Intermittent Fasting for Women ~ Is It Safe?
Updated: May 27
I have been following the 21 Day Intermittent Fasting Program principles for about 2 years now. And in case you didn't know already... I'm a woman 🤯
If you've been following my Programs or reading my articles, by now you know of all the reported benefits of Intermittent Fasting: increased fat burning, decreased inflammation, decreased bloating, improved insulin sensitivity, boosted energy levels and decreased breakouts to name a few.
Today I'm sharing critical information that you need to know if you are a woman and considering intermittent fasting. You guys know me, I'm about to break down ALL the science and the latest research!
A little lost? No worries - I know I can get on Nutrition Rants sometimes (all the time). 🤓
Here are the key points you need to know:
Intermittent Fasting and Hormone Balance
Most claims that intermittent fasting causes hormone imbalance come from rat studies. Rats have a much different GI tract than us (they don't even have a true pancreas). So by using rat studies, this really has no true relevance to humans.
One study done on human women studied the effects of Ramadan fasting (similar to IF) on female fertility hormones. Luteinizing hormone, follicle stimulating hormone and estradiol were all tested before and after the Ramadan fast. The study found no difference in female hormones before and after the fast.
Calorie Restriction and Hormone Balance
On the other hand, we have calorie restriction. Calorie restriction (aka food restriction) is where you limit your calories below what your body typically needs in order to lose weight.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Intermittent Fasting IS NOT calorie restriction. Intermittent Fasting is the strategic timing of meals to allow your gut to rest. It has NOTHING to do with calorie restriction. During your eating window, you eat until fully satiated - no food restriction here! AND you still achieve fat burning benefits!! If you want to learn more about Intermittent Fasting, watch THIS video.
Calorie restriction (used in weight loss protocols) on the other hand has been found in studies to produce a compound called MCH. MCH turns off your female hormones. That means long term use of calorie restriction can lead to female hormone imbalance and infertility. In fact, one of the senior authors in this study is quoted saying "Brain neurons that make MCH are quiet most of the time, but when the body is in negative energy balance (food restriction), MCH neurons become active and can shut down reproduction".
That's why in The 21 Day Intermittent Fasting Program, I review exactly HOW to achieve your wellness goals without calorie restriction by using the Intermittent Fasting and Nutrient Timing principles! Learn more about the Program HERE!
Autumn Elle Nutrition