A drink can do wonders for your social life when gathered with friends and family, as it naturally lubricates your social side and has brought people closer together for hundreds of years. To ‘drink to health’ is often quoted when people clink their glasses ahead of a gathering with the promise of a few more to come.
During the period of transition from perimenopause into menopause, however, your body goes through a host of changes that may affect your relationship with your favourite tipple. In this blog, we will explore the relationship between sugar, alcohol and menopause to help you navigate these changes and continue to enjoy your favourite drinks.
Drinkwell is the home of the world’s best lifestyle alcohol. Our team of experts work to bring the best sugar free and lower calorie wines, beers, and spirits to the UK market and provide our clients with all the information they need to make decisions that suit their lifestyle. Find out more on our blog.
Alcohol and Menopause
Let’s have a look at some of the benefits and risks of drinking alcohol whilst in your menopause. For reference, let’s consider the NHS’ recommendations for alcohol consumption per week. Consider your weekly intake amongst the following groups:
- 0 Units a week regularly - Non-drinker
- 1 - 14 Units per week - Moderate drinker
- 14+ Units per week - Excessive drinker
One unit of alcohol is approximately one 25 ml serving of 40% spirit or 70 ml of 12% wine or about a half pint of 4% lager. You can find the unit amount on the packaging for all alcoholic beverages sold here in the UK.
Should you drink during menopause?
Drinking alcohol in moderation has reportedly positive effects in relation to complete abstinence. This research compares the health risks of coronary heart disease between people who abstain from drinking to those who drink in moderation and those who drink in excess. These tests show that those who drink in moderation are less likely to fall victim to coronary heart disease than those who abstain or drink in excess.
Because people who are going through menopause have an increased risk of coronary heart disease, moderate drinking may have beneficial effects that contribute towards heart health.
It has also been reported by several studies, including the North American Menopause Society that:
- Women who drink in moderation have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.The
- risks of dementia are reduced for those who drink wine in moderation, compared to those who completely abstain.
- The risk of strokes is reduced for those who drink in moderation compared to women who consume too much alcohol or no alcohol at all.
- Women who drink moderately have stronger bones than nondrinkers between the ages of 50 and 70.
- The risk of obesity is reduced for women who drink in moderation compared to excessive or non-drinkers.
As we have outlined above, moderate alcohol consumption has the potential of providing a range of health benefits. However, it is important to highlight that excessive alcohol consumption is also linked to serious health risks, throughout life and especially during menopause.
Sugar and Menopause
Depending on your drink of choice, it is likely that the sugar content in your beverage will be just as important a consideration for your menopausal health as its alcohol content. When going through menopause, some women experience something called ‘insulin resistance’. This is caused by a change in hormones and it can cause a sensitivity to sugar and negative effects after its consumption.
Drinkwell’s range of sugar free and lower calorie alcohol complements the diet and lifestyle of anyone looking to reduce their sugar intake while continuing to enjoy high-quality wines and beverages. Each product provides you with information about the sugar, calorie, and ABV content, so you can make choices that work with your needs.
Nutrition details (per 125ml)
Each bottle saves you (vs standard average*):
Lifestyle Red Wine Case
This case has been carefully curated to select the world's best sugar free red wines.
Does sugar make menopause symptoms worse?
Yes, high sugar intake does make menopause symptoms worse.
As we go through stages of menopause, estrogen and progesterone levels diminish, meaning that our bodies become more resistant to insulin than in our younger years. With this, it becomes harder to balance our blood sugar levels causing spikes and lows that affect your emotional balance and energy and increase certain medical risks, such as higher risks of cancer and heart disease.
Of course, increased blood sugar also contributes to increased weight gain or the slowing of weight loss as well as increased fatigue and crashes once blood sugar diminishes over time. It is therefore common medical advice to consider your blood sugar and what causes it to spike throughout your daily intake in an effort to control these physical and emotional highs and lows.
Does sugar cause hot flashes?
Some controlled studies have shown that hot flashes during menopause and perimenopause are caused by blood sugar instability between meals. When you eat or drink, your blood sugar spikes almost immediately as your body takes on fuel to give you energy throughout the day. This blood sugar however only lasts for around 90 minutes and after this period can cause a feeling of faintness or sometimes panic.
These feelings are known as ‘hot flashes’ and are a common symptom of menopause. One way of controlling this issue is by reducing high levels of sugar intake over a short period and promoting regulated blood sugar levels over a longer period of time.
If you were to consume a large amount of sugar in a short period of time, let’s say, over a gathering with friends or family, or after a hearty meal, the study suggests that this could lead to a hot flash later on in the day. To reduce your chances of this effect or reduce the severity of the effects of hot flashes, keeping your blood sugar constant should be promoted.
Does sugar affect estrogen levels?
Yes, your sugar intake affects your estrogen levels. Both estrogen and insulin are hormones and pretty important ones at that. Sugar and estrogen are highly interlinked, and this connection can have great effects on your body and well being, especially during peri-menopause and menopause.
The connection goes both ways. During perimenopause, levels of estrogen fluctuate, and can lead to a resistance to insulin. This in turn means that you may experience dramatic fluctuations between high and low blood sugar levels which affect your wellbeing, leading to feelings of fatigue or irritability.
High sugar intake can also lead to spikes in estrogen production, which further contribute to the dramatic hormonal fluctuations that impact your mental and physical well being during perimenopause. In the long term, excessive sugar intake often leads to weight gain, and since some estrogen is produced in fat cells, increasing fat storage in your body leads to increased estrogen production.
