Intermittent fasting has grown in popularity in recent years.
Unlike most meals, which tell you what to eat, intermittent fasting focuses on when to eat by incorporating regular short-term fasts into your daily life.
This diet helps people cut calories, lose weight, and lower their risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Many studies, however, suggest that intermittent fasting may not be as beneficial to women as it is to men. As a result, women may need to take a different approach.
Intermittent fasting (IF) is a type of eating that alternates between periods of fasting and periods of normal eating.
Fasting on alternate days, daily 16-hour fasts, or fasting for twenty-four hours seven days a week are the most commonplace techniques. For the purposes of this article, the term intermittent fasting can be used to describe any regimen.
Unlike maximum diets, intermittent fasting no longer includes tracking energy or macronutrients. In fact, there aren’t any rules about what foods to eat or avoid, so it’s more of a way of life than a diet.
Many people use intermittent fasting to lose weight because it’s a simple, handy, and powerful way to consume less and lose body fat.
It may also help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and diabetes, maintain muscle tissue, and improve mental well-being.
Furthermore, because there is less food to plan, prepare, and cook, this nutritional pattern can help you save time in the kitchen.
Men and women respond differently to intermittent fasting.
Some evidence suggests that intermittent fasting may not be as beneficial to women as it is to men.
One study found that after three weeks of intermittent fasting, women’s glycemic control actually worsened, but not men’s.
Many anecdotes exist about women who experienced changes in their menstrual cycle after beginning an intermittent fast.
These changes occur as a result of the female body’s sensitivity to calorie restriction.
A small part of the brain called the hypothalamus is affected when there is a low calorie intake (for example, fasting for an extended period of time or on a regular basis).
This can impair the secretion of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), a hormone that promotes the release of two reproductive hormones, luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) (FSH).
There is a risk of menstrual irregularities, infertility, poor bone health, and other health effects if these hormones are unable to communicate with the ovaries.
There have been no comparable studies in humans, but fasting daily for 3-6 months results in smaller ovarian size and an irregular reproductive cycle in female rats.
Women should consider a modified approach to intermittent fasting for these reasons. Shortening the fasting period or the number of fasting days, for example.
Women Over 50 Should Practice Intermittent Fasting
When it comes to losing weight, women over the age of 50 may face challenges. A variety of factors can contribute to this. The most common cause is a slowed metabolism.
If you have more lean muscle, your metabolism will be faster. However, as we age, our lean muscle mass declines and we become less active. As a result, you have stubborn body fat that won’t budge.
Intermittent fasting has grown in popularity in recent years due to the numerous health benefits it provides and the fact that it does not restrict your food options.
Fasting has been shown in studies to improve metabolism, mental health, and possibly even the prevention of some cancers. It can also protect against certain muscle, nerve, and joint disorders that affect women over 50.
Women’s Health Advantages of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is not only good for your waistline, but it may also lower your risk of developing a number of chronic diseases.
On a global scale, heart disease is the leading cause of death.
High blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, and high triglyceride levels are all risk factors for heart disease development.
Intermittent fasting (I.F.) reduced blood pressure by 6% in an eight-week study of 16 obese men and women.
The same study found thatI.F. reduced LDL cholesterol by 25% and triglycerides by 32%.
In contrast, the evidence for a link between intermittent fasting and lower LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels is inconclusive.
Four weeks ofI.F. during the Islamic holiday of Ramadan had no effect on LDL cholesterol or triglycerides, according to a study of 40 people of normal weight.
Higher-quality studies with more robust methods are needed before researchers can fully understand the effects of intermittent fasting on heart health.
Fat Burning & Weight Loss
Intermittent fasting, when done correctly, can be a simple and effective way to lose weight, as regular short-term fasts can help you consume fewer calories and shed pounds.
Several studies have found that intermittent fasting is just as effective as traditional calorie-restricted diets for short-term weight loss.
According to a 2018 review of studies in overweight adults, intermittent fasting resulted in an average weight loss of 15 lbs (6.8 kg) over 3–12 months.
Another study found that intermittent fasting reduced body weight by 3–8% in overweight or obese adults over the course of 3–24 weeks. The review also discovered that over the same time period, participants reduced their waist circumference by 3–7 percent.
Intermittent fasting can also help you manage your diabetes and lower your risk of developing it.
I.F., like continuous calorie restriction, appears to lower some diabetes risk factors.
This is primarily accomplished by lowering insulin levels and decreasing insulin resistance.
In a randomised controlled trial of more than 100 overweight or obese women, six months of intermittent fasting reduced insulin levels by 29% and insulin resistance by 19%. The blood sugar levels remained constant.
Furthermore, intermittent fasting for 8–12 weeks has been shown to reduce insulin levels by 20–31% and blood sugar levels by 3–6% in people with pre-diabetes, a condition in which blood sugar levels are elevated but not high enough to diagnose diabetes.
However, when it comes to blood sugar, intermittent fasting may not be as beneficial for women as it is for men.
A small study discovered that after 22 days of alternate-day fasting, women’s blood sugar control deteriorated while men’s blood sugar had no negative effect.
Despite this side effect, the reduction in insulin and insulin resistance would likely reduce the risk of diabetes, particularly in pre-diabetics.
It may assist you in eating less.
Switching to intermittent fasting may help you naturally eat less.
According to one study, restricting young men’s food intake to a four-hour window resulted in 650 fewer calories consumed per day.
Another study looked at how a long, 36-hour fast affected the eating habits of 24 healthy men and women. Despite eating more calories on the post-fast day, participants reduced their total calorie balance by 1,900 calories, which was a significant reduction.
What You Should Do First If You Want to Begin Intermittent Fasting
It’s simple to get started.
In fact, you’ve probably already done a few intermittent fasts. Many people eat in this manner out of habit, skipping breakfast and dinner.
You can also fast whenever it is convenient for you. Some people find that skipping meals when they aren’t hungry or don’t have time to cook works for them.
At the end of the day, it makes no difference which type of fast you choose. The most important thing is to find a method that works for you and your way of life.
This is an example of an intermittent fasting diet: Diet of intermittent fasting for 28 days
Safety and Side Effects – Intermittent Fasting For Women
For the most part, modified forms of intermittent fasting appear to be safe for women.
However, several studies have found that fasting can cause hunger, mood swings, lack of concentration, decreased energy, headaches, and bad breath.
On the internet, there have also been reports of women reporting that their menstrual cycle stopped while on an intermittent fasting diet.
Before attempting intermittent fasting, consult your doctor if you have a medical condition.
- Advice from a doctor is especially important for women who:
- Have a history of eating disorders.
- Have diabetes or frequently experience low blood sugar levels.
- Are malnourished, underweight, or have nutritional deficiencies
- Are you pregnant, nursing, or trying to conceive?
- Do you have fertility problems or a history of amenorrhea? (Period omissions)
Finally, it appears that intermittent fasting has a favourable safety profile.
However, if you have any problems, such as a loss of your menstrual cycle, stop using it right away.