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On the Menu: Your Questions About Menopause & Nutrition (Part 3)

body image diet culture gentle nutrition hormone replacement therapy hormone therapy hrt keto midlife health midlife women nutrition nutrition myths perimenopause un-dieting

I'm back for Part 3 of this bonus series of episodes where I'm answering more of the questions that poured in about navigating nutrition in midlife! If you found these mini-episodes to be helpful, be sure to let me know so we can plan to include even more!



#1: How do we combat the damage of low-carb and carb-phobia nonsense that's been done by diet and wellness culture? 

Diets like Keto may have had their moment in the spotlight, but the real impact is somewhat questionable. Modern science waves goodbye to the outdated carb-insulin model that linked insulin to weight gain, which really reduces it to a myth. Insulin has many important purposes, from playing hunger controller to managing energy transfers.

On top of that, low-carb or no-carb diets often miss the memo on vital nutrients in a balanced meal. Instead try to add some fiber from carbs and embrace a three-legged stool approach: carbs, protein, and fat. Let's turn down the volume on diet culture noise and give priority to what feels right for you. It's 100% okay to ditch the unproductive low-carb obsession for a healthier, balanced approach.

#2 With all the "experts" out there, how do I know that your advice is the right one? Who has the right advice?

The key? Credible sources and evidence-backed claims from trusted professionals. Watch out for those red flags—extreme, all-or-nothing statements should set off your alarm bells. Transparency and humility are your buddies when it comes to presenting evidence.

Filter advice through the credibility lens, and you'll spot reliable insights amid the diversity. It's a team effort with space for questions, reactions, and a supportive community. Keep it simple, be empathetic, and the clarity you're looking for will follow!

#3: HRT is being pushed at every angle! Can you get through perimenopause and menopause without it or is it really the only way to prevent all the worst case health conditions? 

Menopause and Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) are having a moment, which is definitely prompting essential conversations about access. Advocacy is crucial, especially when it comes to acknowledging the battles for necessities like vaginal estrogen. It's important to remember menopause as a natural life stage, and HRT is just one of those supports available to navigate it with more grace.

The decision to use HRT is personal, and it's not a decision that anyone else can make on your behalf. You can absolutely navigate the midlife season with or without HRT, but having a supportive community will absolutely contribute to your ability to thrive!

Links Mentioned

Did you miss Part 1 and 2?
 Find it HERE and HERE!

Episode 56:  8 Things I Wish I'd Known About Perimenopause Before My Last Period

Episode 78: Filtering the Fear of Insulin Resistance in Menopause with Val Schonberg, RD



Jenn Salib Huber: 0:35 Hi and welcome to the Midlife Feast, the podcast for women who are hungry for more in this season of life. I'm your host, Dr. Jenn Salib Huber. I'm an intuitive eating dietitian and naturopathic doctor and I help women manage menopause without dieting and food rules. Come to my table, listen and learn from me trusted guest experts in women's health and interviews with women just like you.

Each episode brings to the table juicy conversations designed to help you feast on midlife. And if you're looking for more information about menopause, nutrition and intuitive eating, check out the Midlife Feast community, my monthly membership that combines my no-nonsense approach that you all love to nutrition with community, so that you can learn from me and others who can relate to the cheers and challenges of midlife.

Jenn Salib Huber: 1:48 Hi Deanna, hi Jen. So we are back for this third Q&A session and we'll link to the first two in the show notes. I won't go into the big history of it. You can go back and listen to how we've come to this idea, but we're going to dive into three questions that have come from listeners about food and hopefully will help to make menopause nutrition feel easy.

Dee-Anna: 2:11 Yay, all right. Are you ready for another question? I am All right. I like this one because it's a little bit sassy and I relate with it. So it says I'm just so tired of the low carb and carb phobia nonsense. How do we even combat the damage that it's done by diet and wellness culture? It seems like an impossible task.

Jenn Salib Huber: 2:11 We're all tired of it, right? I mean, I always say and I don't mind dating myself this way, but I started studying nutrition in 1995, and it was just before the low carb craze. We were still very much in the low fat phase at that point in the 90s, but by the time the 2000s rolled around, there was Atkins and there was all that stuff. So low carb diets A are nothing new. The fact that they have come and gone every other diet a million times tells us that they don't work the way that they say that they do. But we also just have so much new science.

So this idea that the carbohydrate insulin model of weight regulation meaning that if you eat something that brings your insulin levels up, that that will increase your body size or weight because it promotes fat storage we just know not to be true anymore. So insulin serves many purposes. It's a satiety hormone, it's critical. We need it to get fuel into ourselves. If we didn't have it, as in type 1 diabetes, we die literally. So we know that it's not the whole piece of the puzzle, but the fear that it created around carbohydrates is like nothing short of spectacular.

So just try and remember that. It's bad science, it's old science and we really have studied this so many times and low carb, especially the ultra low carb diets like keto, have no advantage to our health. And even if weight regulation is what someone is after, there is no distinct advantage to doing these ultra low carb diets. We want to focus on what you add in, like add in the fiber, which comes from carbs, by the way, and just remember that food is. We need balanced plates. So I always talk about this like three-legged stool we need the carbohydrates, we need the protein and we need the fat. So trying to silence wellness and diet culture is a good goal, but just focus on you. Just focus on what you're doing and what feels good, and if you feel like following low carb has just created a lot of noise, just let it go, because you don't need to do it.

Dee-Anna: 4:32 I think the way to combat it is just to eat carbs and feel satisfied. If the people who are proposing this are not eating carbs, they're probably angry and frustrated because they're hungry.

