Transgender people

Transgender people transition from male to female or female to male. Their nutritional requirements are different from the normal female or male adult. During the transition, they need to eat healthy. What do experts advise these people?

Transgender people and nutrition

Men and women have different nutritional requirements. They require different amounts of calories. Women need less calories. But it also depends on their lifestyle and daily work routine. Their genetics and muscle mass also play a role in it.

Transgender people
Transgender people (Source: UNAIDS)

Transgender people are anatomically males or females. But they are transitioning into females of males respectively. It is obvious that during this transition, they would require different amounts of nutrition. Their calories and amount of fats, protein, and carbs requirements would be different. Additionally, they would require specific amounts of minerals and vitamins. Moreover, they would require foods that would provide them with the natural hormones of the body they are transitioning into. A male to female transitioning person would need estrogen containing foods and those transitioning from female to male would require testosterone containing foods.

Hormones and their effects on body

Transitioning people require calories and other nutrients in varying amounts. Their route of transition and also their body mass index and what waist size they want would determine this. There is not many studies in this population as regards their nutritional needs. But nutrition experts provide them with some tips and clues to make the transition smooth and easier.

Transgender people
Research on transgender nutrition is lacking (Source: Men’s health)

If takes around 6 to 12 months for the artificial hormones to produce some physical changes in them. The whole process of transition requires around 2 to 5 years for completion.

When testosterone is being used, the weight gain that follows is due to fat deposition in the abdomen and mid section. Upper body strength increases along with muscle mass. With estrogen, fat is more in the buttocks, thighs and hips. Muscle mass decreases and muscle strength also comes down.
Progesterone causes fat redistribution and also muscle breakdown.

How to achieve a smooth transition?

The first thing is to know your numbers. Usually target for number of calories and other food components that lies in between those of a male and a female adult. Determine based on your activity level and weight and height.

Once you are around a year into the transition process, switch to that of the transitioned gender based on your height, weight and lifestyle.

Transgender people
Tips on diet for Transgender people (Source: Gender GP)

Read more: What is a casserole? How to make it in a healthy way?

Add nuts and seeds to your diet to increase protein intake. Eat whole and fresh. Avoid processed and ultra processed foods. Have lots of whole grain foods, vegetables, and fruits and legumes. Drink lots of water and stay hydrated. Avoid sugary and fizzy drinks. Plan your menu 1 week in advance. If you are a fussy eater, disguise the hated food such as vegetables into soups and smoothies. That’s a great way to have them without knowing it.