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 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 and resistance (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
Dr. Dan Brennan explains how women over 50 lose metabolic speed (25). Unfortunately, a hormone drop slows the metabolism. When lowering estrogen, thyroid, and sex hormones starts in your 50s, it causes your body not to metabolize food into energy as fast as before.
The University of Virginia Medical School found that IF helped the body secrete growth hormones to promote muscle mass and faster metabolisms (10). In addition, the University of Bath found that weight management and metabolic health were successful with IF (27).
Meanwhile, Chicago’s University of Illinois confirmed that menopausal and postmenopausal 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 And Graceful Aging
The University of South Australia studied how IF influenced glucose and insulin levels in women over 50 (7). The results showed improvements after only two days of fasting for the specific age group. You could control type two diabetes in your golden years.
Furthermore, Atlanta’s Emory University School of Medicine studied how IF affected lipoprotein levels and heart health (12). Intermittent fasting improved cholesterol, reduced hypertension, and increased heart health.
Finally, the Scripps Research Institute studied short-term IF and its profound effects on neuronal autophagy (23). Intermittent fasting encourages neurological autophagy to help the brain restore damaged cells for graceful aging. It also slows down the aging process.
You can age gracefully with regenerative autophagy for mental clarity and slower cell degeneration. Meanwhile, you’ll have improved health in your later years with lower blood pressure, a healthier heart, and the potential to reverse 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 before fasting if they use chronic medicines (18).
You can’t skip meals during fasting periods if you require insulin injections. Also, you shouldn’t 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 BMI because of bone damage risks (18). Never put your wellness at risk by risking medication use or bone health during IF sessions. Worst-case scenario, speak to your physician about your fasting plans.
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 the safest time anyone of any age can fast is 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.
Determine Your Calorie Needs
You aren’t focusing hard on calories with IF. Still, Dr. Grant Tinsley recommends determining how many calories would be your best shot (13). Use this simple method to determine how many calories you should eat if you know your body fat percentage (11):
- Divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 to get kilograms,
- Multiply your kilogram weight by 0.9,
- Multiply the number by 24,
- Divide the number by your body fat percentage.
Alternatively, discuss your calorie needs with a dietician or doctor to avoid the side effects of extreme calorie restrictions (13). Dr. Grant Tinsley confirms some side effects may include:
- Developing an eating disorder,
- Low blood pressure,
- Irregular glucose levels,
- Disturbed sleeping patterns,
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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 a gram of protein for every two pounds of your weight daily (4). The Karolinska Institutet in Sweden confirmed how aging women require enough protein to prevent muscle waste or sarcopenia (22).
Replenish Your Electrolytes
Dr. Roland Weinsier recommends replenishing electrolytes while fasting because they drop (9). Drink plenty of fluids and purchase electrolyte blends from a drugstore to keep up with things. Lost electrolytes reduce sodium and potassium to undo your IF goodness.
Practice Strength Training
Muscle waste is a serious fear among women over 50. However, the Swinburne University of Technology found fasting and resistance training to work well in preventing muscle waste (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 has similar benefits as intermittent fasting. In addition, it works wonders for menopause, metabolism, and bone health. After all, it’s another way to begin 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 how ADF was effective for menopausal 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 alternate 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 highly recommends the daily schedule for women over 50 (14). In addition, the Cleveland Clinic suggests it as one of the best methods to follow (17). The daily method includes the 16:8, 14:10, and 18:6 methods that allow some 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 how well the time-restrictive IF method works for menopausal and postmenopausal women (5).
How To Use The 16:8 Daily Schedule
Registered Dietician Natalie Olsen 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.
Registered Dietician Natalie Olsen recommends following simple guidelines during your eating and fasting windows (1):
- Eat balanced, frequent meals to prevent undesirable hormone changes,
- 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.
Other Possible Fasting Schedules For Women Over 50
Some intermittent fasting schedules are 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. However, the Queen Mary University of London researched whether the 5:2 IF method interfered with other medical conditions (3). It didn’t interfere with other health conditions.
It’s safe to try the 5:2 method as a woman over 50 who doesn’t use insulin injections or other food-dependent medication. Registered Dietician Katherine Marengo 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 consecutive days per week,
- Remain hydrated with plenty of water, black coffee, and unsweetened tea on fasting days,
- Eat three small meals throughout the restrictive days,
- Eat lunch and dinner as early as possible,
- Include vegetables, fruits, fiber, and protein in your fasting routine,
- Avoid refined carbohydrates, unhealthy fats, and processed food throughout the routine.
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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. It’s excellent to cut calories and lose weight. Unfortunately, Dr. Brennan doesn’t recommend the 24-hour schedule for women over 50 (15).
Dr. Jolene Brighten suggests estrogen and thyroid 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.
Does Intermittent Fasting Work For Women?
The University of Bath confirmed how intermittent fasting works for women to improve metabolism and lose weight (27). Meanwhile, Chicago’s University of Illinois tested its efficacy on menopausal and postmenopausal women with great success in weight loss (5).
Is Intermittent Fasting Healthy For Women?
The University of South Australia says intermittent fasting can control diabetes in women (7). Meanwhile, the University of Bath confirms it helps you lose weight (27). However, Harvard warns older women not to use IF with a normal BMI or to interfere with medications (18).
What Is The Best Intermittent Fasting For Women?
Chicago’s University of Illinois found time-restrictive fasting highly effective for menopausal and postmenopausal women (5). Harvard recommends using this type of intermittent fasting (18). Meanwhile, it’s safe 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 is a brilliant choice when you follow the rules, guidelines, and best schedules for women over 50.
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!
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