Weight gain, bloating and difficulty with digestion are common problems for women in their 40s and older. This frequently manifests itself as belly fat and older women find they can’t lose weight as they used to. Hormonal changes are often blamed for such problems during menopause, but it could be intolerance to gluten and dairy foods that are the real culprits. Here's how to check whether these two food groups are the reason why you can’t lose weight.
Symptoms of Food Intolerances
Foods high in gluten, such as flour, wheat, semolina, barley, bulgur and rye, can cause intestinal problems in those with gluten sensitivity and celiac disease. Often undiagnosed, gluten intolerance can cause cramps, a swollen stomach and inflammation throughout the body.
Similarly, those who are lactose intolerant may suffer with gas, bloating and diarrhea, as they are unable to digest the lactose (sugar) in milk and dairy products. Other symptoms of food intolerance in those who can’t lose weight include chronic fatigue, headaches and a stuffy nose.
If these problems sound familiar, it’s time to address the reasons why you possibly can’t lose weight by eliminating the cause of the problem.
Alternatives to Gluten and Dairy Products for Those Who Can't Lose Weight
At first glance it may seem that all your favorite foods fall into either the gluten or dairy categories. Eliminating these foods can be daunting, but once you have established a healthier more wholesome lifestyle, you can gradually reintroduce the foods one by one to see if they cause any problems with bloating, inflammation and that inability to lose weight.
It's all about substituting foods, or significantly reducing those problem foods from your diet. First, eliminate all bread, cakes, cereals, breadcrumbs, bagels, tortillas and pasta that contain wheat or other glutens. Substitute them with rice or corn flour in cooking. Flaxseed, quinoa and millet flours are all acceptable along with potatoes, sweet potatoes and rice. Polenta (corn meal) is a good side dish; and seeds, beans and nuts can also be imaginatively used in gluten-free recipes. Health food stores offer a range of gluten-free breads, crackers, rice cakes and flours to help you ease into making these changes.
Dairy substitutes are a matter of shopping wisely and choosing soy, almond, rice and coconut milk instead of cow's milk. There are good replacements for sour cream and cream cheese, especially when making dips and spreads. Replace ice creams with sorbet and gelato. Soy-based yogurts are widely available in supermarkets.
Solving the Problem, One Food at a Time
Once your digestive problems and complaints of "I can’t lose weight" are solved, enjoy your new healthy diet. If you hunger for certain products, then add them back carefully one at a time, monitoring for any bloating or symptoms.