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Intermittent Fasting For Women Over 50 For Healthy Aging

You’re entering your 50s and you don’t want to worry about weight management or hormones. However, they remain a part of your life. Fortunately, intermittent fasting for women over 50 is a genuine opportunity to help you be active and healthy. Intermittent fasting (IF) presents weight loss and management benefits. It also benefits hormone regulation during menopause and perimenopause as well as improves aging. You can use intermittent fasting to age gracefully through your mid-life and enjoy every moment.

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting is a routine switch between fasting and eating periods. No harm comes from IF because your body can handle the fasting periods safely. Neuroscientist Mark Mattson confirms that your body can go several hours without food (16). 

Johns Hopkins Medicine explains how intermittent fasting encourages the body to burn fat once it exhausts glucose stores (16). The Cleveland Clinic describes the metabolic change from IF as ketosis, where your body burns fat instead of glucose (20). 

Your body uses fat as a primary fuel source with ketosis, reducing insulin levels (20). That said, will the metabolic change help you as a woman? Let’s discover how a faster, more effective metabolism can alter many functions in your body in the 50s.

Is Intermittent Fasting Good For Women?

Intermittent fasting ignites a metabolic shift, which benefits your body, hormones, and weight. It’s an excellent option for women over 50 to maintain optimal health in the coming years. Let’s discover how it will help you through many challenges.

Intermittent Fasting, Weight, And Hormones

WebMD explains how women over 50 lose metabolic speed (25). Changing hormone levels cause the body to store more fat, lose muscle, and use less energy.

Chicago’s University of Illinois confirmed that both premenopausal and postmenopausal obese women lost weight with IF (5). The excellent news is that menopause, and postmenopause hormone changes won’t stop you from losing or managing your weight or metabolism.

Intermittent Fasting For Women Over 50

Intermittent Fasting And Graceful Aging

The University of South Australia studied how IF influenced glucose levels in men and women with type 2 diabetes with an average age over 50 (7). The results showed improvements in HgA1c after 12 months which were similar between alternate-day fasting and continuous energy restriction. 

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Furthermore, Atlanta’s Emory University School of Medicine reviewed how IF may affect heart health (12). They indicated that current human studies suggest that IF might reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease through improvements in blood lipid levels, blood pressure, blood sugar control, and weight loss.

Finally, the Scripps Research Institute studied short-term fasting and its possible effects on neuronal autophagy in a test tube (23). Intermittent fasting may encourage neurological autophagy to help the brain restore damaged cells for graceful aging. 

You may age gracefully with regenerative autophagy for mental clarity and slower cell degeneration. Meanwhile, you might have improved health in your later years with lower blood pressure, a healthier heart, and the potential to control type two diabetes (7). 

Read More: What To Eat During Intermittent Fasting: How To Maintain The Benefits Of Your Fast

Intermittent Fasting For Women Over 50

Let’s consider a few factors about IF before determining which works best for women over 50. It depends on your health, whether you can safely follow the rules, and how you can schedule the hours to work in your favor.

Intermittent Fasting For Women Over 50 Rules

Before fasting through the techniques above, please consider safety precautions for aging individuals. It could cause adverse side effects from medications. Harvard Medical School warns women over 50 to use careful consideration and speak to their doctor before fasting if they use chronic medicines (18).

You shouldn’t skip meals during fasting periods if you take medication to lower your blood sugar. Also, you don’t want to suffer from nausea after taking medicine on an empty stomach. Also, don’t fast when taking hypertension medication because you can cause sodium imbalances (18).

Harvard also warns against fasting if you have a normal to low BMI because losing too much weight can have consequences for your bones, immunity, and more (18). Never put your wellness at risk by risking medication use or bone health during IF sessions. If you have any questions or concerns, speak to your physician about your fasting plans.

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3 Lessons I Learned Losing Weight With A 16 : 8 Intermittent Fasting Routine (2)

Intermittent Fasting For Women Over 50 Guidelines

Following simple guidelines would be healthy and in your best interests to ensure you get everything from your IF routine. Your later years should be full of health, joyous wealth, and prosperous eating plans. Here are some tips and guidelines for IF women over 50.

Start Slow As A Newbie

The Department of Health and Human Services suggests that it is probably safe for most people to fast for 12 hours (28). Start with a 12-hour fast if you haven’t done it before. Then, work your way up to a 16-hour fast for the best intermittent fasting schedule for women over 50.

Intermittent Fasting For Women Over 50

Determine Your Calorie Needs

You aren’t focusing hard on calories with IF. Still, Jenna Fletcher of Medical News Today recommends determining how many calories would be your best shot (13). Use an online calculator to determine how many calories you should eat based on your age, sex, weight, and other factors.

Alternatively, discuss your calorie needs with a dietitian or doctor to avoid the side effects of extreme calorie restrictions (13). Some side effects may include:

  • Triggering an eating disorder, 
  • Low blood pressure, 
  • Irregular glucose levels,
  • Fatigue, 
  • Disturbed sleeping patterns,
  • Irritability.

