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/ Inside Food science
/ Inside Food science

Nutrition and the menopause – can diet affect the symptoms?

Is there a link between nutrition and the health changes associated with the menopause?

It’s an area that traditionally has not received as much attention as one might hope, but things are perhaps changing.

There has been a lot of recent media interest in the menopause, notably Davina McCall’s TV programmes, Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s interviews, and other celebrity interventions getting lots of coverage.    

But while this public discussion is a welcome change, it has also helped highlight that far-from-enough is known about the health issues associated with the menopause.

And the question of menopause and nutrition is an area unfortunately still swamped in myth and pseudoscience.

That is where our guest, Dr Sarah Berry comes in.

She is Reader in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at King’s College London and is Chief Scientist at the health science company ZOE.

ZOE has been studying the effect of the menopause on body composition, sleep, heart disease risk, gut microbiome composition, and the impact our diets can have on these factors.

Listen to the full episode to get a proper definition of what the menopause is, and how the symptoms compare to those experienced during the perimenopausal phase.

We also find out how what you eat could potentially affect symptoms, and why this latest ZOE research could act a springboard for more to come.

Dr Sarah Berry, Lead Nutritional Scientist, ZOE

Dr Sarah Berry’s research interests relate to the influence of dietary components on markers of cardiovascular disease risk, with a particular focus on:

– Precision nutrition 

– Postprandial metabolism

– Food and fat structure

Since commencing her research career at King’s College London in 2000, she has been the academic leader for more than 30 human nutrition studies in cardio-metabolic health. Sarah has made a leading contribution to the knowledge-base on the influence of interesterification of triacylglycerols on postprandial metabolism. Her research also focuses on the influence of manipulation of food structure and subsequent effects on lipid and carbohydrate bioaccessibility and changes in postprandial metabolism.

Ongoing research involves human and mechanistic studies to elucidate how markers of cardiometabolic health can be modulated following acute and chronic intakes of different fatty acids and interesterified fats, as well as studies to investigate the influence of cell wall integrity on macronutrient and micronutrient release from different plant-based foods.

Sarah is also the lead nutritional scientist on the PREDICT programme, assessing the genetic, metabolic, metagenomic, and meal-dependent effects on metabolic responses to food in >3,000 individuals in the UK and US. This research is at the forefront of developments in personalised nutrition and is forging a new way forward in the design and implementation of large-scale remote nutrition research studies integrating novel technologies, citizen science and AI.

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Sarah Berry

Contributor

Senior Lecturer

King's College London

Women's health overall is really poorly studied. It's not just the menopause.

Sarah Berry