Fructose and Menopause

By September 21, 2008Uncategorized

In the book I briefly mentioned that there is research indicating that men and post-menopausal women are the ones most affected by fructose.  I theorised that perhaps what was protecting pre-menopausal women was oestrogen.  I based that thinking on a line of research which started with a 1966 study by Dr MacDonald from the Guy’s Hospital Medical School in London.

Dr MacDonald fed a mixed group of pre and post menopausal women and some men solutions which were either glucose or fructose loaded.  He noticed that the men and post-menopausal women on the fructose diet had increased fatty acids in the blood.  This confirmed what rat studies had shown at around the same time – pre-menopausal women (and rats) were in some way immune to the most dangerous effects of fructose.
I was very pleased to notice the other day that a very recent study has picked up on that line of research.  The study by the Lausanne University School of Biology and Medicine, Switzerland has just been published in the June edition of Diabetes Care, the magazine of the American Diabetes Association.
The new study confirms Dr MacDonald’s work but gives some even more detailed findings.  Not only are circulating fatty acids lower in pre-menopausal women, they do not develop insulin resistance.  Both these things happened as expected in the male counterparts.  
The researchers called for more research given this was a very small (16 people) and short (6 day) study.  But interestingly they speculated as to the reason for the difference and suggested that it might be that pre-menopausal women appear to be extremely efficient at converting the fatty acids created by fructose into leg fat.  This rapid creation of leg fat seemed to provide protection against the more dangerous aspects of fructose feeding (insulin resistance and tummy fat).
So in a nutshell, something about menopause (and I speculate it’s the sudden decrease in oestrogen) caused women’s bodies to start acting like men’s when it comes to fructose.  They stop storing leg fat, start storing tummy fat and start developing insulin resistance and blocked arteries.   A fat bottom may not be the most desirable thing in the fashion world, but as far as nasty little diseases go, its much better that the fructose make its way there than stay in the arteries (as fat).
Quite a few readers have emailed telling me that menopause became a whole lot more bearable as soon as they stopped eating fructose.  Strangely, male researchers have so far seemed disinclined to look too hard at associations between menopause and fructose.  But this latest research does suggest there is some kind of link between fructose metabolism and pre-menopausal hormones.  
There appears to be alot of anecdotal evidence suggesting women not consume sugar during menopause.  Various sites suggest keeping the sugar intake low will reduce the impact of hot flushes and other symptoms.  So far I haven’t been able to pin down any reputable scientific source for this thinking.  I intend to keep looking further at this.  I’ll post what I find … 

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Ewen says:

    21 days ago I gave up fructose. I have NOT had ONE hot flush or night sweat since the 1st night. There has to be a connection between fructose and menopause syptoms. I am a new woman and my husband is a new man! Kim

  • This has been very consistent feedback from readers of the book. I am looking into this in detail now and hope to be able to post the results soon.

  • Angela stock says:

    I too have noticed a decrease in my menopause symptoms. I have some friends who are suffering and I mention that I am feeling better since I have been sugar free. They are usually very sceptical but I know I am a new woman too. My overall health has improved ten fold. Been sugar free for 2years and and can’t thank david enough.

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