A growing number of women have been fervently embracing intermittent fasting as a holistic approach to weight management and overall well-being, however, this could be dangerous, according to a medicine practitioner.
The gravitation towards intermittent fasting marks a departure from conventional dieting norms, emphasizing not just calorie restriction but also incorporating strategic periods of fasting. Intermittent fasting, with its various schedules like the 16/8 method or the 5:2 approach, has garnered praise for its simplicity and adaptability to diverse lifestyles. Women, in particular, have found empowerment in this method, appreciating the flexibility it offers while fostering a sense of control over their dietary choices.
Beyond weight loss, adherents of intermittent fasting often report improved energy levels, mental clarity, and even enhanced emotional well-being, creating a holistic appeal that extends beyond the mere pursuit of women’s health and a slimmer physique. But that’s not all that happens.
“Intermittent fasting can greatly affect hormonal levels, particularly on their reproductive and metabolic health,” warned Dr. Menka Gupta, a functional medicine practitioner who has worked with women and their hormone issues for more than 10 years. “In premenopausal women, intermittent fasting may decrease testosterone while increasing sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) levels. This can cause a variety of symptoms including headaches, acne, insomnia, mood swings and low sex drive. Fasting, especially prolonged periods, may reduce DHEA levels, impacting fertility.”
Dr. Gupta warned that women should avoid fasting during period of high stress. Women interested in intermittent fasting should also sync their fasting with their periods. “For a typical woman with 28 day cycle, fasting is not advisable from day 19 of the cycle to their period. In simple terms, during that time, women’s hormones are most likely to be affected by fasting,” Gupta said.
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