Intermittent fasting (IF) is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating for weight loss among other health reasons.
Over the last few years, IF has soared in popularity with a number of methods becoming common.
Celebs, influencers and fitness fanatics often rave about this specific way of losing weight.
And there are some pretty impressive results to be found.
However, Louise Robbins, a nutrition coach, believes intermittent fasting is not a suitable way to lose weight for women.
You can follow Louise on Instagram, @louise_robbins, where she goes into detail about the best ways to lose weight, get fit and feel healthy.
In an exclusive interview with Daily Star Online, Louise Robbins explained why she thinks intermittent fasting doesn’t always work for women
There are a number of intermittent fasting methods that can be used with the most common being the 16/8 – fasting for 16 hours with an eight hour eating window.
For example, an eating window would open between 12pm and 8pm (essentially just skipping breakfast).
We are already fasting while we sleep and most people will be fasting for 10-12 hours every night anyway so why is it necessary to extend that time?
It helps people to lose weight by reducing their overall calorie intake consumed throughout the day.
For weight loss to occur, one must be in a calorie deficit – where someone is expending more calories than they consume.
The good news is this doesn’t have to be purely through exercise.
Our body uses most of our energy (calories) just keeping us alive through metabolic processes – this is our basal metabolic rate (BMR).
The BMR can be between 1200-1800 calories per day depending on age, weight, height, body fat and muscle mass and does not take into account purposeful exercise or NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis).
It’s not that intermittent fasting doesn’t work (it can), but rather that it isn’t optimal for women’s health.
Regular meals are essential to help stabilise blood sugars which is especially important in the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle when a shift in hormones causes blood sugars to dip and cravings can result.
It is also important to consider our daily nutritional requirements.
Women need approximately 2g of protein per kg of body weight each day which can be difficult to reach in a shortened eating window.
Less meals can also make it harder to hit daily nutrient targets that support female hormones and overall health.
Fasting can work for men though as long as they are in a calorie deficit.
The good news for them is that it doesn’t impact their hormones as it does women.
The best diet is the one you can stick to long term (and usually doesn’t have a name!).
A well balanced diet that includes all macronutrients (protein, fat and carbohydrates) as well as plenty of vegetables for additional micronutrients for optimal health.
As long as a small calorie deficit can be adhered to, weight loss will still occur.
A nutrition coach can assess your current lifestyle and guide you to achieving your goals that you can maintain for the long term whilst also taking into account your overall health and hormones too.
Fasting can also increases cortisol, the stress hormone, which can promote fat storage.