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Energy Sources in the Body: Your Ultimate Guide for the Peri and Post Menopausal phases.

Hello, wonderful ladies!

As we journey through the peri and post-menopausal stage, it's critical to understand how our bodies use energy sources efficiently. Knowing how our bodies uses different fuels can empower us to make better dietary choices that support our overall health, vitality, and well-being.

#1. Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the body's number one go-to for quick energy. Once digested, carbohydrates, specifically sugars and starches, are broken down into glucose (blood sugar), which the body uses for immediate energy to fuel our cells, tissues, and organs. An excess amount of glucose will be stored in the liver and muscles in the form of glycogen.

During exercise, for instance, the body will tap into these carbohydrate reserves.

#2. Glycogen

Glycogen plays a crucial role in energy metabolism within our bodies.

Glycogen is essentially the reserve tank of energy in our bodies. It is a storage form of glucose, created by the body from carbohydrates and stashed in the liver and muscles for future use. When the body needs a quick boost of energy or when it's in a fasting state, it dips into these glycogen reserves.

At the onset of exercise, the body taps into the glycogen stored in muscles for quick bursts of energy. Liver glycogen helps maintain blood glucose levels and supplies energy to the brain, red blood cells, and other cells.

#3. Fats

Post carbohydrates, fats provide the most significant energy source. Fats get converted into glycerol and fatty acids during digestion, which then circulate in the blood. Despite being a slower and more complex process, they provide more than double the amount of energy per gram compared to proteins and carbohydrates.

During prolonged, low-to-moderate-intensity exercise or during periods of insufficient energy intake, our bodies tap into our fat reserves. For many peri and post-menopausal women aiming to maintain an optimal weight, understanding how to help our bodies use fat stores efficiently is critical.

#4. Proteins

Proteins are often thought of as building blocks for tissues, but they also have an essential role in energy production. Although not the body's preferred source of energy, proteins are used when carbohydrate stores are low – a relevant concern for women in the peri or post-menopausal stage pursuing lower-carb or other specific dietary strategies.

Understanding how your body uses these different energy sources can help inform your dietary decisions and lifestyle changes, particularly during peri and post menopause. A balanced diet loaded with nutrient-rich whole foods, (not protein bars, shake, energy drinks or fast foods) coupled with regular exercise, is THE BEST tried and tested strategy to promote healthy energy levels, metabolic health, and overall wellness.

So let's also address what happens when someone exercises while not eating enough to meet their Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). BMR is the amount of energy your body requires at rest to maintain essential functions like breathing and circulation. Consistently consuming fewer calories than your BMR can eventually lead to negative effects on the body.

Under-eating and over-exercising create a calorie deficit which may lead to weight loss initially. However, it's NOT sustainable OR beneficial for long-term health. Once carbohydrates stores are depleted, your body breaks down fat for energy. In the absence of sufficient carbohydrates and fats, your body could be forced to use protein for energy, breaking down muscle mass, which in turn can slow down your metabolism/lower your BMR over time.

Inadequate nutrition can lead to fatigue, decreased performance, weakened immune system, hormonal imbalance, poor concentration, mood swings, and increased risk of injuries. For women in peri and post-menopausal stages, it can exacerbate hormonal changes and other symptoms associated with menopause.

The key takeaway is balancing your eating patterns according to your energy requirement. Consuming nutrient-rich food, including enough carbohydrates, can support exercise routines by replenishing glycogen stores, maintaining muscle mass, and supporting overall wellness. My go to is whole foods... if the food you eat contains an ingredient you would never eat in isolation just don't eat the food! ..or at the very least limit intake of it.

Most of all remember to listen to your body and understand that every individual's needs are different.

Everyone's body is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. Consulting with a dietician or nutritionist can provide further assistance and personal advice. Take care of your body, as it's the only place you have to live in, ladies.

Stay energized and keep glowing!

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