Jenn Salib Huber: 4:49 So, and people who are listening as well, go back and listen to the episode. I don't know if you know the number off the top of your head with Val Schoenberg that we did on insulin resistance.

Dee-Anna: 4:59 Oh, it's in the 70s, I think.

Jenn Salib Huber: 5:01 It's in the 70s, I want to say 78. It could be wrong, but it's up there anyway. And we were talking about where did all of this come from? I think Val very aptly said that it is kind of rooted in fat phobia, in this fear that we have about bodies getting bigger. So I always like to kind of try and tie into the social justice piece of body acceptance and that it's more than just me. It's like I need to be part of dismantling the ladder as Sonja. Renee would say Fight back, like even carbs, yes.

Dee-Anna: 5:38 Crunch them up. Okay, this one is an interesting one. I appreciate this. This one says I follow a few experts, such as yourself, and even between experts the advice differs. How do I know that your advice is the right one? Who has the right advice?

Jenn Salib Huber: 5:58 That is like such a great question. So one of the things that I always tell people is, obviously, look at the source and see, like, are they a trusted source, meaning, are they able to provide evidence for what they're saying? Or is it just anecdotal? Are they talking about, like, the success stories that they have with clients or even with patients, like you know, what is it that is backing up what they're saying?

And I think that it's important, too, that when we're talking about trusted sources, there's a reason why most countries regulate health professionals. And so if you're, if the person that you're getting information from isn't a registered health professional in your state, province, country, whatever it is, and they don't have any governing body that they have to be accountable to, they can literally say whatever they want and they do and they do right. And so I think that that's a really important distinction is that just because someone can say something doesn't mean that they should.

But even amongst health care professionals, I always tell people, like, ask me for the evidence, I am more than happy to provide it to you. And two, if I find something that is actually new or updated or different, I'm happy for both of us to learn. Like, there should be no ego in the evidence. So now, that being said, there still is going to be like this variation of opinions, and it is 100% okay for health professionals to have slightly different opinions based on the data, and especially with nutrition, there's going to be a nuance there, always right, and so it's never going to be all or nothing.

It's not ever going to be like 100% yes or 100% no, and we're all individuals, and so that is the value, I think, of working with people who have not only the training and the clinical experience, but just who have kind of the breadth of experience to know that it's impossible for there to be like one right solution, right, totally. So I think that especially those all or nothing filters can be helpful, because if someone is like it is always this or it is never this, or you should only do this, no, from the other way, and also if they're selling something, so that's like the first filter, obviously. But it is okay for experts to have different opinions as long as they can still back up their opinion with evidence and as long as it's like a reasonable differing right.

If you look at any specialty, whether it's nutrition, oncology, gynecology, whatever you're going to have people who have slightly different opinions, but they are not going to be on like opposite sides of the planet right. You're not going to have somebody who is saying that, like you should always do something and never do something else. So those would be kind of my first places to start. I love that.

Dee-Anna: 9:06 All right. This person says I want to learn, but the fear mongering is a lot to filter. I know older age can be amazing, but I don't feel that. From all that I read and I feel HRT is being pushed at every angle, Can you get through it without it, or do we have to just get all the diseases and die if we don't take it?

Jenn Salib Huber: 9:26 Yeah, I mean the HRT is having its moment, metapause is having its moment. There are some, I think, very much needed advocacy conversations around access to HRT. On both sides of the pond, as it were, and for many people who have had to fight unnecessarily for something as stupid as vaginal estrogen, which should be a counter-attacking, we sometimes need to push that envelope.

But in that conversation of advocacy and access, we do need to remember that this is a natural stage of life that we all go through. We absolutely have the tools and resources within it to make the best of it, to come through the other side feeling stronger and better, to really reap the benefits of the season of life, the confidence that we can have when we get through.

I always say and I am not lying in the tiniest little bit that post-MetaPause is the bomb I love it. I truly, truly, am so excited to be in this agent-stage and want to stay well. I love that, as I shared in what I wish I'd learned in Perry MetaPause episode from February I can't remember what that number is. I wanted HRT to work. I desperately wanted it too, and it just didn't for me. Yeah, I think that episode in the show notes too.

There are so many other ways to support not only the symptoms, but just that journey through Perry MetaPause. That being said, I am absolutely a huge fan of it. For people who need it, want to try it, have access to it If there are no contraindications. Don't let the wellness culture noise around. Hrt really get into your decision-making process. It's only a decision that you and your healthcare provider can make. Your mom can't make it for you, your sister can't make it for you, your best friend can't make it for you.

You can absolutely make it through the other side with or without it, and feel like you're better off for it. There are so many different paths to get there. You don't have to do it alone.

Dee-Anna: 11:42 I so appreciate that you hold that in the balance of you personally didn't have a great experience with it, but you have seen it support so many other people. I think it's also a good reminder with the fear mongering. We constantly have to filter our feed, whether it's actual social media or just what comes into our brain. If that is what is constantly coming at you, then we need to analyze what we're letting in too.

Jenn Salib Huber: 12:11 Yeah, all right, thanks. Thanks, diana. Thanks for all the great questions. We'll see everyone again soon. Thanks for tuning in to this week's episode of the Midlife Feast For more non-diet, health, hormone and general midlife support. Click the link in the show notes to learn how you can work and learn from me. If you enjoyed this episode and found it helpful, please consider leaving a review or subscribing, because it helps other women just like you find us and feel supported in midlife.

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