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Absorb Nutritious Calories

The Mayo Clinic suggests adding more nutrient-dense foods to reduce calorie-dense foods (21). Switch high-calorie foods for nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to support your middle-aged health. Eat more whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats.

Get Enough Lean Protein

Eat enough protein to benefit from IF. The Mayo Clinic recommends eating 1-1.2 grams of protein for every kilogram (2.2 pounds) of your weight daily (4). The Karolinska Institutet in Sweden confirmed how women require enough protein to prevent muscle waste or sarcopenia as they get older (22).

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Practice Strength Training

Muscle loss is a serious fear among women over 50. However, the Swinburne University of Technology found resistance training to work well in preventing muscle loss while fasting (26). Better Me recommends good workouts for women over 50 to regain fitness (8).

Consider The Keto Diet

Better Me recommends Keto for women over 50 (19). It may have similar benefits to intermittent fasting. In addition, some people believe it works wonders for menopause, metabolism, and bone health. After all, it’s another way to promote ketosis in your body on non-fasting days.

Best Intermittent Fasting For Women Over 50

Intermittent fasting has various schedules you could follow. Some IF methods stand above others for middle-aged women who must consider hormone changes and age-related conditions. Here’s a quick rundown of intermittent fasting schedules for women over 50.

Alternate-Day Fasting (ADF) For Women Over 50

Chicago’s University of Illinois confirmed that the effects of ADF were similar between men, premenopausal women, and postmenopausal women (6). Women also lost weight, regardless of their menopause status, in later years. Dr. Kiltz recommends following the ADF schedule with these guidelines (2):

  • Eat as usual on day one and fast on alternate days.
  • Don’t exceed 500 calories on fasting days.
  • Use low-calorie liquids, including tea, coffee, and sparkling water, on fasting days.

Dr. Klitz also warns of possible muscle deterioration, hyperglycemia, and excess stress hormones in older women (2). It’s a strict schedule that won’t work if you use medication that requires eating first.

Read More: Keto Vs Intermittent Fasting: Is One Better Than The Other?

Best Intermittent Fasting Schedule For Women Over 50: The Daily Method

Dr. Jolene Brighten discusses the daily schedule for women (14). In addition, the Cleveland Clinic suggests it as one of the popular methods to follow (17). The daily method includes the 16:8, 14:10, and 18:6 methods that allow food each day. 

You’ll have time to eat before taking medication and avoid any challenges you may face with stricter IF schedules. Meanwhile, Chicago’s University of Illinois confirmed that the time-restrictive IF method works for both premenopausal and postmenopausal women (5).

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How To Use The 16:8 Daily Schedule

Jayne Leonard of Medical News Today shares the keys to using the famous 16:8 intermittent fasting method (1). You’ll fast for 16 hours daily while eating calories over the remaining eight hours. Use a fasting window to stop eating three hours before bed for optimal results.

Use the following times as your eating window:

  • 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Any other 8 hour window during the day

Jayne Leonard of Medical News Today recommends following simple guidelines during your eating and fasting windows (1):

  • Eat balanced meals during your eating window
  • Consume plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins,
  • Drink plenty of water and remain hydrated during your fasting and eating windows,
  • Use calorie-free drinks like tea, black coffee, and water during fasting.

Intermittent Fasting For Women Over 50

Other Possible Fasting Schedules For Women Over 50

Some intermittent fasting schedules are less suitable for women over 50. However, you may use them if you’re overweight or not using chronic medication. Additionally, knowing the ones you should avoid is vital. Let’s see why you should avoid these IF schedules.

5:2 Method (Safe For Some Women Over 50)

Only a little evidence exists for the 5:2 method, especially in women over 50. 

It’s likely safe to try the 5:2 method as a woman over 50 who doesn’t use glucose-lowering medications or other food-dependent medications, but talk to your doctor to be sure. Jon Johnson of Medical News Today explains how to use the 5:2 intermittent fasting method safely (24): 

  • Eat a healthy and balanced diet five days a week, not exceeding 2,000 calories,
  • Restrict your calories to 500 for two nonconsecutive days per week,
  • Remain hydrated with plenty of water, black coffee, and unsweetened tea on fasting days,
  • Include vegetables, fruits, fiber, and protein in your eating routine,
  • Avoid refined carbohydrates, unhealthy fats, and processed food throughout the routine.

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How Much Weight Can You Lose in a 24-Hour Fast?

24-Hour Fasting (Risky)

The 24-hour method is another strict fasting routine that requires you to fast completely for 24 hours before eating again.  WebMD recommends extreme caution with the 24-hour schedule for women over 50 (15). 

Dr. Jolene Brighten suggests estrogen, thyroid, and other hormones may drop too low over extended fasting periods (14). It’s not the best method for women over 50 who wish to get everything possible from their fasting schedules.

