Is Intermittent Fasting good for women or is it bad?
Today, I'm making the case for why Intermittent Fasting is good for most women.
Is Intermittent Fasting Good For Women?
The first thing to understand is that Intermittent Fasting itself is not a form of calorie restriction. A lot of people use it that way, but it's not inherently a form of calorie restriction. This detail matters when it comes to Intermittent Fasting for women.
It's also important to understand that there are various forms of fasting, with the most common being:
Time Restricted Eating (TRE)
Alternate Day Fasting (ADF)
TRE is a form of fasting where you fast for 12-22 hours per day and eat during the remaining hours of the day. ADF is where you fast for a full 24 hours every other day. Extended fasts is where you fast for over 24 hours (usually around 3-5 days).
The major difference between TRE and ADF or Extended Fasts is that you're still able to get all of your daily nutrient needs in every single day while following the TRE method. By the nature of fasting longer than 24 hours, you aren't able to get your daily nutrient (such as protein) needs in while following ADF or Extended Fasts.
So why do people think Intermittent Fasting is bad for women?
The study you often see referenced is a 2013 rat study where the rats where subjected to an ADF fasting protocol.(1) The reason why this study is referenced so often is because it found that the Alternate Day Fasting protocol caused the rats ovaries to shrink.
And honestly, these results make sense because every other day the rats were not able to eat.
These are the same types of issues that are seen when consistent calorie restriction (or semi starvation) is applied as well, even without using a form of fasting. In fact, that same study even referenced the well known historical fact that food restriction in general can lead to fertility issues.(1)
This is why I never recommend Alternate Day Fasting for women. I only recommend Time Restricted Eating (TRE).
Pssst - wondering how long you should fast per day? Check out my free Intermittent Fasting Schedule Quiz by clicking the button below!
Now on the flip side, a 2014 human study on Ramadan Fasting, which is a form of TRE, found no change in female hormones while following the fast.(2) In fact, there have been human studies on TRE that found Intermittent Fasting might even help common female conditions such as PCOS.(3)
TRE can be a fantastic tool for gut health and fat burning while still getting all of your daily nutrient needs in. This is assuming that the perks of Intermittent Fasting are balanced with the perks of eating the right types of foods during the fast.
Eating enough protein, fat and fiber during the eating window can help support weight loss and wellness goals while reaping the perks of Intermittent Fasting.
You can get the step-by-step details for how to break a fast and use Intermittent Fasting with the Complete Intermittent Fasting Bundle HERE.
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Keto Coffee Cheers,
Autumn Elle Nutrition