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Could This Be The Cause Of A Sudden Weight Gain?

Last week I was catching up with a friend who I haven’t seen or heard from in a while and she told me something alarming. She said “Vani – I haven’t changed my diet, or my exercise routine, but I’ve gained 15 pounds in the last 2 months! I gained it all because of stress!” She’s currently working on a big project and was worried about her sudden weight gain. When she went to the doctor, the doctor checked her cortisol levels. She found out, “they were through the roof!”

Did you know cortisol levels can increase from elevated stress and cause sudden weight gain? Fat accumulates near the stomach because the cells in the stomach are more sensitive to cortisol, and very effective at storing energy. I don’t know about you – but knowing that fact alone makes me want to drop everything and check into the spa.

Hearing her story was a huge wake up call to myself, I’m a workaholic and if I don’t watch it, the balance in my life can totally take a free fall. Her story also got me motivated to share a superfood ingredient that can help your body handle stress better and reduce cortisol levels (and help you in the nooky department too, which I know also reduces stress!).

maca plant

Benefits of Maca Superfood

Superfoods are nutrient dense foods that pack a powerful punch when it comes to antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins and minerals. Basically SUPERFOOD = SUPERMAN!…or WOMEN! Eating superfoods has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic disease and prolong life.

Way up high in the Peruvian Andes grows the prized superfood called Maca. It’s the highest altitude crop on earth. With a growing altitude of 13,000 feet, this plant is not for your home garden (unless your garden happens to be on the top of the Andes).

Over its 3,000 year cultivation maca has earned itself a pretty long list of benefits, some of which include… get ready…

* Increased energy

* Reduced stress

* Improved sexual function (improved libido)

* Improved physical and emotional well being

* Improved mental clarity

* Improved hair growth

* Improved thyroid health

* Ability to balance hormones

* Ability to protect skin against ultraviolet radiation

* Ability to treat PMS

* Improved skin tone

* Ability to raise sperm count

* Helps prevent osteoporosis

* Ability to treat depression

In an extensive study of the maca plant, Dr. Gustavo F Gonzales found that maca can enhance the ability for an individual to “adapt” to a stressful environment by “improving homeostasis” in the body. This can positively effect energy, endurance and oxygen in the blood (which makes maca a great cure for altitude sickness…it’s no coincidence that it is grown in high altitudes). Maca can also affect the happy chemicals in your body that control libido, balance the endocrine system, adrenals, hormones, thyroid, and one’s mood! That is a lot for just one scoop of powder a day.

Throughout its history, the consumption of maca has been used by Peruvian natives for having strong effects on fertility and energy in both humans and animals. It is said that during the Incan empire, warriors were give maca to give them strength and stamina in battle but were then denied maca when they returned home in order to protect the women from their strong sexual desires. Whoa. This stuff is like nature’s viagra. Check out this article where my friend Dr. Mercola lists maca as one of the top natural supplemental ways to enhance sexual function.

Maca Nutrition

Dried maca contains 59% carbohydrates, 8.5% fiber, and slightly more than 10.2% protein. The protein in maca contains seven essential amino acids. Maca is also rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and iron. Add to that the vitamins B1, B2, and C and you can easily understand what makes this a superfood! Some researchers even argue that Maca’s ability to treat a disorder like depression comes simply from the fact that the food is so nutritionally dense and that people become happier because they are getting the nutrients they need!

So, the good news is ever since the reemergence of maca in the 1980 access to this powerfully medicinal food is becoming easier and easier. And now, thanks to the beautiful world wide web you can have maca show up at your door, which is way easier than hiking up the Andes, let me tell you!

How To Use The Maca Powder

Maca is a member of the cruciferous family which includes broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, turnips and radishes. Maca is grown for its root which resembles that of a radish. Maca root can grow in a variety of different colors and can be consumed in several different ways, of which the most popular is dried and ground into a powder, maca powder.

Maca powder is definitely the easiest way to add maca to your diet. I love throwing 1 tbsp in morning smoothies for extra energy, in homemade hot chocolate (recipe below) and in desserts like brownies or anything with chocolate! It goes really really well with chocolate – yum! Did I say chocolate?

When I was in Peru recently, Maca caramels were everywhere, I’d love to try to make those at home one day. You can also check out more recipes and the subtle differences between red, black and cream maca from my partner The Maca Team here.

