Should You Try Intermittent Fasting For Fat Loss After 50
Intermittent Fasting is perhaps todays hottest topic in the fat loss debate. Beyond weight loss and lean muscle maintenance the conversation extends to longevity and brain health benefits some say are gleaned from fasting.
In this post Ill provide some key points about IF from research I shared last weekend with my email subscribers.
- What qualifies as IF?
- Criteria to determine if its detrimental to you
What Is The Age Limit For Intermittent Fasting
Generally speaking, there is no age limit to practice intermittent fasting. According to Harvard Health, the most limiting factor to this practice are health conditions such as diabetes, blood sugar problems, and people taking heart medications -among other conditions.
For this reason, it is crucial to speak with your doctor if you have any health condition and want to begin intermittent fasting.
It is not recommended that children, pregnant and nursing women, or teens practice intermittent fasting.
Protection From Neurodegenerative Illnesses
Animal studies suggest that alternate-day fasting may protect against neurodegenerative conditions such as stroke, Alzheimers disease, and Parkinsons disease, by switching between carbohydrate and fat as the fuel your body uses for energy.
However, further research is needed on whether these results might be applied to people.
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My Top Tips For Successful Intermittent Fasting In Menopause
- Drink plenty of water this will help with any hunger and possible constipation
- Drink coffee or tea there is nothing like a warm drink to tell you body its not hungry anymore. I find a black coffee works well for me.
- Stick to low-carb whole foods during your eating period.
- Dont let intermittent fasting be your excuse to go crazy and binge inbetween your fasting periods
Have you tried intermittent fasting for menopause weight loss? How did it work for you?
If you are struggling with bloat, an increase in menopause weight or other menopause symptoms I would certainly recommend you try intermittent fasting.
Intermittent Fasting For Women Vs Men
The biology and physiology of men and women are different, which explains why things such as building muscle can vary between genders. For example, some different hormones and functions cause our bodies to react differently to the same situation.
In addition, women can be faced with different situations where the same rules don’t apply, for example, during their menstrual cycle or pregnancy.
1. May Not Produce The Same Blood Sugar Control.
There is reason to believe that an intermittent fasting diet does not produce the same effects on women’s blood sugar levels. This conclusion stems from a 2005 study that found blood glucose actually increased for 3 weeks in women14.
It’s important to note that this occurred in non-obese women and during alternate-day fasting. It’s also impossible to say the long-term effect on insulin sensitivity and insulin sensitivity.
So while this was the true result, it’s difficult to make the broad statement that intermittent fasting increased blood sugar in women. Just be mindful, monitor it, and see your doctor if you are concerned.
2. Can Negatively Impact Women’s Hormones And Menstrual Cycle.
Even though testosterone is generally thought of as a male hormone, women still have small quantities of these reproductive hormones that they must monitor. When testosterone or other androgen hormones rise, a condition known as hyperandrogenism can develop.
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Women And Intermittent Fasting
If youre a female with hormones fluctuating, or high levels of perceived stress , then IF can potentially be simply another stressor increasing cortisol levels or potentially crashing them further if youre in adrenal fatigue. That is, youve been under high levels of stress for a long time, with inadequate nutrition or other lifestyle habits to balance that with coping skills. Eventually, your body cant pump out more cortisol. We need it in proper levels to manage life.
Knowingly adding a stressor for any reason, the key is to remove it temporarily elsewhere. Typically, with someone choosing IF, thats not what happens. If youre also choosing to try to maintain a high intensity training routine, juggle work and home life stressors? Thats a pretty one-sided scale that lacks balance.
Consider our Olympic athletes. They train as a job most of them. They live in athletes quarters in Rio, with athletes meals prepared for them. Their focus is 100% on the minutes or even seconds theyll perform. They train their brains to shift from multitasking to eliminate stressors. Their best results come from the best focus. So it is with your body. If you combine dietary and exercise stressors with already present stressors, results may go in the opposite direction of what youre hoping.
Maintaining A Sustainable Fasting Routine
If you want to succeed with fasting, you need to make fasting part of your routine. You need to make it a habit.
One key to habit formation? Accountability.
Specifically, you want to be accountable to yourself. But how?
. When you track yourself daily, your personal accountability goes through the roof.
If you havent tried Carb Manager yet, its never too late. The premium version of the app has a customized IF tracker that handles your fasting journey soup to nuts. You can also use the basic version to track calories, macros, and weight. Not a bad deal for $0.
And ladies: if youre new to fasting, you might also enjoy this comprehensive guide to IF for women.
Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. Carb Manager may earn a commission for qualifying purchases made through these links.
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Is Intermittent Fasting Good For Women
Intermittent fasting may not be as good for women as it is for men. Some research suggests that calorie restriction can negatively impact a womans menstrual cycle, and studies have shown that the blood sugar regulation benefits of IF may not be as substantial in women as they are in men.
