Intermittent fasting in menopause, how good is it?

Ayuno intermitente en la menopausia, ¿qué tan bueno es?

Surely you have heard thousands of times that you should eat 5 times a day, or that eating breakfast increases metabolism, controls hunger and makes you lose fat.

There is even a popular saying: you should eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.

But the latest scientific research highlights the benefits of fasting to control hormonal and metabolic imbalances at menopause.

Is intermittent fasting during menopause good or bad? we tell you

Benefits of intermittent fasting in menopause

A study published in the National Library of Medicine demonstrates the multiple benefits for health and weight of intermittent fasting done well. Harvard Medical School is not far behind, ensuring that it is a solution to the hormonal imbalances typical of this female stage .

These are its main benefits:

  1. Promotes weight loss and body fat by reducing meals and thus calories.

  2. Helps reduce and overcome the symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, insomnia, high stress levels or decreased sexual desire, among others.

  3. By spending time without eating, blood sugar levels and the insulin needed to transform it decrease.

  4. Improves blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

  5. Activate autophagy, that is, start a process of cleaning your damaged cells, preventing cardiovascular diseases or Alzheimer's.

  6. Reduces inflammation and prevents the growth of cancer cells.

  7. Extend your life and delay aging because it attacks free radicals.

  8. Improve your psychological well-being, help control depression and mental fatigue.

  9. If you don't know how to increase muscle mass , fasting helps you too.

Undecided whether to fast or go on a low-calorie diet? Discover it here.

Recommendations to start fasting

  • Start by applying 5:2 intermittent fasting which means eating normally for 5 days and fasting the other 2.

  • Do it gradually. This way you will develop good technique. The first days begin to delay breakfast and advance dinner.

  • Take care what you eat. If you decide on this fasting technique, it makes no sense to fast and then eat ultra-processed, sugary or saturated fat products.

  • During the hours of fasting you should drink water, infusions and boiled vegetable broths (without sugar, salt or pieces of cooked vegetables).

  • How to break the fast is important. Don't jump on your face to fast for many hours. You could experience the first few days energy drops, headaches, dizziness, heartburn and cramps.

Why should you consider intermittent fasting? 

Canadian researcher at Laval University, Hélène Arguin, demonstrated that restricting calories during intermittent fasting helps control weight in menopausal women because it has positive effects on metabolism and hormones.

And if applied correctly, it's a great way to break bad habits, putting a mental and physical shock on your body.

Also, it makes you use muscle and liver glycogen, forcing your body to use stored calories and energy. In addition, it reduces insulin, and controls the hormonal imbalances typical of menopause. 

Therefore, intermittent fasting turns out to be very beneficial in menopause.

Fasting is not for everyone: potential risks

  • Nutrient shortage : it could cause nutritional deficiencies if you do not eat a balanced diet at the time of feeding. Remember that during menopause, it is necessary to reinforce many nutrients to keep the symptoms of the climacteric at bay.

  • Binge eating: Some people engage in so-called binge eating after fasting. Yes, getting enough post-fast calories is important, but make sure you're getting the right calories in just the right amount.

  • Blood sugar problems: For those with a condition such as type 2 diabetes, intermittent fasting is probably not safe, as it can interfere with blood sugar control and increase the risk of hypoglycemia.

  • Medicines: there are medicines that must be taken with food in the stomach, others can affect blood glucose levels.

If any of these cases happen to you, consult your doctor.

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