Does Intermittent Fasting Have Different Effects On Men And Women
The quick answer is: yes, Intermittent Fasting can affect men and women differently.;
Anecdotally, we have many women in our online coaching program that swear by Intermittent Fasting, while others have had adverse effects.
Lets dig into the science and studies.
A recent PubMed summary concluded thatfasting can be prescribed as a safe medical intervention as well as a lifestyle regimen which can improve womens health in many folds .
Now, in that extract, many of the studies cited are focused on specifically calorie restriction , and they also say that future studies should address this gap by designing medically supervised fasting techniques to extract better evidence.
Digging into the PubMed Archives brought me to the following conclusions :
One small study resulted in the following:;Glucose response to a meal was slightly impaired in women after 3 weeks of treatment, but insulin response was unchanged. Men had no change in glucose response and a significant reduction in insulin response.
Another small study studied the effects on their menstrual cycles after a 72 hour fast which is significantly longer than any fast recommended in this article: in spite of profound metabolic changes, a 72-hour fast during the follicular phase does not affect the menstrual cycle of normal cycling women..
Precision Nutrition a great resource recommends not attempting Intermittent Fasting as a woman if:
- youre pregnant
- you dont sleep well
- youre new to diet and exercise
Is Intermittent Fasting Safe
Some people try intermitting fasting for weight management, and others use the method to address chronic conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, high cholesterol or arthritis. But intermittent fasting isnt for everyone.
Williams stresses that before you try intermittent fasting , you should check in with your primary care practitioner first. Some people should steer clear of trying intermittent fasting:
- Children and teens under age 18.
- Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- People with diabetes or blood sugar problems.
- Those with a history of eating disorders.
But, Williams says, people not in these categories who can do intermittent fasting safely can continue the regimen indefinitely. It can be a lifestyle change, she says, and one with benefits.
Keep in mind that intermittent fasting may have different effects on different people. Talk to your doctor if you start experiencing unusual anxiety, headaches, nausea or other symptoms after you start intermittent fasting.
Who Should Not Try Intermittent Fasting
If you are considering intermittent fasting, make sure to discuss it with your doctor. Skipping meals and severely limiting calories can be dangerous for people with certain conditions, such as diabetes. People who take medications for blood pressure or heart disease also may be more prone to electrolyte abnormalities from fasting. Also, says Dr. Hu, we live in a toxic, obesogenic food environment. So you’ll need a strong social support network to endure very low-calorie days over the long haul.
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It May Decrease Inflammation
Inflammation caused by oxidative stress is thought to be the cause of many diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers .
Studies have demonstrated that intermittent fasting may be an effective way to reduce inflammation in your body.
One study in 34 healthy men found that the 16:8 intermittent fasting method decreased levels of TNF- and interleukin 1 beta , substances that promote inflammation .
Another study in 50 people found that those fasting for the Muslim holiday of Ramadan had significantly lower levels of the inflammatory markers IL-6, C-reactive protein and homocysteine, compared to non-fasting individuals .
Potential Pitfalls Of Intermittent Fasting
A notable aspect of this trial was a very high dropout rate among the people assigned to the fasting regimen. This may reflect a real-life pitfall of fasting as a weight-loss approach. “It’s human nature for people to want to reward themselves after doing very hard work, such as exercise or fasting for a long period of time, so there is a danger of indulging in unhealthy dietary habits on non-fasting days,” says Dr. Hu. In addition, there’s a strong biological push to overeat following fasting periods. Your appetite hormones and hunger center in your brain go into overdrive when you are deprived of food.
But intermittent fasting may have a beneficial effect on diet psychology for some people, says Kathy McManus, director of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “One of my patients felt strongly that he didn’t want to be bothered with tracking calories and filling out food records. Instead, he opted for a 5:2 fasting approach, which has worked well for him so far.” The main goal is to develop a healthy eating pattern that is sustainable and can support weight loss over time, McManus says. As of now, intermittent dieting has not been proved to meet this key criterion.
Some commercial companies have started marketing packaged meal plans designed specifically for intermittent fasting. While this may make the process easier for some people, these products tend to be expensivearound $300 for a week’s worth of food.
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What Is Intermittent Fasting And Why Would You Do It
Intermittent fasting is not a diet, it’s a pattern of eating. It’s a way of scheduling your meals so that you get the most out of them. Intermittent fasting doesnt change what you eat, it changes when you eat.
Why is it worthwhile to change when youre eating?
Well, most notably, its a great way to get lean without going on a crazy diet or cutting your calories down to nothing. In fact, most of the time you’ll try to keep your calories the same when you start intermittent fasting. Additionally, intermittent fasting is a good way to keep muscle mass on while getting lean.
With all that said, the main reason people try intermittent fasting is to lose fat. We’ll talk about how intermittent fasting leads to fat loss in a moment.
