Weight Loss After Menopause: 6 Surprise Foods To Avoid

Menopause and perimenopause is a transition that happens in every woman’s life. 

A common symptom of menopause is trouble losing weight or gaining weight very easily. 

I understand how frustrating this can be since no matter how much you try, the weight doesn’t seem to come off. 

While you may be having a balanced and healthy diet, the problem may rely on the food options that you are choosing. 

However, don’t worry. In this article, we’ll go over 6 surprise foods you want to avoid for weight loss after menopause. 

6 Foods To Avoid After Menopause For Weight Loss

1) Sugars 

Sugars are almost in everything we eat. Sauces, juice drinks, cereals, and yogurt — you name them, and there is probably sugar in their ingredients list. 

The problem with added sugars is that they can increase your daily calories without adding any vitamins and minerals. These are what we call “empty calories.” 

But besides increasing the risk of weight gain, studies show they can also increase the risk of chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and heart disease. 

So, whenever you are out shopping, look for ingredients such as sugar, honey, syrup, fructose, sucrose, or almost anything that ends with “-ose.” 

Make sure you stick to the recommended intake of less than 10% of your calories coming from sugars. 

2) Processed Foods

Processed foods, mainly those that contain refined carbs, can increase the risk of weight gain during menopause. 

The problem is that these are high in calories and they are not very filling. Consequently, they can lead to overeating and increase your caloric intake without you knowing. 

So, if you are looking to lose weight, it’s best to stay away from overly processed foods or limit your intake of them.

3) Too Much Alcohol 

While a glass of wine occasionally can help you relax, drinking alcohol frequently and in large quantities can be a problem.

The problem with alcohol is that most alcoholic beverages are high in calories, and most people have them with high-calorie foods such as cheese and crackers. 

In addition, it seems that alcohol intake can increase your internal body temperature, which can increase the risk of night sweats and hot flashes. 

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4) Too Much Caffeine 

Too much caffeine can affect your sleep quality, making it more challenging to lose weight. 

Poor sleep can affect your ghrelin levels (hunger hormone) and leptin levels (satiety hormone). Consequently, it can lead to more cravings and overeating. 

In addition, evidence suggests that drinking coffee first thing in the morning can increase your cortisol levels, which is a fat-promoting hormone. 

5) Excessive Salty Foods

An excessive amount of sodium can cause bloating and water retention, leading to increased weight gain. 

While your homemade dishes may be low in sodium, processed foods and fast foods tend to be very high in sodium. 

For that reason, avoid eating canned foods, ultra-processed foods, sauces, and pre-made meals in excess. 

Make sure you are checking the nutritional labels, and opt for foods that have less than 300 mg of sodium per serving (hopefully less). 

6) High-Fatty Foods

High-fat foods are very energy-dense, meaning you get a lot of calories in a small serving size. This means they are fairly easy to overeat. 

Avoid eating too many unhealthy fats, such as mayo, processed meats, butter, and fried foods to make weight loss after menopause easier. And, eat healthy fats (nuts, seeds, and oils) in moderation. 

Best Foods For Menopausal Women To Eat To Lose Weight

1) Vegetables 

Vegetables are high in fiber and antioxidants, both of which can bring several health benefits to women in menopause. 

Their high fiber content can increase fullness levels, allowing you to reduce your calories without being hungry. 

In addition, its high antioxidant content can help reduce free radicals, which can reduce inflammation. This can lead to fewer menopause symptoms. 

2) Whole Grains 

Whole grains are high in fiber and nutrients, unlike refined grains. Carbs can be part of a healthy diet in moderation and picking the right ones. 

So, instead of refined grains, opt for brown rice, legumes, oats, and quinoa. 

3) Berries

Berries are another option with a high antioxidant content. Not only can they help reduce inflammation, but their low sugar content makes it a great option for women who are looking to add something sweet to their menopause diet without affecting their weight journey. 

4) Fatty Fish 

Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines, are high in omega-3 fatty acids. They are well known for their potent anti-inflammatory properties. 

Additionally, thanks to their high-fat content, they can help regulate hormonal levels. 

