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Intermittent fasting might be a very popular way to lose weight, but is the practice of restricted eating between certain hours not ideal for women of a certain age?
She explains in addition to a circadian rhythm, women's bodies also run on an infradian rhythm, which affects metabolism and stress in different ways compared to men. She says it is important to select a diet that takes the infradian rhythm into account in order to not disrupt hormones that play a role in weight management, like insulin, thyroid hormones, and cortisol.
Alisa says the infradian rhythm, which begins at the start of a woman's first period and continues until their last period, affects key areas of the body, including:
- brain function
- stress response
- immune system
- reproductive system
She contends most popular diets -- like intermittent fasting, keto, and paleo -- are not taking the infradian rhythm into account and could be the reason why so many women are not successful while on them. She says the research these diets are based on does not include how the infradian rhythm factors in and is why many women are not able to achieve what these diets promise.
The hormone expert says initially people will usually lose weight when they begin a diet like intermittent fasting, but if a woman (during her reproductive years) is eating the same amount of calories each day for a month, and not factoring in the cyclical metabolic changes that occur (along with the changing caloric requirements that take place during the month) it will likely eventually stop working. She says this scenario can contribute to hormonal disruption, weight gain, and an increase of symptoms around a woman's cycle.
As always, consult with your doctor before beginning any new diet.