Most dietary regimens focus on what to eat and pay little to no attention when you eat. On the other hand, intermittent fasting focuses on when you are eating your meals and for how long you fast. Since intermittent fasting focuses primarily on timing, you might be wondering if it is different for women since females experience monthly changes in hormone levels. The answer is yes, but intermittent fasting still has numerous benefits for women!
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
While intermittent fasting has been a popular weight-loss method for ages, it wasn’t until recently that it also became a tool for blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure control.
Intermittent fasting is simply an eating pattern where you go through periods of fasting and eating. It doesn’t tell you what you should eat, but only when you should eat them.
The most common intermittent fasting regimen is characterized as 16:8, meaning you fast for sixteen hours throughout the day and give yourself an eight-hour window to eat.
For example, if you were to follow the 16:8 cycle, you could eat your first meal at 8 AM and finish your last meal of the day by 4 PM. On the other hand, if you don’t like to eat breakfast and usually wait until lunch, you can eat your first meal at noon and then finish off your food for the day by eating something before 8 PM.
This practice comes from the idea that humans evolved throughout the years with the ability to fast for longer periods of time and were able to survive without food.
Now, in the summer, we have freezers and refrigerators to store our meat. Hunter-gatherers did not have grocery stores or any kind of kitchen appliances to help them preserve food. Instead, they fasted.
Does Intermittent Fasting Affect Women Differently?
Eating in cycles may not only help you lose weight but also improve your overall health.
Research shows that intermittent fasting reduces some of the risk factors that contribute to diabetes in a similar way calorie restriction does. 
Studies also confirm that time-restricted feeding, a key component in intermittent fasting regimens, has been associated with weight loss, total cholesterol balance, a decrease in triglyceride concentrations, glucose, insulin, and an improvement in overall insulin sensitivity. 
In a study done on obese women, researchers found that women who engaged in intermittent fasting combined with calorie restriction were able to reduce their body weight, fat mass, and visceral fat. 
Not only that, intermittent fasting helped obese women with cardioprotection and weight maintenance for longer periods of time in comparison to eating a regular healthy diet. 
One of the leading causes of death in the world is heart disease. All kinds of factors including high blood pressure and high LDL cholesterol are directly contributing to the development of heart disease.
Research shows that intermittent fasting helped 12 women lower their LDL cholesterol by 25% and triglycerides by 32% during a 10-week observation period. 
What Types Of Intermittent Fasting Are There?
There is no one type of fasting method that works for everyone, which is great in terms of flexibility. If the above-mentioned 16:8 doesn’t work for you, there are other options you can choose from.
Crescendo method: here you’ll fast for 12-16 hours 2-3 days per week. For example, you’ll fast on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. They should also not be consecutive.
The 24-Hour Protocol: In this type of intermittent fasting you should do a full 24-hour fast twice a week.
The 5:2 Diet: Here you’ll eat about 500 calories for two days per week and then eat your recommended caloric intake the other days. Again, fasting days should not be consecutive.
The 16:8 Method: Fast for 16 hours per day and eat all of your meals within an 8-hour period.
OMAD: an abbreviation for “One Meal a Day” where you fast for 23 hours and then eat all of your calories within a 1-hour window. You don’t need to do this immediately, it’s better to build up your fasting tolerance and start gradually, for example, with the 16:8 method.
How do I start?
Don’t rush into intermittent fasting.
Did you know that you’ve already done it when you sleep or have done it subconsciously by skipping a meal?
Give one of the methods above a try, but remember to take it slow. For example, each week decrease your eating window by one hour until you reach your goal and see how you feel.
Are you a big fan of intermittent fasting or do you want to try it? Leave us a comment with your thoughts and share your experiences!
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Rothschild J, Hoddy KK, Jambazian P, Varady KA. Time-restricted feeding and risk of metabolic disease: a review of human and animal studies. Nutr Rev. 2014 May;72(5):308-18. doi: 10.1111/nure.12104. Epub 2014 Apr 16. PMID: 24739093.
Klempel MC, Kroeger CM, Bhutani S, Trepanowski JF, Varady KA. Intermittent fasting combined with calorie restriction is effective for weight loss and cardio-protection in obese women. Nutr J. 2012 Nov 21;11:98. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-11-98. PMID: 23171320; PMCID: PMC3511220.
Trepanowski JF, Kroeger CM, Barnosky A, Klempel MC, Bhutani S, Hoddy KK, Gabel K, Freels S, Rigdon J, Rood J, Ravussin E, Varady KA. Effect of Alternate-Day Fasting on Weight Loss, Weight Maintenance, and Cardioprotection Among Metabolically Healthy Obese Adults: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Intern Med. 2017 Jul 1;177(7):930-938. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.0936. PMID: 28459931; PMCID: PMC5680777.
Varady KA, Bhutani S, Church EC, Klempel MC. Short-term modified alternate-day fasting: a novel dietary strategy for weight loss and cardioprotection in obese adults. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Nov;90(5):1138-43. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.28380. Epub 2009 Sep 30. PMID: 19793855.
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