Maca Hot Chocolate

Food Babe's Maca Hot Chocolate
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2
  1. Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth
  2. Place ingredients in a small sauce pan and slowly warm to temperature desired
***Please use all organic ingredients if possible***


Organic Maca Powders

The Maca Team is a small family owned operation and supplies maca straight from small Peruvian organic co-op farmers. I feel really good about supporting and partnering with a company that offers the highest quality organic maca straight from the source.

The Maca Team is awesome – visit them here and get your Maca ordered!

I hope you take time to look into this amazing superfood and see what it can do for you. Please share this with your family and friends that might be in the need of a little stress reduction or a boost in the nooky department. I would love to hear your stories about how maca is affecting you (well…..most of your stories…. haha!)

Peace, Love, and Maca,


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Posts may contain affiliate, sponsorship and/or partnership links for products Food Babe has approved and researched herself. If you purchase a product through an affiliate, sponsorship or partnership link, your cost will be the same (or at a discount if a special code is offered) and Food Babe will benefit from the purchase. Your support is crucial because it helps fund this blog and helps us continue to spread the word. Thank you.

224 responses to “Could This Be The Cause Of A Sudden Weight Gain?

    1. Well, she is paid for the ads that appear on the side of the blog.

      If she is going to write blog posts in exchange for payment, that’s fine, but she really should say, in the post, that she’s being paid for it. Otherwise she risks her integrity.

      She did not answer the question posted below so I think it’s safe to say she was paid to endorse this product.

      1. I’m glad she gets paid, as she should! She puts so much time and effort into all this research.

        The amazing benefits of maca is not a secret. They’re well known, and you would too if you did more research. All Vani is doing, is bringing this to the attention of more people through her blog so more and more people can become aware of this.
        That should certainly be rewarded!

        Thank you Vani for all your hard work! I sure appreciate what you bring to light…


      2. She has this disclaimer at the end of each of her posts. “Posts may contain affiliate links for products Food Babe has approved and researched herself. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same (or at a discount if a special code is offered) and Food Babe will automatically receive a small referral fee. Your support is crucial because it helps fund this blog and helps us continue to spread the word. Thank you.” She is not paid for the ads on her side bar unless she makes an affiliate sale as she states.

      3. I should also add that Vani is doing a great job on her very honest posts and she deserves every penny she gets for her hard work. Thanks Vani. 🙂

      4. she does mention it “subtle differences between red, black and cream maca from my affiliate The Maca Team here.” affiliate means they are paying her to endorse.
        She might be getting paid and its okay. This is her job and she will only talk about those products that she really believes in. Its like every other magazine, newspaper, blog…. They have their own identity and get paid to endorse million of products, but they will only take the ones that fit their criteria.

      5. I did just read that she acknowledged receiving a referal fee. I’m more concerned about whether the product is as she says it is. Less concerned about whether she makes money. She’s got to make a living somehow. Overall very pleased with the information she provides. If buying products helps to keep the good information flowing, and help to support her, I’m all for it.

  1. It doesn’t matter if Vani is getting paid for any of her endorsed blogs, WE the public have to use our own responsibility in making decisions, after all she doesn’t OWE ME ANYTHING, she does her research free and gives the information to use on her blog, we go to her blog and use it as WE SEE FIT. Use your own brain and take responsibility for your own actions!!! When I visit any web site I have to take responsibility to how I use it or to whether I be-leave it, there is so much on the internet that is false that if you want to find fault and blame someone for something you are just not taking responsibility for YOUR OWN ACTIONS. I think more people need to GROW UP and quit complaining about their own laziness. Vani gives us her finding on her research and her idea or belief maybe your belief isn’t the same BUT GO LOOK FOR THE TRUTH, instead of complaining about Vani’s.

    I am responsible for me and my actions and beliefs. Thank you for listening and learning how to be an adult changing things in ourselves rather than staying a complaining child.


  2. Thanks for the info. I just went out and purchased it at Whole Foods. I will go to your link to purchase more. I did not want to wait for the shipment. The serving size on the jar says 1tsp. Do you recommend the one tbsp a day? Thanks!

