Intermittent Fasting for Women: What You Need to Know
People everywhere are looking to intermittent fasting (I.F.) for its benefits...
This type of health strategy involves a pattern that cycles between eating and fasting periods...
The benefits of I.F. — including weight loss, better mood, increased longevity, and disease prevention — have made it more popular recently...
Unlike other "diets," I.F. does not have to do with tracking the macronutrients or calories you take...
So in that way... it's more of a lifestyle than a diet...
But intermittent fasting may have different types of benefits for men than women...
So, women doing I.F. may need to follow a different approach to experience the best results.
Why Intermittent Fasting is Different for Women
For women, I.F. can pose some risks — especially to their bone health, reproductive health, and overall wellbeing.
Although you can still eat normally during the eating periods as a woman... certain types of I.F. may lower your overall calorie intake.
Calories are what fuel your body by giving it energy...
And if you don’t have enough energy... your body shifts its focus to survival over other critical functions.
According to some studies, intermittent fasting might affect estrogen levels and negatively change reproductive functions, including lactation, fertility, menstrual regularity, and pregnancy.
I.F. could affect reproduction in women because some bodily functions, such as breastfeeding and pregnancy, require more energy.
So, if a woman’s energy levels are too low... her reproductive system may be affected negatively.
But don't get us wrong... there's potential positives, too:
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting for Women
If done properly... I.F. can act as an effective and simple way to lose weight.
Taking regular short-term fasts can help you to eat fewer calories than normal...
Intermittent fasting could be as effective as traditional calorie-restricted diets when it comes to short-term weight loss — all without changing your favorite meals.
It could also reduce body weight by up to 8% in obese and overweight women within 24 weeks.
So, I.F. could be a good place to start for women if they are trying to lose weight.
As women get older... many undergo things like cell aging & menopause...
These can bring changes to their bodies... leading to an increase in belly fat, glucose, and insulin.
Intermittent fasting can help lower their cholesterol, blood pressure, and belly fat... which can help improve insulin sensitivity.
Fasting also helps keep metabolism in check as a woman ages.
Intermittent Fasting Potential Risks for Women
Compromised Bone Health
Taking in fewer calories than your body needs can lead to reduced bone density and bone strength.
Although intermittent fasting may not affect the bone mineral density in women as calorie-restricted diets do... it could still have a negative impact.
Other possible risks of intermittent fasting in women include:
Reproductive system issues
Overeating during the eating periods
To mitigate these health risks... women might have to take a different approach when doing I.F...
For example, they can incorporate small and gradual changes over a few months instead of drastic ones within a short period.
This can help reduce some negative side effects of I.F.
It's also wise to talk to a doctor first BEFORE trying intermittent fasting to understand the possible risks and whether it's a good idea for your individual case.
Let us know how your intermittent fasting journey goes...
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