During a long fasting window with a much-reduced caloric intake, a womans menstrual cycle may be disrupted by the disruption of GnRH a hormone that supports the secretion of two reproductive hormones. This disruption can lead to irregular periods, poor bone health, fertility problems, and more.
Another study in rats found that IF caused a reduction in ovary size and irregular reproductive cycles, though it is important to note that these results have not been replicated in human studies yet.
The other drawback of intermittent fasting for women is that, although fasting is commonly thought of as a diabetes-friendly diet, the blood sugar regulation benefits of IF may not be as effective for women.
One study showed that blood sugar levels in women following an IF dieting plan actually worsened after three weeks. This result was not replicated in men. High blood sugar levels can increase your risk of developing insulin resistance which, in turn, increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
So Which Intermittent Fasting Schedule Is Best For Weight Loss Whichever One You’ll Actually Stick To Tbh
In short, the one that’s easiest for you to follow. “It is all about sustainability for the individual,” says Lemein. “If one of these diets work well for you and your lifestyle and preferences, then you will likely see some success. If not, then you’ll likely not see the results you’re are looking for, as the sustainability piece will not be there.” That means picking a diet that work best with all the lifestyle factors you need to consider, like your work schedule, family dynamic, living situation, commute time, and travel commitments, notes Lemein.
It’s worth pointing out, though, that the 16:8 diet seems to be the most doable for a lot of people who are into IF. The 16:8 method also scores points for preventing overeating at night, which can often be a big obstacle for weight loss. And sticking to an eight-hour eating window during daylight hours allows your metabolism to run as itâs supposed toâyou fuel up for energy during the day , and stop eating for rest and recovery at night, per a 2017 article in the journal Nutrition Reviews.
The bottom line: All intermittent fasting schedules may lead to weight loss if you can follow them sustainably, and the 16:8 method may be the easiest way to follow an IF diet.
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The Intermittent Fasting Benefits May Extend Beyond Calorie Restriction
While some nutrition experts contend that IF only works because it helps people naturally limit food intake, others disagree. They believe that intermittent fasting results are better than typical meal schedules with the same amount of calories and other nutrients. Studies have even suggested that abstaining from food for several hours a day does more than just limit the number of calories you consume.
These are some metabolic changes that IF causes that might help account for synergistic benefits:
- Insulin: During the fasting period, lower insulin levels will help improve fat burning.
- HGH: While insulin levels drop, HGH levels rise to encourage fat burning and muscle growth.
- Noradrenaline: In response to an empty belly, the nervous system will send this chemical to cells to let them know they need to release fat for fuel.
What Are The Types Of Intermittent Fasting
There are many different approaches to IF. Some people pick one to three days during the week when they eat minimally, if at all. Another technique, known as a fasting mimicking diet, severely restricts calories for five days in a month.
One of the more common IF approaches recommended for weight loss involves what is called 5:2 fasting, where you eat normally for five days in a week but seriously restrict calories, down to around 500 a day for women , for any of the remaining two.
Other people use a time restricted eating process, eating normally during any 8 to 12 consecutive hours in a day and fasting for the remaining hours. A TRE plan prohibiting food during a 16-hour window, known as 16/8, is what the Galveston diet recommends for midlife women.
Certain liquids are always allowed indeed are encouraged during fasting hours when little to no food is consumed. These include black coffee, teas , and water.
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What Is Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is simply limiting yourself to eating within a designated time frame. There are several variations of IF to choose from. Decide which type fits into your lifestyle the best and then talk about it with your doctor.
Daily method. This is the most popular method of IF. The daily method typically follows a 16/8 or 18/6 rule. That means eating regular, healthy foods during a 6- to 8-hour window each day, then fasting for the remaining 16 to 18 hours. This is found to be the most sustainable method.
You can use other variations of timing to get started. These include a 12/12, which is eating for 12 hours, then fasting for 12 hours. You can then progress to a stricter schedule when you are ready.
5:2 method. This approach involves eating normal, healthy meals over 5 days of the week and limiting yourself to 500-600 calories during 2 days of the week. Itâs unclear whether itâs more beneficial to eat all your calories in one meal or spread them throughout the day, so do what works for you.
Alternate day method. If you choose this method, you can eat normally every other day. On the fasting days, youâll eat just 25% of your daily caloric needs. For example, if you eat 1,800 calories on normal days, youâll only eat 450 calories on the fasting days.
Proceed with caution if you use this method. Extreme irritability, fatigue, and headaches can come with it, and this method might not necessarily be better for you.
Is Intermittent Fasting Good For Menopause
There are some studies that show intermittent fasting could be beneficial for menopause particularly for combatting weight gain. As an effective method of weight loss, IF may help women to lose weight at a time when gaining weight is more common and much more likely.