  3. Hey I tried ordering a 1 kg bag of the premium maca and the shipping to Canada came out to $35 or 46 (the two different methods). Is there any other way to get this stuff shipped for a lot less? It is just 1 kg and the shipping is just as much as the bag of maca. Please help and thank you!

      1. Vitacost shipping is a flat rate $5 ( but, last time I used them was 3 years ago)

  4. “My husband has read that the powder form is much more fibrous, and not as easily digestible as the geletanized maca. Also, people are suggesting that the benefits are not realized as much in the powder form. Can you talk to that?”
    Thank you truly for your attention to this question 🙂

    1. If you read The Maca Team’s website, they discuss the differences between the raw powder and gelatinized version.

      Raw powder is not heated above 100 degrees F, has more of the beneficial enzymes but does contain all of it’s starch, which can make it harder for some people to digest.

      Gelatinized is heated to higher temperatures to remove the starch, making it easier to digest, but it loses some of the beneficial enzymes and alters the nutrient content.

    1. Holy basil, l-serine. Pick up the book The Hormone Cure by Sara Gottfried. Super helpful

    1. Thank you! I think this looks like a way better option for me. I bought Maca powder from Whole Foods and of course right after I open it, I find out that it could effect your birth control. I’m sure since the people on here tend to lean more towards the natural side of things, most are not on the pill, and Maca might be fine for them, but not me. Relora looks like a great option.

      1. not sure if relora can effect birt control

        also maca is based off one peruvian lab results who works for the indutry in peru where maca comes from……….my friend in peru love his maca but it never did anything for me when i was living in peru……

        stress eating….have you stopped drinking coffee even decaf……..sleep better try taking magnesium citrate at night……work out for 30 min every day

  5. Speaking of hot chocolate…I’d LOVE to hear any ideas you might have on finding marshmallows that don’t have titanium dioxide in them! Please help! Thank you! 🙂

    1. jessica, there are recipes for super easy homemade marshmallows! a friend of mine makes them every winter and they are so good.

  6. I am interested in including maca powder in my diet. However, as a female who is not yet ready to have children, I am slightly concerned about the increase in fertility. After reading around on the maca website, I noticed that the Red is supposedly better for increasing female fertility, but how much of an effect the black or cream has on female fertility was not clear to me. This leaves me with the question; to maca or not to maca?

  7. What about the fact that it can increase your appetite? How does that help with the weight gain issue?

  8. Ok after thinking about this for some time I must say this: If Food Babe is paid to help spread health awareness and clean up our corrupt food suppliers then we should support her and the companies she backs. I mean food companies are PAYING all kinds of R&D people to make us sick for goodness sake! We also need people on our side. Their bottom line is profit at our health expense which also transfers into our family lives etc. Shame on them for trying to steal our lives through stealing out health! Props to all those who are working hard to inform us and help us change. We need people like Food Babe to focus full time on these issues. That’s my take on this and trust me I’m a pretty skeptical person…I can smell crooked a mile away. Keep up the good work Food Babe because we really do need you! God Bless.

    1. Yes….Vani keep up your hard work. Makes my task of keeping a healthy family that much easier. Common kids Kale is great!!!

  9. Great product, I am curios if it’s safe for kids? I have a 5 year old. Please let me know. Thanks!


  10. Getting rewarded for your work is good and bad. A rewards followed by a good behavior acts as a motivation and encouragement to continue the same behavior. The problem happens when you can still get the reward without actually doing the behavior it is for. In this case Vanni should get rewarded for doing good analysis and research. But it could be that Vanni is simply publishing info about Maca because of the love of the reward and not really because its the best answer to the problems in question.

    Another issue here is that people don’t use this blog as food for thought for their own research. If one had time and resources of their own they would not be coming to this blog, they would do the research themself. The reason people come here is because they want to see well researched studies with analysis and conclusions and be confident that the analysis is not biased because of the love of the reward.

  11. Unfortunately, in my case, maca caused me to gain weight. My Naturopath prescribed maca for hormone balance and it made my appetite go through the roof.

    1. so once you stopped did you drop the weight pretty rapidly? i am having an issue with weight, i am not eating more than normal and have started back on regular exercise and i can’t pull the weight off….

      1. I am having the same issue with the weight. I had to stop taking Maca. It worked or my stress and mood swings great through.

