Are you past 40, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and wondering why you’re still gaining weight? Many people might assume that they need more exercise or to avoid specific foods, but according to new research, it could actually be because of menopause.
Scientists at Ohio State University found that when menopause begins, an enzyme, known as aldh1a1, responsible for producing fat increased in activity considerably. Unfortunately, it especially increased around the vital organs, leading to what’s known as visceral fat, which can contribute to type 2 diabetes and heart disease. This is because the female hormone oestrogen decreases when a woman experiences the onset of menopause. Oestrogen typically suppresses the enzyme, so when its levels drop, the enzyme is able to flourish.
According to study author and assistant professor of human nutrition Ouliana Ziouzenkova, this news may come as a surprise to many:
“If you asked most people what they believe causes obesity, they would probably say high food consumption and a sedentary lifestyle. But we see genetic factors telling the body what to do with fat. A high-fat diet acts on our genetics to make us more fat or less fat. The diet is not powerful enough to do this on its own.”
Of course, this is no excuse to stop being active and living a healthy lifestyle. While genetics may come into play regarding where your fat redistributes, it is still necessary to eat well, exercise regularly and maintain good habits.