If you don’t want to include fatty fish, other great sources of omega-3 include flax seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and algae. 

5) Lean Protein 

Just like fiber, lean protein can help increase fullness levels. It can also help slightly boost the metabolism and promote good muscle mass, which can help promote weight loss. 

Great lean protein options include chicken, fish, beef, pork, Greek yogurt, and certain cheeses. 

6) Plant-Estrogens

Phytoestrogens are plant-estrogens that can mimic the effects of estrogens in the body. As a result, they can help decrease menopausal symptoms in women. 

Include options like nuts, seeds, legumes, soy, edamame, and flax seeds. 

vitamins for energy

What Is The Best Diet For Menopause?

The best diet for menopause is one that you can follow long-term. Fad diets are only effective short-term and may even increase the risk of health problems. 

Have a balanced and well-varied diet. You can focus on adding a large lean protein serving, half your plate from vegetables, and a decent amount of healthy carbs. 

If you are unsure about your portions, you can speak with a health professional for better guidance based on your goals and needs. 

Why Can Menopause Lead To Weight Gain? 

Menopause is the time that marks the end of your menstrual cycle. It can be diagnosed after you spend 12 months without a menstrual period. 

This happens because there is a drop in estrogen levels, which can increase the risk of symptoms. 

One of the most common symptoms during menopause is weight gain. There are several factors that can affect your weight during menopause, such as:

  • Slower metabolism. Research shows that a drop in estrogen levels can reduce the metabolism. 
  • Increased fat storage. Another drawback of lower estrogen levels in women is that it may increase the accumulation of fat stores. 
  • Reduced exercise. This may be due to lifestyle habits or an increase in the symptoms of menopause, making it more challenging to work out. 
  • Decreased muscle mass. Muscle mass burns more calories than fat mass. So, a higher muscle mass means that your metabolism can be slightly higher, allowing you to burn more calories. 
  • Poor sleep. Insomnia is often a side effect associated with menopause. Poor sleep has been linked to increased weight gain and cravings. 

Other Lifestyle Habits to Promote Weight Loss During Menopause

While nutrition is an important factor in weight loss, there are other things you need to consider. Here are some other lifestyle habits that can promote weight loss during menopause. 

Stay active

Exercise plays a crucial role in weight loss and overall health. Make sure you strive for at least 150 minutes of light to moderate activity. 

Control stress

Stress management techniques such as yoga, meditation, journaling, and going on walks can help you reduce cortisol levels and promote weight loss. 

Get some sleep

Make sure you are getting enough high-quality sleep. If you have sleep disturbances due to symptoms of menopause, reach out to a health professional to determine the best solution for you. 

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Stay hydrated

Water can help increase your fullness levels, promoting weight loss. 


  • One of the most common struggles most women have when reaching menopause is weight loss. 
  • There are certain surprise foods you may want to avoid, such as sugars, refined grains, caffeine, alcohol, fatty foods, and high-sodium foods, that can make weight loss after menopause easier to achieve. 
  • Instead, focus on a well-balanced diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats to get all the desired nutrients and promote safe and long-term weight loss.

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  2. Papatriantafyllou E, Efthymiou D, Zoumbaneas E, Popescu CA, Vassilopoulou E. Sleep Deprivation: Effects on Weight Loss and Weight Loss Maintenance. Nutrients. 2022 Apr 8;14(8):1549. doi: 10.3390/nu14081549. PMID: 35458110; PMCID: PMC9031614.
  3. between Added Sugars Consumption and Chronic Disease Risk Factors: Current Understanding. Nutrients. 2016 Nov 4;8(11):697. doi: 10.3390/nu8110697. PMID: 27827899; PMCID: PMC5133084.
  4. Lovallo WR, Whitsett TL, al’Absi M, Sung BH, Vincent AS, Wilson MF. Caffeine stimulation of cortisol secretion across the waking hours in relation to caffeine intake levels. Psychosom Med. 2005 Sep-Oct;67(5):734-9. doi: 10.1097/01.psy.0000181270.20036.06. PMID: 16204431; PMCID: PMC2257922.

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