Intermittent Fasting is one of those eating protocols that is designed to mimic our ancestors’ eating habits that were maintained throughout the entire evolution of our species. The claim is that eating less frequently is actually more natural for us than eating 5 meals. Logically it makes sense, with all this hunting and gathering we wouldn’t have much time to take a break for a quick bite every 3 hours. The benefits of that are increased growth hormone, which causes cell rejuvenation, reduced risk of cancer, healthy weight loss, increase in strength, alertness and brain function and general wellbeing. However, like anything else, what looks good on paper, doesn’t mean that it works in practice and IF is not an exception.
Is IF good for you?
Ana and I decided to test IF on ourselves after reading tons of articles. Surprisingly, I was not able to find any that would list the drawbacks of this way of eating, even after I searched the Google out of it (red flag?).
We picked the type where you are supposed to fast for 16 hours and then try to cram all the calories that you would normally eat within 8 hours. Aside from the initial discomfort with eating 3 humongous meals (1350 calories per meal for me personally) within such a small amount of time, our results were completely different. I did not experience any extreme hunger issues, lost some body fat and generally felt great. The 3 big meals stopped being a problem after a couple of weeks and I saved a lot of time in the morning from not making breakfast.
Ana on the other hand was having a completely different experience. First, she was really hungry in the mornings and would barely hang on until her first meal at 12pm. However, her body would not adjust to eating larger amounts of food in a short amount of time as easily as mine and she would struggle with eating her daily calorie intake. This would leave her with low energy levels for the next day. On top of it all, she was not able to lose any body fat and experienced mood swings.
The side effects on women
We decided to come off the IF after 2 months. After just the first week of eating her regular 5 meals a day, Ana dropped some weight, had more energy and felt much better. We did some research and found that while very healthy for men, Intermittent Fasting can have a reverse effect on women. One study was done on rats, where the subjects were put on the Intermittent Fasting protocol. Males showed no side effects and were alert and full of energy. But the female subjects showed a heightened stress response and a shutdown of their reproductive system. Another study used people as subjects. It showed that there was no increase in female subjects’ metabolism, while males experienced a positive improvement in their metabolic function. Finally, this study shows that the IF improves insulin response in women and not in men.
The benefits of the Intermittent Fasting may sound good, but from our research and personal experience it seems like it will do more harm than good to women adopting this way of eating and can affect not only their moods and be useless when it comes to weight loss, but also can impact their reproductive abilities.
If you are woman who is looking to lose weight and do it in a healthy and sustainable way, your best bet is to eat 5-6 small meals a day and replace processed foods with natural ones. But, if you are really serious about your weight loss, try out one of our Body Beautiful nutrition protocols and join hundreds of our satisfied customers.