Perhaps most importantly, intermittent fasting is one of the simplest strategies we have for taking bad weight off while keeping good weight on because it requires very little behavior change. This is a very good thing because it means intermittent fasting falls into the category of simple enough that you’ll actually do it, but meaningful enough that it will actually make a difference.
Should I Eat 6 Small Meals A Day
There are a few main reasons why diet books recommend six small meals:
1) When you eat a meal, your body does have to burn extra calories ;just to process that meal.;So, the theory is that if you eat all day long with small meals, your body is constantly burning extra calories and your metabolism is firing at optimal capacity, right? Well, thats not true.
Whether you eat 2000 calories spread out throughout the day, or 2000 calories in a small window, your body will;burn the same number of calories processing the food;.
So, the whole keep your metabolism firing at optimum capacity by always eating sounds good in principle, but reality tells a different story.
2) When you eat smaller meals, you might be less likely to overeat during your regular meals.;I can definitely see some truth here, especially for people who struggle with portion control or dont know how much food they should be eating.
However, once you educate yourself and take control of your eating, some might;find that eating six times a day is very prohibitive and requires a lot of effort. I know I do.
Also, because youre eating six small meals, Id argue that you probably never feel full, and you might be MORE likely to eat extra calories during each snack.
Although grounded in seemingly logical;principles, the six meals a day doesnt work for the reason you think it would , and generally only works for people who struggle with portion control .
Thats why we made this:
Fast Mimicking Vs Traditional Fasting
Just like with intermittent fasting, there are many myths about these modified fasts: Your muscles will waste away, youll kill your metabolism, and its downright unhealthy.
The above might be true for someone who is actually starving, restricting calories for weeks, months, or years at a time, or doing no-food water fasting.;
These can lead to metabolic damage and are especially bad for people with underlying health conditions. But as mentioned, fast mimicking gives you all the benefits without these side effects.
Omad Fasting One Meal A Day Aka 23/1
How:;Fast for 23h;and eat once a day
Another popular fasting schedule is called one-meal-a-day .
It is exactly what it sounds like you choose a time in a day that is the most suitable for you to have your on and only meal of the day.
I know what youre thinking isnt that almost starving? And yes, you are right OMAD diet shouldnt be done without thought on how to get at least 1200 calories during that one meal.
Thus if you choose this 23/1 fasting make sure your meal is a hearty and nutritious one.
If youre keen to try out OMAD we do have a21-Day OMAD Challengethat is packed with all the info you need, and also includes meal ideas and recipes to make it super simple.
A full article on OMAD diet you can find here: All You Need To Know About OMAD Diet
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Reduce Stress And Improve Mental Health
The 16:8 diet help reduce cortisol levels and help reduce inflammation. Plus, since you wont be dealing with hunger for two days a week, its better for your mental health.
Those whove tried the 16:8 diet say how much more productive they are during fasting hours, spending less time stressing over food and more time channelling their energy into other beneficial tasks throughout the day.
Intermittent Fasting 1: 8 Vs 1: 6
When comparing the intermittent fasting 16:8 vs. 18:6, it is clear that for those who are new to such an eating approach, the 16:8 fasting may be better, as it has a bigger eating window. Both these types require that you dont eat anything during your fasting period, and both have similar benefits. So, you can choose either of them, depending on how busy your day usually is and how well you can manage your time.
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Science Of Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss
To understand the science of intermittent fasting, we need to look into the basics of nutrition.;
And it is quite straight-forward: the food we eat gets broken down to molecules and ends up in our blood, which feeds the cells in our bodies.;
Part of those molecules are net carbohydrates and our body turns them into sugar so our cells could use it for energy.
To be able to use sugar for the energy we need insulin, which is produced in our pancreas and spikes each time we throw in some food with carbohydrates.
Any excess sugars that we dont utilize get stored in the form of fat with the idea that we will use that fat for energy later, once we have no sugar left.
The best way to NOT end up having huge fat reserves is to spend the same amount of energy you get from food.
However, life is not perfect and many of us have lifestyles that limit our chances to move throughout the day. In fact, office workers tend to spend 75% of their waking hours sitting.;
So, what can we do to lose or not gain weight?
One way to do it is to focus on increasing your energy expenditure through increased physical activity or in laymans terms exercising and doing sports. But you knew this one already, didnt you?
Another way though is to focus on consuming less food than you need for the energy that day and as a result, creating a caloric deficit.;
And thats where intermittent fasting comes in.;
Is Drinking Allowed During Intermittent Fasting
During your fasting period, you cant burn-through calories; along these lines; subsequently, drinking liquor will break your quick. However, during the eating segment of your fast, you can decide to drink alcohol as a feature of your caloric admission. The various configurations of intermittent fasting diet plan adjust those windows by different time allotments, Pike says.
