When it comes to weight management, research suggests perimenopause and protein are an untapped power pair.
One minute you’re in your twenties, getting home at 3am without a care, the next you’re wondering when you last saw your period, why your moods swing like wrecking balls and why you haven’t had a proper sleep in weeks.
Perimenopause may be universally considered unsuspecting, unwelcome and inconvenient, but at WelleCo, we believe it doesn’t have to take over or define you. Thanks to the incredible nous of our our founder, Elle Macpherson and formulator, Dr. Simonè Laubscher, our team has come to learn that all phases of life offer us as women enormous opportunities for growth, pleasure and breakthroughs—menopause inclusive.
Some women, however, do report weight gain and lean tissue loss during this time. Naturally, this can feel overwhelming, as usual routines fail to reap the rewards they once did, therefore affecting how they show up in the world.
The good news is breakthroughresearch from the University of Sydney's Charles Perkins Centre (courtesy of professors David Raubenheimer and Stephen Simpson) alludes to a strong link between perimenopause, protein intake, and weight management. The researchers propose that minor adjustments to the balance of macronutrients -- particularly protein -- could prevent weight gain during perimenopause.
The key concept driving their research, known as the 'Protein Leverage Effect', refers to the body craving more protein during perimenopause due to the increased hormone-induced tissue protein breakdown.
Basically, if these new increased protein requirements aren't met, women might find themselves opting for other forms of energy out of sheer convenience and this can lead to weight gain. Meaning it’s often easier to reach for processed, sugary, more convenient options instead of what your body really craves and needs (protein) to function optimally during this time.
The Energy Dip
Overall energy tends to dip during this time, compounding any perceived weight loss challenges. The research suggests it’s wiser to eat less carbohydrates and fats and more protein to compensate for what’s going on biologically. Sticking to a highly processed Western diet throughout this time (without addressing these shifts) can result in excess energy intake, potentially leading to weight gain and an increased risk of obesity and other issues.
Tiny Changes, Weighty Impact
Thankfully, the researchers believe small dietary tweaks can make a significant difference. Prioritising protein, reducing fats and carbohydrates and maintaining physical activity are said to be powerful strategies for managing weight during perimenopause. Professor David Raubenheimer highlights that even slight adjustments, such as cutting out snacks or sugary beverages (including *cough* wine) and incorporating high-quality animal or plant protein into the daily diet, may yield some super positive results.
Of course, this is exactly what our Nourishing Protein was originally formulated to do for our founder, Elle Macpherson.
“Our Nourishing Protein was formulated for the hustle and bustle of my lifestyle,” the supermodel says.
“When I couldn’t eat well due to my schedule or travel, I would rely on it because I knew it had been formulated with the most clean, natural, quality nutrients available, so it would go the distance until my next meal – it’s a true supermodel secret.”
Make a Meal of it.
If you want to get technical, the researchers propose that increasing the proportion of daily protein by approximately three percent of your daily energy intake and then reducing total energy intake by five to 10 percent per day is the sweet spot for a peri woman.
“And whilst I don’t condone skipping meals or doing anything that harms your body in any way, I do advocate making wise, nutritious, self-caring choices,” says Elle.
“Given my career, I can’t deny that weight was and is important in my line of work, but even then, it’s just one part of the picture. Wellness for me means feeling that I’m presenting and living my optimal version of myself.”
At WelleCo, we empower women to look and feel their best no matter where they are on their wellness journey — so they can offer their best to this world. If this means upping the protein, then we are here for it!
The information in this article is not intended to be taken as medical advice. We recommend consulting your Healthcare Professional for advice on your supplement routine. Always read the label and follow the directions for use.