Women over 50 are losing the battle of the bulge, even when they stick to a healthy diet.
New research has found the menopausal roller coaster will almost certainly include an increase in weight.
The study of 700 women over the age of 52 found those who ate a healthy diet still put on an average of about two kilos, the same weight gained by women who ate less healthy meals.
During menopause, a woman's hormonal profile changes, her oestrogen levels drop and her metabolism slows down, causing the middle-age spread.
Professor Clare Collins, of Newcastle University, says the way to combat the muffin top is to cut back on foods with lots of kilojoules and increase foods with good nutrients like fruit and vegetables.
Fitness centres say menopausal women now make up a large proportion of their clientele, desperate to lose those unwanted and difficult shift extra kilos.