  12. You can grow your own Maca at lower altitudes, it grows as high at 13,000 feet but it is not required for it to grow to be planted at that altitude.

  13. my niece was not too excited about this hot chocolate, so i put the left over in a mason jar in the fridge. the next day it had solidified a bit and was almost a mousse consistency… perfect for bites by the spoonful when something sweet is needed! my brother-in-law loves it like this and i have made it a handful of times in the last few months, just to put it in the fridge for him to eat by the spoonful. 🙂 also great to let set in ramekins for a dinner party dessert with fresh raspberries & blueberries!
    Another Winner Vani!

  14. Hi Foodbabe,
    My brother is a holistic doc who carries this in his herbal line and has been touting it for years (we have friends who home about “maca babies” since it helps with fertility too). Schoolchildren take it before tests just as warriors used to before battle. I like to call it my “psych med.” definitely worth trying, for those who have not. Thanks for the post!
    Sandy Bean
    Sister of Dr. Todd, author of Eat Yourself Super

    1. I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be, but is it perfectly fine for my 2 year old son to have as well?

      1. As far as I know, maca root is consumed as a food product in many countries, including for children. However, I would email the good doc above to check dosage and the proper product to give a child before doing so. His contact email is [email protected].

  15. Hoe does this affect thyroid health I have hashimoto..hypo thyroidism..Im very sluggish and joint pain

  16. The ads are from Google Adsense, which is how all websites make there money. The website has no say in what ads are placed on the site . How do you think Facebook makes there money?

  17. Not affiliated but been using Maca for a few years on & off . 5 or 6 ,…In the past 3 months I found The Maca Team website and ordered their Red then their Black Maca. highly suggest reading over their website for differences in colors..

    I do like , enjoy, and have noticeable differences since using their black maca everyday. It is yummy too. Will try to buy some dates and make that hot cocao drink soon..

  18. I purchased maca and tried the powder but it tastes absolutely disgusting.

    Does anyone have any suggestions on something to mix it with that will make it not be so terrible? Tried it in hot chocolate, smoothies etc but it’s just awful.

    Would love any other suggestions to help disguise taste!


  19. Since maca is a member of the cruciferous family, does this mean it is not to be consumed by those with hypothyroidism? I have been trying to get an answer for the longest time, but no luck so far. I hope that you will have the answer!! Thanks for all you do!! xo

  20. LOVE LAMININE… it helps to lower cortisol, raises serotonin and bring your entire body into balance…miracle in a capsule and one of a kind. Has worked for us, reduces weight and makes you feel fabulous!

  21. I took this for two months. At first it was great. Huge energy boost and my muscles blossomed on my workouts.
    The feeling wore off and I kept taking it.
    Then I began getting super frustrated because the scale wasn’t moving?
    I tried everything and I would go up and down 6-8 lbs in one day?
    I am super tall but still. I got depressed and figured something was wrong with me. I assumed it was because I was gaining muscle in the beginning but after two months I am huge! Poofy! In my research to self diagnose I came across several posts from women stating they were gaining weight and retaining water from MACA and it increases your appetite?
    What? No freakin wonder. I mean I can literally tap anywhere on my body and watch the wave travel around. I am 6ft tall and it is likely 20 lbs of water. No less than 15 and by the end of the day likely 20 or more. I am a very large person.

    Tongkat root increases libido and doesn’t blow you up like a freakin balloon!
    It definitely didn’t help with cramps because I woke in the middle of the night with horrendous cramps!
    There are better alternatives.
    It works great for a week or two, and then you better stop taking it.
    I have no idea how long its going to take to wear off fully.
    I lost 10 lbs of water in the first week I went off it.

    1. thank you for posting this personal experience! i too, have been taking maca daily for the past 2 months (1 tbsp a day). at first it seemed to really help with my hormones, but now i’m gaining weight like crazy and have had lots of spotting in between periods this month. i started taking it to help with high blood pressure and adrenal issues, now i wonder it i was taking the right dose or if you are supposed to take it for a certain amount of time and then rest from it for a while. does anyone know how to correctly take this as a supplement?