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Top 6 Questions About Intermittent Fasting
1) Wont I get really hungry if I start skipping meals? ;
As explained above, this can be a result of the habits you have built for your body. If you are constantly eating or always eat the same time of day, your body can actually learn to prepare itself for food by beginning the process of insulin production and preparation for food.
After a brief adjustment period, your body can adapt to the fact that its only eating a few times a day. The more overweight you are, and the more often you eat, the more of an initial struggle this might be.
Remember, your bodys physical and cognitive abilities most likley wont be diminished as a result of short term fasting.
2) Where will I get my energy for my workouts? Wont I be exhausted and not be able to complete my workouts if fasting?;
This was a major concern of mine as well, but the research says otherwise: Training with limited carbohydrate availability can stimulate adaptations in muscle cells to facilitate energy production via fat oxidation.
In other words, when you train in a fasted state, your body can get better at burning fat for energy when there are no carbs to pull from!
Ill share some of my experiences, now doing heavy strength training for 3 years in a fasted state:
Here I am pulling 420 lbs. at 172 BW after a 16 hour fast:
A post shared by Steve Kamb on Nov 21, 2018 at 10:43am PST
LeanGains digs into various options here, but here is really what you need to know:
4) Wont fasting cause muscle loss? ;
How Much Weight Can You Lose On 1: 8 Diet
To lose weight on the 16:8 diet, its important to match the fasting with healthy eating and exercise. If done so correctly, theres a typical weight loss of around seven to 11 pounds over a ten week period. This is according to a review of 40 different studies published in Molecular and Cellular Endocrincology who found that on average, someone weighing just over 90kg would lose 5% of their total body weight in the ten week period.
A 2018 study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Healthy Eating revealed that the 16:8 diet plan can help people lose weight, without having to count calories as the 8-hour fast produces the same kind of calorific restriction and weight loss.
However, whether theres a distinct weight loss advantage achieved on the 16:8 diet compared to other diets remains to be seen. Some studies have demonstrated that theres almost no difference between people who do intermittent fasting compared those who count calories and cut back on unhealthy food.
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What To Eat While Intermittent Fasting
During the fasting phase of your intermittent fasting only water, black coffee and tea are recomended. The idea is to complete your bodies ready supply of calories.
During the eating period you are encouraged to eat normally, with a focus on enjoying good, wholesome and nutritious food and not feasting on fast food and junk. Most nutritionists promote the Mediterranean Diet as a good template of the types fo food we should be consuming to further assist our bodies. These include complex, unrefined carbohydrates such as whole grains, leafy greens, healthy fats and lean protein.
Try to eat a meal with others. The experience adds satisfaction and supports good health as well because we only serve the best food to our friends and family.
Fasting For Weight Loss
So far, the research studies evaluating intermittent fasting have been relatively short and have enrolled only a limited number of participants. In one, published July 1, 2017, in;JAMA Internal Medicine, 100 overweight people were assigned to one of three eating plans: restricting daily calorie intake by the same amount every day , fasting on alternate days, and continuing with normal eating habits. At the end of the 12-month study, both diet groups had lost weight compared with the normal eaters. However, the fasters didn’t fare any better than the conventional calorie cutters.
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Benefits Of 16/8 Intermittent Fasting
16/8 intermittent fasting is a popular diet because its easy to follow, flexible and sustainable in the long term.
Its also convenient, as it can cut down on the amount of time and money you need to spend on cooking and preparing food each week.
In terms of health, 16/8 intermittent fasting has been associated with a long list of benefits, including:
- Increased weight loss: Not only does restricting your intake to a few hours per day help cut calories over the course of the day, but studies also show that fasting could boost metabolism and increase weight loss (
16/8 intermittent fasting is easy to follow, flexible and convenient. Animal and human studies suggest that it may increase weight loss, improve blood sugar levels, enhance brain function and extend longevity.
Is It Ok To Skip Breakfast
Yes, Varady said. The notion that omitting a morning meal is bad for your waistline likely began with studies sponsored by cereal companies, and most of that research looked at the effects of breakfast skipping on cognition in children, she noted: Im not sure how that all got translated to body weight.
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Is Intermittent Fasting Safe And Healthy
Yes, intermittent fasting does have a lot of benefits. We talk about them in our 21-Day Intermittent Fasting Challenge a lot.
In general, Intermittent Fasting is safe for most people, but you have to know the risks too.
It is also a good time to say that this article should and does not intend to replace advice from your doctor and you should always consult your physician before planning any fasting and especially extended fasting .
Now that we made it clear, here are some of the cases that does not go well with intermittent fasting:
- if you have a diabetes
- if you take medications for blood pressure or heart disease
- if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
- if you have a history of disordered eating
- if you dont sleep well
- if you are under 18 years old
Also, you should be a lot more careful if you are practicing extended fasting, which depending on the source you follow will be continuous fasting for;either anything more than 24, 48 or 72 hours. There is a general consensus that any fasts longer than 72 hours should be done under strict medical supervision.