Intermittent fasting for women over 40
Around the age of 40, metabolic changes occur that favor weight gain and other disorders. Intermittent fasting is a useful tool to regain balance.
In the period from 40 to 50 years old, many women experience weight gain. It is the consequence of hormonal changes and a slowing of metabolism associated with the passing of the years. To avoid this weight gain, it is advisable to modify the diet to reduce calorie intake and stimulate certain metabolic processes. Intermittent fasting is presented as an effective help at this precise moment.
Actually, the changes begin at age 30 because at this age the production of growth hormone is reduced, which causes a general decrease in muscle tone, so fewer calories are burned at rest. If we add to this a reduction in physical activity, the risk of gaining weight in an accelerated way increases.
Another factor that favors overweight are premenopausal hormonal changes that are associated with a redistribution of body fat: fat that accumulated in the buttocks during youth now moves to the abdomen and is very difficult to eliminate.
Weight is not the only problem. From the age of 40, sugar and cholesterol levels can also increase, especially if the diet has not been balanced and healthy over the last decade.
If weight is reduced through a lighter and healthier diet, increasing the presence of fresh and fiber-rich foods, the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases decreases, there is less joint pain and even the chances of developing some types of cancer.
INTERMITTENT FASTING HELPS YOU ADAPT TO METABOLIC CHANGES
A balanced diet based on natural plant foods, not ultra-processed, can help us control weight and other risk factors. But if this diet incorporates the intermittent fasting technique, the results can be faster and more intense.
The benefits of intermittent fasting have been proven in studies that began with mice. It was observed that if laboratory animals ate every other day, they stayed lean, developed fewer age-related diseases , and lived 30 to 40 percent longer, according to a review of articles published in 2019 in the New England Journal of Medicine, directed by gerontologist Rafael de Cabo and neuroscientist Mark Matsson, from Johns Hopkins University.
In monkeys, intermittent fasting has also caused spectacular changes: it reduces body weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels, improves glucose control, decreases systemic inflammation (which is at the origin of many diseases), maintains health brain and even increases stamina and coordination.
Effects as radical as in animals have not yet been proven in humans, but studies have shown that various forms of intermittent fasting can be effective for weight loss, blood sugar control, and lowering blood pressure. There are indications that the stricter forms with prolonged fasting or more caloric restriction offer more benefits.
TYPES OF INTERMITTENT FASTING
There are three types of intermittent fasting:
- Alternate-day fasting:one day you eat normally and the next you limit your intake to sugar-free drinks (in less strict forms a total intake of 500 calories is allowed).
- Plan 5:2,which means eating normally five days a week and a very light meal the other two days.
- Perform a daily fast of at least 10 hours(meals are taken in the “window” of 14 remaining hours). Some experts recommend longer periods of daily fasting, which can be up to 18 hours.
WHY IS INTERMITTENT FASTING BENEFICIAL?
Scientists explain the positive effects of intermittent fasting by “metabolic switching”: after 10-12 hours of complete fasting, the body depletes its glycogen stores (the form of glucose that is stored in the muscles and liver) and it begins to burn ketones (a fuel made from fat by the liver).
There’s still more. The succession of periods of fasting and eating stimulates a process called autophagy by which less healthy cells are recycled or eliminated, which favors the self-regeneration of the entire organism.
Intermittent fasting allows you to control and reduce body weight and does so in a more effective and healthy way than a simple low-calorie diet. For example, a study led by Dr. Krista Varady, from the University of Illinois at Chicado, shows that the response to insulin is doubled and, consequently, blood glucose levels are effectively regulated.
As for other benefits, dozens of human trials are underway to test whether intermittent fasting is effective in slowing the development of cancer and reducing symptoms of multiple sclerosis, stroke, Crohn’s disease, and other conditions.
DO NOT FORGET ABOUT PHYSICAL EXERCISE AND HEALTHY HABITS
Despite all the properties of intermittent fasting, we should not make it our only strategy to promote our health. Rest, emotional balance, personal relationships, a healthy environment and physical exercise continue to be equally important. Remember that the WHO recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week (walking, cycling, swimming, etc.), to which should be added strength routines (weights, rubber bands, squats, push-ups…) a minimum of biweekly.