Hot Flashes and Blood Sugar

By: Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

Novel research by nurses at the University of Texas1 is documenting that when blood sugar lowers then hot flashes are more likely and that when food is eaten then hot flashes may stay away for up to 90 minutes.

The researchers don’t seem to have much of an idea as to why this is happening, and are even suggesting women eat every 3 hours to suppress hot flashes.  Such advice misses the point and the underlying problem – which is why the nurse giving this advice is herself significantly overweight.

Women with poorly controlled blood sugar will have abnormal drops in their blood sugar between meals.  This activates a hunger signal typically fueled in the brain by neuropeptide Y (NPY).  It is well known that higher levels of NPY trigger hot flashes, research I reported on in my 2002 book, Mastering Leptin.

One of the most common points of feedback I get from women on the Leptin Diet is that their hot flashes stop or are a lot better.  Eating in harmony with leptin actually reduces excess NPY, which can also be assisted by taking more calcium.

Eating more often is a parlor trick attempt to fool NPY, which will only result in more weight gain at and following menopause – the last thing any woman wants.  Anything you do to help get your cravings under control will help stabilize NPY and reduce hot flashes.

Referenced Studies:
  1. ^ Dropping Blood Sugar May Trigger Hot Flashes   J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs.  Dormire S, Howharn C.

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