mindlessly eating.

Dr Peeke even goes as far as saying that what a women does from 3pm every day can “determine how big her belly is”. She added: “That’s when most women tend to overeat and over-snack.”

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To stop yourself from snacking in the afternoon, Dr Peeke suggested eating during a window of eight to 12 hours a day and then not eating for the rest of the time.

While this is a great tip for anyone looking to lose weight, she said this is especially important during menopause.

One way women can follow this rule is by finishing their meals at 7pm and not eating again until 7am so there’s a 12-hour window.

Before exploring this method, it’s best to speak to your GP or a doctor so you can discuss any risks.

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