I’ve always been interested in reading and studying the connection between the food we eat and the corresponding reaction of the hormones in the body!
Lately I am reading a lot about progesterone, estrogen, carbs, fats and women! Probably you already guessed, that the men’s part of my readers, are gonna be bored with today’s post, but… this is what is on my mind and I decided to share with you the information, I’ve been collecting.
In my PCOS post, I shared these two videos, that explain in a really simple and comprehensive way, how a woman’s body functions, what happens during your menstrual cycle and exactly what happens in your body!
In order to save you some time, I will just remind you that during the first phase of your cycle, estrogen is dominating, and the second one is characterized with progesterone dominance.
How does that matter and why am I mentioning it? Well, If you adapt your nutrition, so together with the change in your hormonal levels, you adjust the ratio between fats and carbs in your meals, you could get rid of the carb cravings, that most women fight during the second phase of their menstrual cycle!
What to do about it?
Higher estrogen levels in your body are anti-catabolic, and they persevere your muscle tissue, leading to a shift to a predominantly fat- burning metabolism. This means that during the first phase of the cycle, when estrogen is dominating, it is better to decrease your carb consumption, because the body isn’t using them efficiently and you are more likely to store them as fat, than use them for energy!
During the second phase of the cycle, progesterone is dominating. Progesterone is a catabolic hormone and besides that it allows for carbs to be utilized more efficiently. Probably that is one of the reason for the increased hunger for carbs in this period. The glycogen stores are used more efficiently and your body sends signals to provide it with more carbs.
How does that fit in my understanding about healthy eating?
As you know I eat a high fat, low carb diet, with most of my carbs coming from vegetables and some fruits every now and then, but not every day.
My advice would be to experiment with your workouts and nutrition, during both phases of your cycle. During the first phase, limit your carbs to green, leafy vegetables and use higher volume in your workouts.
During the second phase, include vegetables that contain more carbs and some fruits, like berries, a couple pieces of peach, a handful of nuts and raisins, with your dinner, as we discussed here( Carbs for breakfast? Big mistake!). And when it comes to workouts, decrease the volume of your workouts. Probably even without mentioning it, you’ve noticed that you feel more tired, during the second phase of your cycle and you find it kind of challenging to endure workouts with bigger volume!
That does not mean to ditch working out during the second phase of your cycle, to use it as an excuse or decrease the intensity! What it means is to still do intense workouts, but just decrease the volume a little bit!
Have you read something about progesterone, estrogen, women, carbs and fats? If so, what is your opinion on the topic?
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