Intermittent fasting for women over 60 could be the key you seek toward better health and weight management. That said, how will you benefit from the programs, which one should you use, and could you optimize your schedule by your golden age?
Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s first show you the possible benefits of intermittent fasting (IF) programs before discussing the options.
Is Intermittent Fasting Healthy for a 60-Year-Old Woman?
Intermittent fasting for seniors may help you achieve the following:
- Weight loss (4)
- Better sleep (5)
- Lower risk of heart disease (3)
- Improved insulin sensitivity (3)
- Reduced inflammation (12)
- Better short and long-term memory (10)
However, let’s see the pros and cons of IF for women over 60.
Intermittent Fasting for Seniors Benefits
Intermittent fasting for women over 60 may have additional advantages.
Polish researchers placed women over 60 on a 6-week IF program to compare them to a control group (4). The prime-aged women following a 16/8 intermittent fasting schedule lost nearly 2% of body weight, almost double what the control group lost.
German researchers found that a 1-week modified fasting program helped 13 participants, mostly women, achieve better sleep quality (5). Resting better in your prime years could lead to more energy during the day to enjoy social activities and do what you love.
A review by researchers at the National Institute on Aging Intramural Research Program suggested that both IF and calorie restriction may positively affect brain and heart health (3). Cardiovascular improvements may reduce your risk of developing coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, and insulin resistance.
Enhanced Quality of Life
The University of Florida researchers reviewed how time-restricted IF programs might help individuals manage chronic pain (12). Various IF schedules have been observed to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress to potentially improve chronic pain.
London scientists found that IF programs could help to consolidate long-term memories and improve short-term working memory in mice (10). Additionally they found that IF may help produce the longevity gene called Klotho.
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Intermittent Fasting Precautions for Women Over 60
Harvard mentions that women over 60 with a normal to slightly overweight body type should avoid IF programs, which may cause unhealthy weight loss (14). Furthermore, consult with your doctor before using IF if using medication for any of the following reasons:
- Blood pressure
- Heart disorders
Harvard doesn’t recommend IF if you take medication or supplements (14).
What Is the Best Intermittent Fasting for People Over 60?
Intermittent fasting over 60 brings possible benefits, but how can you ensure you use a proper schedule and follow guidelines that help you succeed? Let’s discover the best IF for seniors.
How Many Hours Should a 60-Year-Old Woman Intermittent Fast?
The 16/8 intermittent fasting for seniors would be an excellent choice to start your journey toward the benefits. The Polish research suggests that the 16/8 IF program can be effective for women over 60 (4). In addition, the study had good retention.
The 16-hour fasting and 8-hour eating window allow you to adapt the schedule to your medications and lifestyle while enjoying most of your fast during sleep. On the other hand, a study by London scientists found that women battled to stick to the 5:2 diet, with 26% of women leaving the study after only six weeks (2).
A meager 31% of individuals still followed the program six months later. Both studies used effective weight loss programs. However, adherence was the difference. For women who wish to eat normally (but healthy) five days a week and limit their calories to 500-600 on two non-consecutive days, the 5:2 program will work.
However, the 16/8 program is more adaptable and suits medication use and different lifestyles. You can even start with a shorter fasting window, say 12 hours, and work your way up to 16.
How Many Days a Week Should a Senior Woman Intermittent Fast?
Intermittent fasting over 60 should be practiced with careful guidance. The Polish and London studies suggested that women are more likely to stick to programs with flexibility to fit into their lifestyles (4, 2). The 5:2 diet may suit you more if you’re not using medication.
You could enjoy a regular calorie intake for five days weekly while limiting your intake on two non-busy days. For example, fast on Mondays and Thursdays because you don’t have social obligations. In that case, limiting your calories to two days is much easier.
However, you may have an active lifestyle, exercise, and be pretty social, meaning you’ll fare better on the 16/8 program. Both programs are effective with a touch of discipline. Also, alternate-day fasting is when you eat your regular calories one day and limit your calories to 25% of your typical intake every other day.
You still eat calories, allowing you to plan around your medication. However, WebMD suggests you avoid the 24-hour IF program, which may cause headaches, fatigue, and irritability (15).
Best Intermittent Fasting for Menopause
Intermittent fasting for women over 60 must include programs available for menopause. The Australian Menopause Center cautions women in or around menopause to remember that their bone health is at risk and they require dense nutrients daily (9).
A commonly recommended program during perimenopause, menopause, or after menopause is the modified 14/10 schedule. It allows you to fast for 14 hours and eat for 10. It’s the least likely program to affect your low hormone levels. Furthermore, eat nutrient-rich foods during your eating window and stay well-hydrated to keep your bones healthy.
Intermittent Fasting By Age and Gender
Using intermittent fasting safely means understanding how men and women differ or how women of different ages can use various programs.
