You hit menopause, and the pear-shaped body you’d finally learned to love morphed into an apple, an extra large apple. Suddenly fat was sticking to you at a frightening rate, latching onto your mid-section simply because you looked at a piece of cheese. Everything was the enemy. Eating was a chore. You wished that you could find just one food that would take away from rather than add to your belly’s bulge. Well, we’ve got it for you; it’s soy.
A study of 18 women who had been menopausal for one to five years found that those who drank soy-based shakes every day for three months had less abdominal fat than those who drank milk-based shakes. This is likely due to soy’s isoflavones. They are structured similarly to estrogen and thus, bind to estrogen receptors in fat tissue. Since a lack of estrogen is attributed to some menopausal weight gain, the presence of estrogen-like isoflavones helps minimize the rise, at least around the abdomen.
In the study, the amount of weight gain didn’t vary from group to group, only the distribution. So while the women had a decreased risk of heart disease and diabetes as a result of abdominal fat, they did not have thinner bodies. If you want both a better belly and fewer pounds, eat soy but don’t rely solely on it. Also, consume less fat and more fiber, workout regularly incorporating aerobic and strength training exercises, and remember to love your body, whether it’s an apple, a pear or any other fruit from the tree.