Carbs were already considered a ‘guilty’ pleasure after we discovered just how much weight can be gained from eating it in surplus. But now, there are research studies that suggest that it can also result in the early onset of menopause. So, is it true? Do carbohydrates bring on early menopause?
To answer that question, we’re going to first have to delve a little deeper into the science behind both carbohydrates and menopause. It’s always harder to imagine the relationship between things like this. Especially when you consider outside factors. So, we’re going to do our best to break down as much of it as possible. Continue reading to learn more!
What are Carbohydrates?
Okay, so first, let’s talk about carbs. And yeah, it’s likely that you’re already perfectly aware of what those are. However, for the newbies out there, we’re going to do a quick refresher. So what are they? This is an easy enough question, carbs naturally take up a large part of our diets. After all, it’s through carbs that we obtain most of our energy. This is energy that comes in the form of calories, calories that we burn throughout the day (or gets stored for later.) Let’s break this down further.
Carbohydrates as Macronutrients?
If you’ve been around the fitness industry long enough, then you’re probably familiar with the term ‘macronutrients.’ You might have also heard it being referred to as ‘macros.’ Either way, these are nutrients that our body needs in order to keep working, and no — this isn’t negotiable. If you find yourself lacking in one or two of these nutrients, then you can expect your body to begin weakening.
Outside of the obvious, macros are often discussed around the fitness industry for things like physical growth, metabolism, mental health, etc. Some people go as far as to consume only a set amount of each macronutrient to achieve their fitness goals. This is often referred to as ‘counting’ or ‘calculating’ your macros.
Doing this will allow you to control every aspect of your diet, but we’ll talk more about that later. First, let’s talk about carbohydrates as a macronutrient. We already mentioned this earlier, but carbs are most prominently used for the boosting of energy. As such, you can control how much energy you’re giving to your body by eating less or more calories.
Of course, that’s not all there is to it. It just so happens that eating more carbs will not only provide more energy but make it easier to gain weight as well. We’ll talk about both sides of the coin later, for now, let’s move on to how much carbs you should be getting.
How many Carbohydrates should I be eating?
This one is a little tricky, but there’s a formula in place for this very reason. At the moment, the recommended amount of carbs is highly dependable on a couple of things. These things could include your weight, height, country of residence, and the types of carbs that you’re consuming. Either way, the Mayo Clinic provides us a simple answer by recommending that Americans consume up to 45 to 65 percent of their total daily calories.
Everyone has different caloric needs, and so, that’s where the calculation becomes important. You might be eating an average of 2,000 calories per day, if so, then the Mayo Clinic recommends that 900 to 1,300 of those calories should be reserved for carbohydrates only.
What type of Carbohydrates should I be eating?
The answer to this can vary, but you should always strive to get a little of each. Keep in mind, that of the three that we’re going to be talking about, one is considered a bad carbohydrate and the other two as good carbohydrates. These are due to the different ways in which they affect the body.
Sugar — Simple Carbohydrates
The first type we’ll be talking about is often considered a “simple” carbohydrate. These break down easily and are the cause of most of our cravings. Most nutritionists will recommend that these be taken only before training, if only because of its ability to provide energy quickly. It dissolves quickly, so you’ll have access to the calories almost immediately.
According to the Natural Balance Foods blog, examples of sugar carbohydrates include fruits, veggies, dairy products, table sugar, milk sugar, etc.
Fiber & Starch — Complex Carbohydrates
These serve as the opposite of simple carbohydrates. They don’t provide quite as much energy and are less likely to cause cravings. In fact, a lot of people prefer complex carbs for their tendency to dissolve slowly. Because of this, most nutritionists think that these are best eaten early in the day — to provide continuous energy.
The two main types of complex carbohydrates are starch and fiber. Starch carbohydrates can come in the form of vegetables, grains, beans, peas, etc. On the other hand, we see fiber in natural foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, beans and peas.
What are the best carbs?
If you want the simple answer, then carbohydrates that are natural and or rich in fiber are the best. That makes things like sugars and some starches ‘not so good.’ Still, that doesn’t mean that you should only be eating one type of carb. These are just ideas that you can follow. In the end, you’re still going to want to have access to both. Like eating simple carbs for quick energy boosting or limiting complex carbs consumption to the early morning to allow them to be digested properly.
What is Menopause?
Don’t worry, we won’t be going through this as much as we did the carbohydrates. Menopause is a lot easier to understand, and something that most girls are made aware of at a young age. Now, if you’re not familiar with the official definition, then you can refer to this article by WebMD. In that article, they referred to menopause as a natural condition that women are predisposed to experience as they age. It can take form in several ways, one of the most prominent of which is the very present lack of menstruation.