Intermittent Fasting for Seniors By Age
Intermittent fasting for a 70-year-old woman differs from a 60-year-old because of natural aging. The Cleveland Clinic states that your bone density begins to decline at around age 40 and the rate doubles for the risk of fractures every five years after age 65 (6).
Research between the UK and Switzerland examined how intermittent fasting affects bone health (7). Time-restricted eating for up to 6 months seems to have no negative impact on bone health and may even be slightly protective. Most studies on alternate-day fasting did not find adverse effects on bones, while studies on the 5:2 diet have not reported bone outcomes, so we don’t have any data.
Intermittent Fasting for Seniors By Gender
Fasting for men and women also differs. Women have changing hormones that men don’t experience, and more extended fasting periods could disrupt the hormone cycles. The Cleveland Clinic explains how fasting impacts progesterone and estrogen (13).
Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) regulates estrogen and progesterone and is highly sensitive to environmental changes. Long fasting periods can disrupt the hormone, even affecting menopausal women.
Younger women who want to conceive shouldn’t follow stricter IF programs or will have to modify the fasting times according to their cycles (13). Senior women won’t have to worry about ovulation risks, but postmenopausal women should be aware of the possibility of still having symptoms from low estrogen levels.
It’s better to use shorter fasting periods. The 14/10, 16/8, and alternate-day fasting schedules suit senior ladies. Ultimately, the Cleveland Clinic suggests starting with a 12-hour fast and working toward longer fasts (13).
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For more helpful information:
Can You Drink Coffee With Milk While Intermittent Fasting?
Unfortunately, you’ll break your fast if you add milk to coffee (1). Cream or milk adds calories to your coffee, which spikes your glucose and stops the fast. Instead, add MCT oil, a source of fat, to give you a quick energy boost if that’s what you seek.
What Is the Best Intermittent Fasting Schedule for Seniors?
Intermittent fasting for a 65-year-old woman would differ from a 20-year-old. Polish research found that the 16/8 IF program suited participating women over 60 well because it fit into their lifestyles, medication use, and sleep patterns (4). It also has not been seen to have a negative impact on your bones (7).
What Is the Best Intermittent Fasting Window to Lose Belly Fat?
The best IF schedule to lose belly fat is the one that fits into your life and doesn’t feel overly burdensome. You are more likely to stick with it and see results over time.
Can You Eat Anything While Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting for seniors still follows the basic rules. However, nutrient-dense foods are essential for menopausal and postmenopausal women to maintain bone health while doing IF programs (9). Add these nutritional foods between fasts to maximize your benefits (11):
- Fruits: Apples, bananas, blueberries, blackberries, grapes, peaches, pears, pineapple, plums, raspberries, and watermelon
- Vegetables: Asparagus, beets, bell peppers, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, kale, spinach, and sweet potatoes
- Protein: Chicken, bacon, beef, eggs, pork, salmon, sardines, scallops, shrimp, trout, tuna, and turkey
- Nuts/Seeds: Almonds, cashews, chia seeds, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, macadamias, pecans, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts
- Whole Grains: Brown rice, corn, oats, quinoa, and whole grain pasta
- Dairy: Yogurt, cheese, milk, and other dairy products, or other calcium-enriched foods
The Bottom Line
Intermittent fasting for women over 60 isn’t as challenging as you thought. Instead, you know which programs will work better for your precise age to ensure you use the safest option. Pick your schedule and start losing that stubborn fat in your prime years today.
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!
- 7 Tips For Making The Perfect Cup Of Intermittent Fasting Coffee (2023, betterme.world)
- A Randomised Controlled Trial of the 5:2 Diet (2021, journals.plos.org)
- Beneficial Effects of Intermittent Fasting and Caloric Restriction on the Cardiovascular and Cerebrovascular Systems (2005, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Effect of a Six-Week Intermittent Fasting Intervention Program on the Composition of the Human Body in Women over 60 Years of Age (2020, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Effects of Short-Term Modified Fasting on Sleep Patterns and Daytime Vigilance in Non-Obese Subjects: Results of a Pilot Study (2003, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- How Does Age Affect Your Bones? (2022, health.clevelandclinic.org)
- Intermittent Fasting and Bone Health: A Bone of Contention? (2023, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Intermittent Fasting and Weight Loss (2020, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Intermittent Fasting During Menopause: What Do You Need to Know? (2023, menopausecentre.com.au)
- Intermittent Fasting Enhances Long-Term Memory Consolidation, Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis, and Expression of Longevity Gene Klotho (2021, nature.com)
- Intermittent Fasting Food List & Printable PDF | Laura Fuentes (2023, laurafuentes.com)
- Intermittent Fasting: Potential Utility in the Treatment of Chronic Pain across the Clinical Spectrum (2022, mdpi.com)
- Is Intermittent Fasting Healthy for Women? (2023, health.clevelandclinic.org)
- Is Intermittent Fasting Safe for Older Adults? (2020, health.harvard.edu)
- What to Know About Intermittent Fasting for Women Over 50 (2021, webmd.com)