Key Points
  • The transition into menopause makes women more prone to gaining weight and becoming overweight.
  • During menopause, our bodies require more protein due to the breakdown of tissue proteins.
  • This increased breakdown of protein triggers a specific appetite for protein-rich foods, driven by the production of hormones like FGF21.
  • This heightened appetite for protein leads to a shift in food choices, where we either opt for foods with higher protein content or end up consuming more overall calories (protein leverage).
  • If we don't adjust our diet by increasing protein intake and reducing carbohydrates and fats, we end up consuming and storing more energy, resulting in weight gain.
  • A smart dietary modification that focuses on increasing protein concentration can help prevent or mitigate weight gain during menopause.

Simpson, SJ, Raubenheimer, D, Black, KI, Conigrave, AD. Weight gain during the menopause transition: Evidence for a mechanism dependent on protein leverage. BJOG. 2023; 130(1): 4– 10.


When women reach the age of 40, it's time to give ourselves a thorough check-up.

We need to assess our beautiful bodies, looking at our weight, body mass index (BMI), heart health, lean muscle mass, skeletal strength, and how fit we are in our amazing bodies.

And let's not forget about our diet and nutrition!

We want to see how much energy we're fueling ourselves with and the protein power we're packing.

And gorgeous lady, it's important to review our aerobic and resistance exercise, as well as our overall physical activity levels. 

If we need to switch things up, we can create exciting new exercise programs tailored just for us.

Plus, let's explore ways to boost our protein intake and keep tabs on our progress.

You've got this, and I'm right here cheering you on!

The Details ...

We all know that the menopause journey can be quite the rollercoaster ride.

Hormonal changes wreak havoc, causing weight gain, loss of lean tissue, and an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, sarcopenia (that's a fancy word for muscle loss), and osteoporosis.

But guess what? Recent research has uncovered a little secret that could make a big difference – adjusting our protein intake.

During the menopause transition, our hormones go haywire, resulting in a breakdown of protein and a surge in energy intake from both protein and non-protein sources.

One hormone called Fibroblast Growth Factor 21 (FGF21) is like the siren of protein deficiency. It screams, "Feed me!" and makes us crave foods high in protein.

It's our body's way of saying, "Hey, we need more of that good stuff!"

Now, here's where it gets interesting.

Protein leverage is like trying to find the perfect balance between protein, fats, and carbs in our diet.

The problem is, our food choices often contain less protein and more fat and carbs. Think about all those hyper-tasty processed foods that are oh-so-easy to devour. They may be yummy, but they don't give us the protein punch we need.

So, when we're going through the menopause transition, our bodies actually need more protein to keep everything in check.

During this journey, our bodies change the rules for how much energy we need and what we should be eating.

It's like a shift in priorities. We need to increase our protein intake, but at the same time, we need to eat fewer overall calories. But here's the catch – increasing our protein intake, without reducing oveal energy intake leads to weight gain.

Tricky, right?

This change can make us more prone to gaining weight and facing serious cardiometabolic issues.

Studies have shown that women who consume low amounts of protein after menopause are more likely to experience muscle loss and gain body fat.

So, if we want to keep our lean mass intact while watching our weight, a high-protein diet is our best option..

To make matters more complicated, increasing protein intake alone might not be enough to combat these changes, especially if our bodies resist building muscle and synthesizing bone proteins.

Talk about an uphill battle!

This is exactly why we need to combined strength (resistance) training with an increase in protein intake and a decrease in overall energy intake, which is exactly what we do at the Strong Woman Project.

Simpson, SJ, Raubenheimer, D, Black, KI, Conigrave, AD. Weight gain during the menopause transition: Evidence for a mechanism dependent on protein leverage. BJOG. 2023; 130(1): 4– 10.

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About Rhoda ...

Rhoda is an award-winning dietitian, mature age model, and CEO of Sayvana Women.  

She is the creator of the Elegant Eating Solution, an affordable program that helps women avoid weight regain and feel great about themselves, without restrictive eating.

Elegant Eating is based on the science of protein leverage and follows the unique R.E.M.A.P approach to successful aging.

Learn More About Elegant Eating and How to Get Started

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