The Menopause Diet “Cheat Sheet”

(from First for Women, Dec. 2002)

1. Bring on the bean dip to stop starch absorption. Chickpeas, kidney
beans and soybeans have glycemic indexes as low as 10 — even canned baked
beans clock in at just 48 — so dip in! And research from the University
of Scranton in Pennsylvania shows that adding beans to a meal slashes
starch absorption by 66 percent, averting the blood-sugar and insulin
surges that set the state for fat storage. Same goes for fruits and veggies,
most of which come in below 50.

2. Drizzle on lemon to stop the sugar surge. Steal some lemon wedges
from the complimentary bar at your company party and put them to good
use. Australian research suggests that drizzling side salads and veggies
with lemon juice, vinegar or other acidic condiments can cut the blood-sugar
spike from an average meal by as much as 30 percent.

3. Head to the carving station to dodge energy lows. With a glycemic
index of zero,protein and fat have a minimal effect on blood-sugar levels,
so take a hint from the Whos in Whoville and load up on the roast beast!
Plus, including a few ounces of protein and a dab of fat in every meal
slows carb absorption, dampening blood-sugar spikes that can cause your
energy to falter if you do eat food on the high end of the glycemic scale.

4. Stick to whole-wheat crackers to nix cravings. When the cheese platter
rolls around, pass on crackers that aren’t made with fiber-rich whole
wheat. White cereals, breads and crackers have glycemic indexes as high
as 100. Within 20 minutes of eating, the pancreas produces an insulin
surge that shuttles sugar into fat cells. Your blood-sugar level plunges,
you feel famished and your brain looks for a quick fix from the same foods
that put you on this roller coaster in the first place.

5. Down a glass of milk to flip your fat-burning switch. Take a tip from
Santa: The milk he drinks every Christmas Eve may help slim his bowl full
of jelly. With a glycemic index of 40, milk helps prevent fat storage
and speeds fat burning. Other great drink options: seltzer, unsweetened
tea or coffee, and diet soda.

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