A new study shows that overweight and obese women have lost the most in IF and a controlled diet.
If done correctly, intermittent fasting (IF) works well for both men and women.
However, women are more sensitive to calorie restrictions than men. Therefore, intermittent fasting should be more moderate in women.
Some studies show no real difference between the response of men and women to IF, while others show that overly fasting regimes can trigger hormonal disorders, insulin resistance, and infertility in women.
Let’s look at the evidence.
A study that received a lot of attention looked at eight men and eight women who fasted alternately during the day.
The insulin sensitivity of men improved, but that of women worsened.
However, this diet did not allow food on fasting day.
The fast lasted almost a day and a half – from dinner one evening to breakfast two mornings later.
I do not recommend women to fast so hard.
I prefer an alternative day that changes quickly and allows 500-600 calories on Lent.
Other studies have shown that IF causes health problems in rats.
But rats are collectors that have evolved to eat in lots of small batches throughout the day.
Man developed into hunters and gatherers.
Before agriculture was invented, our ancestors had to eat temporarily so that IF coincided with our evolutionary heritage.
Let’s look at better research.
The 5: 2 diet
A study by the University of South Australia divided 137 adults (77 women and 60 men) with type 2 diabetes into two groups – 70 for the 5: 2 diet and 67 for a continuous calorie reduction diet.
There were no negative health effects for fasting.
Alternative fasting during the day
A review of 28 studies in 2016 showed that ADF is easier to follow than a normal daily calorie-reducing diet. It also ensures greater fat loss and preserves more muscle.
In June 2018, researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago published a study that showed daily fasting in 23 obese volunteers, including 20 women, improved weight, blood pressure, and fasting insulin levels.
How to prepare for fasting
Improve your diet.
Reduce processed foods, sugars and starches.
Eat more protein and fiber, as well as some good fats and oils.
This increases your weight loss and health and reduces the craving for food during fasting.
If you have a snack after dinner, stop.
If you don’t eat between dinner and breakfast, you have a fasting period of 11 to 13 hours – a big advantage.
Relaxation in a 5: 2 fasting plan
There is no point in alternating fasting until you manage to hold 5-2.
You can later upgrade to an alternate day that changes quickly (either every other day or Monday, Wednesday, and Friday), but the 5: 2 system may be all you need.
Start with 1000 calories every day of fasting and reduce them until you have 500-600 calories.
On fasting days:
- Wait until you are hungry before eating your first meal – this will be difficult at first, but will help curb hunger.
- Eat to feel full and curb cravings – consume lots of protein and fiber and keep carbohydrates very low.
Facilitate a daily fasting schedule
Daily fasting may be the easiest system to follow.
An experienced intermittent fasting researcher said fewer participants abandoned their recent daily fasting study than their numerous modified fasting studies on the second day.
But don’t go straight to the 16: 8 diet.
16 hours is too much to get started quickly.
Start with 12 or 13 hours and build from there.
Eat breakfast a little later each day and you will soon have a fasting / eating ratio of 14:10.
Stay there for a few weeks before deciding whether you need a shorter dining window.
Many women achieve very good results with 14:10 or 15: 9.
A typical day at 2:10 p.m. is breakfast at 8:30 a.m. and dinner at 6:30 p.m.
A typical 16: 8 day can be brunch at 10.30am and dinner at 6.30pm.
Be strict on weekdays.
However, consider having a sociable breakfast with friends or family once a week if you think this could improve your long-term compliance.
Take the fast lane
Many studies show that sensible intermittent fasting improves health.
The benefits of intermittent fasting for women include weight loss and the reduction of health risks such as insulin and blood pressure.
Thousands of women – including many of my clients – have used IF to change their bodies, health, and lives.