What Causes Weight Gain With Menopause?
In the body, sugar is either converted to fat reserves or fat is stored whilst sugar is burned off first for energy. Weight gain when going through menopause is caused by a change in hormones, which changes the body's response to storing fat. Changes in lifestyle, genetic factors, the loss of muscle mass and a slower metabolic system all contribute to the tendency to gain weight during this period of life.
During menopause, we tend to gain weight around the abdominal region, known as visceral fat. This fat is associated with insulin resistance and higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Does cutting out sugar help menopause?
Yes, cutting out or limiting sugar intake helps with the effects of menopause. The modern Western diet consists of high amounts of sugar. Limiting the intake of this sugar has great benefits during the menopause, including balancing your hormonal levels and decreasing menopausal symptoms.
Since alcohol is essentially a type of sugar, consuming an excessive amount of alcohol whilst in menopause means that you are likely consuming an unhealthy amount of sugar, too.
There are many ways to approach a low-sugar diet, but looking after your health should not mean cutting out all the little things that bring you joy. Our journey at DrinkWell started because we wanted to lift our evenings with a tipple, but we wanted to reduce our sugar intake. Since supermarket alcohol is naturally high in sugar, we created a place where you can still consider a glass of wine or beer without overindulging in unnecessary sugary calories.
What Are The Best Ways To Stay Healthy During Menopause?
Managing your blood sugar is a great way to stay healthy during menopause. It is also down to managing your calorie intake. This could include involving a variety of healthier foods in your diet or cutting back on your sugar consumption.
Since alcoholic drinks are a main contributor to blood sugar spikes, certainly late at night, you should consider turning to drinks with fewer sugars or carbohydrates to limit this. Let’s take a look at some of the best drinks to consider when in stages of menopause, that will help with keeping your blood sugar lower, should you choose to drink.
Best Drinks For Menopause
Here at Drinkwell, we have over 10 years of experience in providing zero and lower-sugar alcoholic beverages to the UK market. Here are some options to consider if you are looking to continue to enjoy your favorite drinks while maintaining your wellbeing.
- Varieties of Zero Sugar Wine
- Varieties of Lower-Carb Beer
- Lower Calorie Spirits
- Zero Calorie Tonics
- Low Sugar Hard Seltzers
These lower-sugar options are great for anyone wanting to reduce their sugar intake whilst still wanting to unwind a few nights a week.
What Not To Drink During Menopause?
We have considered some of the top-selling spirits, wines and beers in the UK market to find which have the highest sugar content and should therefore be avoided by anyone wanting to limit their sugar intake.
- Bailey’s Irish Liqueur - 5g of sugar and 6.3g of carbs per 25ml
- Yellow Tail Jammy Red Roo - 4.75g of sugar and 6.75g of carbs per 125ml
- Gallo Family Summer Rose - 7.125g of sugar or 7.875 of carbs per 125ml
After conducting our own research, it is clear that the amount of sugar in wine and liqueurs commonly sold in the UK is going to have a negative impact on anyone wanting to keep their hormones in balance and blood sugar low. One method commonly employed by women in the UK and beyond is restricting their caloric intake to 1200 a day.
Alcohol And The 1200-Calorie Menopause Diet
The 1200-calorie diet is a restrictive diet where women eat 1200 calories a day to lose or maintain weight. Diabetes UK says that this diet is intended to help the user lose weight, however, it could help women keep at a lower weight if they are over 65 and already at a weight that is on the lower end of the scale. Many women who enter menopause find a restrictive diet helpful for limiting hormonal weight gain.
There are many ways to adhere to the 1200 diet as long as the calorie intake of the person on the diet remains below 1200 a day. Vegetables are prompted, as are lean meats and foods low in sugar. With this in mind, alcohol intake whilst staying below 1200 calories can be quite difficult.
Wine and the 1200-Calorie Diet
According to our research, most wines commonly found in UK supermarkets are high in sugar, contributing to a high percentage of your daily calorie intake if you are looking to limit your diet to 1200 calories.
|Beverage||Kcal per 250ml||% of 1200 diet|
|Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc||202||
|Echo Falls White Zinfandel Rose||188||15.67%|
|Lindemans Bin 40 Merlot||220||18.33%|
If we were to compare like for like with Drinkwell’s alternatives, we can see how making the right choices can mean that you still consume alcohol and stay within healthy limits.
Low Calorie Wine Alternatives from Drinkwell
|Beverage||Kcal per 250ml||% of 1200 diet|
|Traces Sauvignon Blanc||146||12.17%|
|Hawkins Bro’s English Rose||138||11.5%|
|Guillaume Aurele Merlot||168||14%|
You can still enjoy even a large glass of wine on the 1200 diet if you make a conscious selection towards lower-sugar wines than those that are commonly available at UK supermarkets.
More With Drinkwell
Drinkwell is committed to providing alcoholic beverages to consumers wanting to cut their sugar, carb and calorie intake. Find out more on lifestyle and Drinkwell by reading our following articles:
- What Type Of Wine Has The Lowest Sugar Content?
- What Drinks Should I Avoid On A Keto Diet?
- How Many Calories Are in a Pint of Lager?
Staying healthy whilst in menopause can be managed by maintaining your calorie intake and moderating your alcohol intake. Drinkwell’s offering can cut your caloric intake by around 5% of your daily intake per serving. Every little helps, and it goes to show that you can continue to drink in moderation by making healthier choices with us.Browse Zero Sugar Alcohol