Intermittent Fasting For Women: What You Need To Know

– Intermittent fasting has become increasing popular in recent years. Now, a number of studies have found that it may not be as beneficial for women as it is for men. For this reason, women may need to follow a more modified approach and in this video we’re gonna look at what that actually entails. (bell ringing) Now just as a refresher, intermittent fasting
refers to an eating pattern that cycles between periods
of fasting and eating. The most common methods include fasting on alternate days, daily 16-hour fasts or fasting for 24 hours, two days a week. Now, for the purpose of this video I’ll just use the term
intermittent fasting to describe all regimens. Unlike most diets, intermittent fasting does not involve tracking
calories or macronutrients. In fact, there are no requirements about what foods to eat or avoid, making it more of a lifestyle than a diet. Many people like to use
intermittent fasting to lose weight as it’s a simple and convenient way to eat less and lose body fat. Additionally, you don’t
need to plan or prepare or cook as many meals so it’s easier in that sense as well. Intermittent fasting may affect men and women differently. So as I said at the start
there’s some evidence that intermittent fasting is not as beneficial for women as it is for men, at least not as consistently beneficial. One study showed that blood sugar control actually worsened in women after three weeks of intermittent fasting which was not the case in men. There are also many anecdotal stories or personal testimonies of women who have experienced
menstrual cycle changes after they began intermittent fasting. Now this shift occurs because the female body is particularly sensitive to calorie restriction. When calorie intake is
low such as from fasting for too long or too frequently, a small part of the brain called the hypothalamus is affected. This can disrupt the secretion
of two reproductive hormones that come from the pituitary gland. Now when these hormones cannot
communicate with the ovaries you run the risk of irregular periods, infertility, poor bone health and other health effects. Although there are no
comparable human studies, tests in rats have shown that three to six months of
alternate-day fasting caused a reduction in ovary size and irregular reproductive
cycles in female rats. For these reasons, women
who want to get into fasting need to take a modified approach which includes shorter fasting periods and fewer fasting days. Best types of intermittent
fasting for women. So yeah, generally
speaking women should take a more relaxed approach
to fasting than men. So here’s some of the best
types of intermittent fasting that women could consider. There’s the crescendo method, that’s fasting for 12 to 16 hours for two to three days a week. Fasting days should be nonconsecutive and spaced evenly across the week, for example, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. And there’s the 5:2 diet
also called the fast diet. This way you restrict calories
to 25% of your usual intake, about 500 calories for two days a week and eat normally the other five days. Allow one day between fasting days. And the 16/8 method also
called the Leangains method. Fasting for 16 hours a day and eating all calories
within an eight-hour window. Women are advised to
start with 14-hour fasts and eventually they could
build up to 16 hours. Whichever you choose,
of course it’s important that you’re eating healthy
during the non-fasting periods. If you start eating
high-calorie, junk food then you’re not gonna experience the same weight loss benefits or health effects as someone who’s eating well during their non-fasting periods. Safety and side effects. Modified versions of intermittent fasting do appear safe for the
vast majority of women. That said, there are the exceptional cases that you see online where someone has started intermittent fasting and their menstrual cycle
has stopped completely. If you do have any medical conditions, I would strongly recommend
you speak to a doctor first before you try this. Medical consultation is
particularly important for women who have a
history of eating disorders, have type one, type two diabetes or regularly experience
low blood sugar levels. They’re underweight, malnourished or have nutritional deficiencies. Are pregnant, breastfeeding
or trying to conceive or have fertility problems or a history of amenorrhea
which is missed periods. At the end of the day, intermittent fasting has a
really good safety profile and it’s something you can consider. That said, if you have any problems such as a loss of your menstrual cycle then you should stop immediately. Thanks for watching, make
sure to give this video a thumbs up if you found it informative. Don’t forget to subscribe to Healthline’s Authority Nutrition YouTube channel by clicking the red subscribe
button below this video. (upbeat music)

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Reader Comments

  1. Heather Smith

    Thank you so much for doing a video like this! I have been seeking information specific for women! I’d love more information on how it effects nursing mothers and milk production.

  2. Wednesday's Child

    Intermittent fasting works best by cutting out sugar and refined carbohydrates. IMO most carbohydrates should be gotten from whole foods. The sugar will burn off in the beginning blood sugar may rise, but I think insulin resistance will go down.

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