What happens when you go through menopause early?
Although menopause is a natural occurrence, it’s not something that you would want to happen until it was absolutely necessary. Early onset of menopause can cause the increase risk of health complications in some women, including, but not limited to, heart disease, bone density complications, cancer, osteoporosis, etc. As such, it’s understandable why one would want to know the things that could be accelerating menopause.
In fact, according to the iNews.uk newspaper, people who start later are likely to live longer. They go as far as saying that people who are fortunate enough to not experience menopause for more than 40 years are more likely to live up to their early 90s. This information comes from solid facts and is the furthest thing from conjecture. They had tested a group of around 16,000 women and surveyed their medical standing based on when their menopause had begun.
Do carbohydrates bring on early menopause?
Finally! We can get down to the crux of the situation. Do carbohydrates bring on early menopause? The simple answer would be — yes, yes it does. See, I think we can all agree that pasta or rice are filling. There’s just nothing else like it. Now, this is even truer if you live in the Asian parts of the world — which eats rice as a part of their primary diet.
However, it’s easy to understand why someone would be hesitant to eat carbohydrates once they heard the news. The thing is though, it’s just not that easy. There’s nothing about the situation that is cut and dry — which is why we took as long as we did to break down carbohydrates.
It’s impossible to cut carbohydrates from your diet completely, not without making yourself completely ill. So, why are there articles online claiming that cutting back carbohydrates will allow you to live longer? Well, this is when we finally get into the difference between high carb diets and low carb diets.
High Carb Diet
First, let’s cover the extreme that most people are probably more familiar with — high carb diets. Carbohydrates are naturally recommended to be a big part of our diet. However, there are still people who insist on taking in more carbs than the usual. Why is this, and how would it affect them?
The thing with high carb diets, is that it’s just more natural. In that, we can’t help but crave them. A lot of the cravings that we get are for simple carbohydrates, and these dissolves quickly enough that we get even more cravings. People don’t choose a high carb diet, unless they’re okay with the idea of growing fat. Still, people who do choose to stick to a high carb diet won’t really risk much. It’s not necessarily a ‘bad’ thing for most people.
Low Carb Diet
Of course, on the other side of the spectrum, are low carb diets. Naturally, these are used by people who are looking to lose more weight. By cutting down the number of carbs that you consume per day, you can cut down most of the calories that you consume. Of course, this isn’t really optimal either. People who consume too little carbs will also experience a massive energy decrease. This can translate into permanent damages to your physique (especially if you’re looking to build a toned body.)
The relationship between Carbohydrates and Menopause
Armed with all that knowledge, it becomes slightly easier to understand the relationship between both carbs and menopause. The study where this information can be found is still in the works. However, it’s been said that at least 14,000 women were studied over the course of four years. This long-standing case study was held in Britain, and it ultimately led them to the conclusion of a negative relationship between carbs and menopause.
Basically, it seemed that people who have a naturally high carb diet were at risk for an early onset of menopause. On the other hand, people who maintained a lower carb diet were less likely to experience menopause in their early years. This was then statistically applied to a set number of years. Specifically, that people who ate fewer carbs were likely to survive for at least 5 years longer than those that ate more.
Conclusion — Do carbohydrates bring on early menopause?
That brings our ‘do carbohydrates bring on early menopause’ article to its conclusion.
To summarize, what did we learn thus far? We learned that carbohydrates are an essential macronutrient that our body needs in order to power our everyday life. This is even more true for people who are physically active. We also learned that early onset menopause has been linked to a couple of troublesome medical conditions like cancer, osteoporosis, etc. and that females who experienced their menopause later in life were likely to live longer.
Finally, we answered the main question of our article with a complicated yes. Because yes, carbohydrates do induce early menopause. As such, it would make sense that you cut off parts of your carbohydrate intake, but no — you shouldn’t cut carbs completely. In short, it’s all about finding what works for you. Depending on your size, the country you live in, etc. you might find that you have different needs. This can also be affected by how much physical activity you participate in on a daily basis.
Nutrition is kind of tricky sometimes, made obvious by this particular article. However, the more you learn about it, the better off you will be. Most people already know that eating more is generally bad. However, not everyone understands that some foods will affect you differently and that it’s a lot more complex than what most fad diets would suggest. So, be careful what kind of diet you decide to take on. Make sure that you do adequate research first before changing the way that you eat!