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Menopause Corner
Menopause Corner

Wendy Hoffman blogs about menopause and women's health—particularly focusing on how diet and nutrition can positively affect a woman's life around the age of menopause.

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Adding More Fat to Your Diet May Help with Menopause Symptoms and Weight Loss

Has your weight been creeping up ever since you hit the menopause years? Is it impossible to lose ten pounds no matter how little you eat?  Do you suffer from digestive problems, or a hormonal imbalance? Those could be the signs of too little fat in your diet, according to Dr. Mary Enig, a biochemist and nutritionist. She thinks that over-consumption of low- and no-fat foods have left dieting Americans lethargic, depressed and... overweight.

In her book, Eat Fat, Lose Fat, Dr. Enig, who is well-known for her research on healthy fats and oils, argues that these health complaints are typical of someone who is deficient in fat. “Eating a low-fat diet can spark food cravings that lead to overeating. Instead of making you healthy, avoiding healthy fats can actually undermine your health because you need fats for countless bodily functions.”

To lose weight, Dr. Enig advocates a back-to-basics diet full of delicious foods “that nature intended for efficient nourishment.” As she explains in her book, starving yourself only signals the body to hold on to fat. A more healthful approach to weight loss, she says, is to eat sufficient quantities of the right kinds of fat, namely saturated (animal fats and tropical oils); and monounsaturated (olive oil, nuts, avocados).

Saturated fat? Haven’t we been told that this is the worst kind of fat you can eat? Dr. Enig explains, that just the opposite is true. “Your body needs not only fats, but saturated fats to nourish your brain, heart, nerves, hormones and every single cell.  Saturated fats form a key part of the cell membranes throughout your body.”

A Cure for the Seven Dwarves of Menopause

The best saturated fat, in Dr. Enig’s view, is coconut oil and it is the cornerstone of her weight loss and wellness program, which calls for one to two tablespoons of it, diluted in warm water, before every meal. Her research has shown this sweet food can turn around ailments that menopausal women know all too well: low energy, thyroid imbalance, food cravings, digestive problems, gas and bloating, dry skin and lifeless hair.

It can also rev up your metabolism and curb in-between meal cravings for sugar-laden foods.  From salmon to mashed potatoes, Dr. Enig offers more than two dozen recipes that call for coconut in one form or another.  If you have an aversion to this tropical fruit, her approach to weight loss won’t suit you.

But if you’ve been having trouble shedding pounds, despite a lean, low fat diet, or you’re stuck in low gear, Dr. Enig’s approach could offer you a break-through.

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About the Author

Wendy writes about women's health in midlife.