    2. Jen, you are right! I also find it frustrating that the ‘grabber’ for this article is focused on weight loss. I haven’t read anywhere that it helps with weight loss, just gain. I am feeling very ‘poofy’ as you say.
      I am tossing mine out and I will be a little less gullible and trusting when I read articles like this from people who spend a lot of hours researching the good and bad of our diets.
      No wonder we are such a mess. Too many mixed messages….
      Best to you.

  22. My husband buys raw organic maca powder but I can’t eat it because every time I consume it, I get sick to my stomach. Anyway know why that happens?

  23. The Hot Coco recipe destroys the nutrients! The Maca Team website specifically states not to heat the maca, as it degrades the nutrients. 🙁

  24. I am very interested in trying the Maca Powder, but how do you choose between Black, Cream, Red, or Premium? Any insight would be greatly appreciated!

  25. I think what u r doing is great, you’re doing what some of us can’t do, keep up the good work. Jean Bass

  26. I love Vani and what she is doing for everyone, and hope she’s making big money doing what she does!

  27. A few weeks ago, I started using 1/2 tsp. maca powder every morning in smoothies for hot flashes. Within 2 days, they completely stopped. BUT, I’m gaining weight like crazy (not eating any differently), and all my new summer clothes don’t fit! Three days of staying off the maca powder, the weight is coming off.
    I’d rather than have hot flashes than this extreme weight gain that came on so quickly.
    No more maca powder for me – and I got zero increased energy either!!

  28. I started taking MACA powder about 2 weeks ago, trying to balance the hormones and hopefully add some curves. I knew it was working because I started having vivid dreams nightly. I slept great. However it did the opposite it didnt give me energy it actually helped me rest better as I was drinking it cold with vanilla almond milk a few squirts of Hersheys chocolate syrup. I was beginning a wait loss journey and prior to taking Maca had just lost 4 pounds the week prior. Well I got on the scale yesterday and just about died! Even thouh I was eating the same, healthy snacking, detox water, lemon water daily, the scale went up 6 pounds! I started crying! Now Im super sad all my hard work, excersizing, eating better, drinking water non stop was in vain. I’m now depressed. I guess everyones body is different.

  29. I noticed Maca is part of the cruciferous family. I have thyroid issues and have been told to be careful when consuming raw goitrocentic foods such as cruciferous vegetables in smoothies or otherwise. Cooked is fine since it lowers the concentration of nutrients targeting the thyroid.

    Since Maca is in a powdered state and this article states Maca helps improve thyroid function, could you elaborate some more please.

  30. Do you recommend raw or gelatinized maca? I have researched both but would love your opinion! A Whole Foods employee once recommended the gelatinzed one to me because he said most people can’t handle the taste of even a teaspoon of the raw form. So I started using a teaspoon of gelatinized in my morning smoothies and I thought the taste was awful! Any guidance would be much appreciated 🙂

    Absolutely LOVE your site!

  31. Hi Vani, was wondering if you get the same health benefits by taking a dietary capsule instead of powder.

  32. This article implies that Maca can contribute to weight loss however, everything I am reading says it actually causes weight gain. It feels a little irresponsible to not associate Maca with such an important issue to some people.
    It may very well help with hot flashes, libido etc… but I think it’s misleading to associate it with weight loss.
    I have a good amount of respect for what you are doing to help the world take notice of what they put in their bodies. This just doesn’t add up for me. I would be glad to know I am wrong here…
    Signed… a little weary of your motives.

  33. The organic Maca powder I have states on the packaging that PREGNANT and NURSING Mothers should NOT consume this product. (Too many posts ahead of mine, so this may be repeat advice)

  34. Great info food babe! I’ve recently purchased maca and going to try the hot chocolate recipe here. Excited to see a shift in energy by adding maca to smoothies as well. Keep up the great work!

  35. I love your web site and I really like all of the work you do to un cover all ofthe hideden ingridents that are in foods.

    My only comment is I wish you would do the same thing you are asking the food manufacturers to do. You will talk about a Super Food such as the Maca but you have no nutritional information listed. I watch what I eat carefully and I watch carbs like a hawk, and there is no information provided.

    I notice you do this a lot on the very goods recipes you post. I would like you to do the same thing you are asking the food manufacturers to do.


  36. Hi Vani! I took maca before I got pregnant because of adrenal fatigue. Do you know if it’s safe to take while nursing? I’d love to start again bc it made me feel great. Thanks!

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