One-Meal-A-Day (OMAD) (Risky)

Dr. Jolene Brighten also warns against the OMAD fasting schedule for women over 50 (14). You’re only allowed one large meal once daily, which packs your body with an influx of fats, carbs, and hormones. It’s too restrictive and may lead to disordered eating habits.

FAQs

Does Intermittent Fasting Work For Women?

The University of Bath suggests that intermittent fasting is about as effective as daily energy restriction for weight loss (27). Meanwhile, Chicago’s University of Illinois tested its efficacy on premenopausal and postmenopausal women who had similar success in weight loss (5).

Is Intermittent Fasting Healthy For Women?

The University of South Australia suggests intermittent fasting may help control diabetes similarly to continuous energy restriction (7). . However, Harvard warns older women that IF may not be a good idea for those who are normal to underweight, have diabetes and need to eat at certain times, or who take chronic medications  (18).

What Is The Best Intermittent Fasting For Women?

Chicago’s University of Illinois found time-restrictive fasting similarly effective for premenopausal and postmenopausal women (5). Harvard recommends easing into a fasting routine and working with your doctor to find a plan that won’t risk your health (18). Meanwhile, it’s easier to use if you take chronic medication that requires eating first.

The Bottom Line

The middle era is the center of your life, where everything is possible. Make it count by aging gracefully with good health and weight management. Intermittent fasting can be a brilliant choice when you follow the rules, guidelines, and best schedules for women over 50.

DISCLAIMER:

This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

SOURCES:

  1. 16:8 Intermittent fasting: Benefits, how-to, and tips (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)
  2. Alternate Day Fasting: Schedule, Benefits, and Meal Plan – Dr. Robert Kiltz (2022, doctorkiltz.com)
  3. A randomised controlled trial of the 5:2 diet | PLOS ONE (2021, journals.plos.org)
  4. Are you getting too much protein? – Mayo Clinic Health System (2022, mayoclinichealthsystem.org)
  5. Changes in body weight and metabolic risk during time-restricted feeding in premenopausal versus postmenopausal women – PubMed (2021, nih.gov)
  6. Does the weight loss efficacy of alternate day fasting differ according to sex and menopausal status? – PubMed (2021, nih.gov)
  7. Effect of Intermittent Compared With Continuous Energy Restricted Diet on Glycemic Control in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized Noninferiority Trial | Lifestyle Behaviors | JAMA Network Open | JAMA Network (2018, jamanetwork.com)
  8. Exercises For Over 50 And Out Of Shape – 11 Best Workouts To Help You Get Fit – BetterMe (2022, betterme.world)
  9. Fasting—A review with emphasis on the electrolytes – ScienceDirect (1970, sciencedirect.com)
  10. Fasting enhances growth hormone secretion and amplifies the complex rhythms of growth hormone secretion in men. – PMC (1988, nih.gov)
  11. How to Find Your Daily Calorie Need – Diabetes Strong (2022, diabetesstrong.com)
  12. Intermittent Fasting: A Heart Healthy Dietary Pattern? – PMC (2020, nih.gov)
  13. Intermittent fasting for weight loss: 5 tips to start (2023, medicalnewstoday.com)
  14. Intermittent Fasting For Women  – Dr. Jolene Brighten (2022, drbrighten.com)
  15. Intermittent Fasting for Women Over 50: What You Need to Know (2021, webmd.com)
  16. Intermittent Fasting: What is it, and how does it work? | Johns Hopkins Medicine (n.d., hopkinsmedicine.org)
  17. Intermittent Fasting: What It Is, Types and How It Works – Cleveland Clinic (2022, clevelandclinic.org)
  18. Is intermittent fasting safe for older adults? – Harvard Health (2020, health.harvard.edu)
  19. Keto For Women Over 50: 10 Ways To Make This Diet Work For You – BetterMe (2022, betterme.world)
  20. Ketosis: Definition, Benefits & Side Effects (2022, clevelandclinic.org)
  21. Make calories count with nutrient-dense food – Mayo Clinic Health System 2021, mayoclinichealthsystem.org)
  22. Sarcopenia: Aging-Related Loss of Muscle Mass and Function – PubMed (2019, nih.gov)
  23. Short-term fasting induces profound neuronal autophagy – PMC (2010, nih.gov)
  24. The 5:2 diet: A guide and meal plan (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
  25. The Best Ways to Increase Metabolism After 50 (2021, webmd.com)
  26. The Effects of Intermittent Fasting Combined with Resistance Training on Lean Body Mass: A Systematic Review of Human Studies – PMC (2022, nih.gov)
  27. The role of intermittent fasting and meal timing in weight management and metabolic health – PubMed (2020,nih.gov)
  28. To Fast or Not to Fast | NIH News in Health (n.d., newsinhealth.nih.gov)
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