What is the best intermittent fasting for women?

by - April 25, 2019


There are a handful of diets that people follow and see positive results, such as Keto, Paleo, Whole30 and intermittent fasting.

Now, a recent study published in the journal Obesity revealed that intermittent fasting is an effective way for obese and overweight women to lose weight.

Studies have provided some evidences that intermittent fasting may not be as beneficial for some women as it is for men.

One study showed that glycemic control worsened in women after three weeks of intermittent fasting, which was not the case in men. There are also many anecdotal stories of women who have experienced changes in their menstrual cycles after the onset of intermittent fasting.

These changes occur because female bodies are extremely sensitive to caloric restriction. When the caloric intake is low, for example, after a prolonged or frequent fast, a small part of the brain called the hypothalamus is affected.

This can interrupt the secretion of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), a hormone that contributes to the release of two reproductive hormones: luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). When these hormones cannot communicate with the ovaries, you run the risk of irregular periods, infertility, poor bone health and other health effects.

In terms of diet, there is no single approach. This also applies to intermittent fasting.

In general, women should adopt a more relaxed approach to fasting than men.

This may include shorter periods of fasting, fewer days of fasting and / or a small amount of calories consumed on fasting days.
Given below are some of the best types of intermittent fasting for women:

Crescendo method


Fast 12 to 16 hours two to three days a week. Fasting days must be non-consecutive and regularly spaced during the week (for example, Monday, Wednesday and Friday).


Eat-stop-eat (also called the 24-hour protocol)


A full 24-hour fast once or twice a week (maximum twice a week for women). Start with fasting from 14 to 16 hours and gradually increase.

The 5:2 diet (also called The Fast Diet)


Limit calories to 25% of your usual consumption (about 500 calories) two days a week and eat "normally" the other five days. Plan a day between days of fasting.

Modified alternate-day fasting


Fast every other day but eat "normally" on days without fasting. You are allowed to consume 20 to 25% of your usual caloric intake (about 500 calories) on a fasting day.

The 16:8 method (also called the Leangains method)


Fast 16 hours a day and consume all the calories in less than eight hours. It is recommended that women start with a 14-hour fast and possibly increase to 16 hours.

Although no comparable human studies have been conducted, rat tests have shown that 3-6 months of fasting every other day (alternate-day fast) leads to a reduction in ovarian size and irregular reproduction cycles in the spleen.

For these reasons, women should consider a modified approach to intermittent fasting, such as shorter periods of fasting and fewer days of fasting.

At the end of the day, the best approach is one that can tolerate and sustain itself in the long run, and that does not have a negative impact on health.

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