IF has also been shown to reduce blood pressure and triglyceride levels, as well as improve insulin sensitivity in some women. This could be beneficial to those going through menopause as this period is usually characterized by an increase in abdominal weight gain.
An increase in abdominal fat has been linked to an increased risk of developing heart disease and diabetes. The benefits of IF for those with menopausal status could help to reduce these risks.
Intermittent fasting has also been shown to be beneficial for weight loss and weight control in post-menopausal women.
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How Is Intermittent Fasting For Women Different
Men and women should approach intermittent fasting differently, with evidence suggesting that more severe restrictions may be less suitable for women. A study in Obesity Society , for example, found that women with a healthy body weight began to experience an impaired glucose response with alternate day fasting. Time restricted eating may be a safer option. This is where you have a set eating window during the day , and fast the rest of the time.
Dr Kumaran advises caution to women looking to try intermittent fasting for the first time. Women can be more sensitive to intermittent fasting due to the monthly menstrual cycle and subsequent hormonal fluctuations that women experience, she says. Women also have a greater sensitivity to changes in energy balance, as fasting can trigger an exaggerated response to stress. This can then have the opposite effects of the intended health benefits of intermittent fasting.
Females are reported to have more kisspeptin compared to males, she adds, which is why women appear to be more sensitive to changes in kisspeptin levels.
Intermittent Fasting For Women: Is It Safe
There are a few areas to consider when it comes to intermittent fasting for women. We spoke to a medical expert about how to approach it safely
Fasting can affect womens bodies and hormones differently throughout the month, making intermittent fasting for women a slightly trickier area to navigate than it is for men.
Womens bodies run on a monthly pattern with a uterine and ovulatory cycle running in tandem, causing hormonal fluctuations within the body. While women may benefit from intermittent fasting, they are advised to take a more relaxed approach to the way they fast, due to the impact these hormones have on appetite and energy requirements.
To work out exactly how women can navigate intermittent fasting safely, Live Science spoke to Dr Nirusa Kumaran, Medical Director & Founder of Elemental Health Clinic . Our guide to the best protein powder for women may also come in handy to make sure you’re maximising your nutrition during eating windows.
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Hormones And Women Over 50
During perimenopause and menopause, estrogen fluctuates and becomes unpredictable before falling to very low levels. This decline in estrogen comes with other hormonal shifts, such as in cortisol, thyroid hormones, serotonin and sex hormones. These hormonal shifts are what lead to some of the symptoms of menopause.
You may become less sensitive to insulin during menopause, leading to more trouble processing sugar and refined carbohydrates. This is known as insulin resistance, which can make you more susceptible to gaining weight around your midsection. Muscle mass may also diminish as fat increases, leading to less metabolically active tissue and more difficulty with maintaining a healthy weight.
Cue the intermittent fasting craze. With this trendy diet touting benefits for healthy aging, theres no wonder that IF has been popular with pre-menopausal and menopausal women. But does the research hold up?
Cut Out All Sugary Drinks
If your goal with Intermittent Fasting is weight loss, cutting out all sugary drinks is crucial for your success. Remember, insulin resistance tends to increase as we age, making it harder to achieve a weight loss goal. Sugary drinks can make insulin resistance even worse by spiking the storing hormone insulin. Sugary drinks can include sweetened coffee, tea, energy drinks and soda.
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Should Pregnant Women Follow An Intermittent Fasting Diet
Before we answer, it’s important you always check with your doctor before following any diet. However, when looking at the available literature, this is our best answer.
There seems to be a scarcity of research examining the effects of intermittent fasting and pregnant women. But one large review looked at these variables, specifically examining pregnancy during Ramadan.
The researchers found no negative effect on the mother or infant during pregnancy or birth16. The only drawback they noted was that some mothers had a reduced intake of calories or specific macronutrients. This seems to suggest that if you eat all your food, you should be good to go!
That said, if you haven’t already been on an intermittent fasting schedule, your pregnancy is not a good time to start. Again, speak with your doctor or a private dietician before starting this while pregnant. Finally, whether it’s through working out when pregnant or dieting, unless it is something you have discussed with your doctor, weight loss should not be top of mind when you’re pregnant.
Is Intermittent Fasting Safe For Midlife Women
Intermittent fasting is generally safe and does not result in energy level disturbances or increased disordered eating behaviors, the University of Illinois reviewers concluded.
Still, not every midlife woman should try this eating plan, they said. Those with a history of disordered eating, a body mass index below 18.5, or those who need to take medication with food at regimented times should refrain.
Other experts say people with certain medical conditions may be poor candidates. Women with Crohns disease, for example, might do better on a different eating plan. And those with diabetes are also typically advised to refrain, especially when blood sugar isnt well controlled.
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