Intermittent Fasting for Women Over 50 – Good or Bad?

Intermittent Fasting for Women Over 50

Intermittent Fasting for Women Over 50 – Good or Bad?

Intermittent fasting has taken the diet and nutrition worlds by storm, but is it right for you if you are a woman over the age of 50?

In this article and video, I share the results of a large study that might make you rethink your eating schedule.

Intermittent Fasting for Women Over 50 [Video]

In this video, I share what research says about the effects of fasting on pre- and post-menopausal women.

You’ll learn how Intermittent Fasting rates when it comes to…

  • Belly Fat
  • Metabolic Syndrome (a risk factor for heart disease and diabetes)
  • Muscle & Joint Health
  • Bone Health
  • Mood
  • Depression

What is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting (IF) is simply a way of adjusting your daily eating schedule to include a period of eating and fasting.

Intermittent Fasting for Women Over 50

To be successful with Intermittent Fasting, you need to pay attention to the clock and consume all of your calories within a period known as your “eating window.”

Want to learn how to make Intermittent Fasting work for your lifestyle? Read and watch my 3 Ways to Do Intermittent Fasting: Easy, Medium, Extreme.

Intermittent Fasting and Women’s Health

In 2016, a couple of researchers did a comprehensive search of the studies published on fasting, women’s health, and aging, and then published what they found in the Journal of Midlife Health.

Intermittent Fasting for Women over 50

These types or review studies are nice to learn from because they help cut down on biases from small studies that may have gotten paid by a special interest group to perform the research.

So, what you end up with is the big picture of the results from many studies performed over many years.

This big-picture was very positive in all aspects of women’s health from weight loss, to physical health to mental health.

Intermittent Fasting for Women Over 50 – Weight Loss

One of their conclusions from the above-mentioned study was that fasting was successful in helping older women lose belly fat.

Belly fat is a concern for many post-menopausal women, not only for appearance but also for health.

The reduction in belly fat that resulted from intermittent fasting helped the women to reduce their risk of metabolic syndrome, which is a collection of health issues that increase a post-menopausal woman’s risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

IF Improves Muscle and Joint Health

The researchers also found that fasting improved muscle and joint health, so things like arthritic symptoms and low back pain were not as pronounced.

Intermittent Fasting for Women Over 50 Joint Health

And a few of the studies they reviewed showed that periods of fasting affected the way your body produces hormones that affect bone minerals like calcium and phosphate, so there was some indication linking periods of fasting to improved bone health.

Intermittent Fasting and Cancer in Older Women

Fasting for different lengths of time also helped middle-aged women reduce their risk of serious diseases with much of the research focused on the positive effects fasting has on cancer.

The study stated that fasting seems to inhibit some of the pathways that lead to cancer and can also slow the growth of tumors.

Intermittent Fasting and Depression

The review study also took into consideration mental health aspects and highlighted many studies showing that women who practice different fasting techniques saw improvement in their moods and self-esteem and a decrease in anxiety and depression.

What’s The Downside of Intermittent Fasting For Women Over 50?

The review of the scientific literature didn’t seem to have much to say about a downside of intermittent fasting for women over 50 other than stating that there was a need for future studies, which you often hear in research.

So overall, findings are very positive, and the researchers concluded that fasting is a safe medical intervention for pre- and post-menopausal women.

Intermittent Fasting for Women Over 50

How To Do Intermittent Fasting

If you’d like to figure out how to make intermittent fasting fit into your diet routine, I have a video and blog post that walks you through three ways to do intermittent fasting.

About the Author

Dr. Becky Gillaspy, DC graduated Summa Cum Laude with research honors from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1991.

23 thoughts on “Intermittent Fasting for Women Over 50 – Good or Bad?

  1. For all you menopausal/post menopausal women like myself out there struggling with IF, try a switch to OMAD for a while. I lost about 10 pounds in the first month and another 15 pounds more slowly over the next four months. I have dropped three sizes and the best thing is I feel great and have more energy all day. I began doing sport because I felt lighter and exercising was no longer a chore. In the beginning I ate a lot of dessert with my meal but now I don’t crave it as much. OMAD is so easy after a day or so. Good luck ladies!

  2. IF I lost 3kgs during the first 10 days and was very happy, but lost only one pound during the next 10 days which was a disappoint.

  3. I’m 56 and for 7 months I’ve been doing a total fast (no calories except a little cream in coffee) 3 days per week with the other 4 days per week having a 2-6 hour eating window. (The fast days alternate with eating days.) I’ve also thrown in four 3-5 day total fasts. I’ve lost 45 lbs and am within 2 pounds of being in the normal weight range.

    I am very active physically, and except at the end of a 4 or 5 day fast, I haven’t needed to change my activity levels.

    Anyone trying this should expect a transition period where you’ll be hungry a lot. It’ll be easier if you already eat relatively low carb (because your body will be used to burning fat for fuel).

    I found this website because I was looking for information on post menopausal women and weight loss. I’m not surprised that some here have tried 16:8 IF and not lost weight. Been there, done that, had the same experience. My weight loss, even with the extreme of 3 days per week total fast and generally one meal per day on eating days (that’s what I like, which surprises me too) has slowed down to maybe 0-1 lb per week. I think it’s just hard for us older ladies to lose weight. No wonder I didn’t have success with conventional weight loss methods!

    That being said, I really like this IF lifestyle. Less shopping, less cooking, less cleaning up and best of all, when I do sit down to a meal I eat well and feel totally satisfied. I do look forward to eating 6-7 days per week after I get to my goal weight in about 20 lbs. But in the meantime, eating like this (and fasting) have gotten to be routine and it’s not particularly hard. Especially with the results I’ve gotten so far. But I am totally surprised that I can be active, eat healthy (no junk food, no sugar, no flour), only eat 4 (big) meals per WEEK and only lose 0-1 pound per week. But I feel good, my skin and my energy are great. And I did lose weight faster at first with longer eating windows.

    It’s very clear to me that older women are extremely resistant to weight loss. My husband has been eating the same way as me and the last 2 months or so he’s continued to lose steadily 1.5-2 pounds per week. And he’s sedentary compared to me.

    If you try IF, you absolutely need to read Dr Jason Fung’s book “Obesity Code”.

  4. IF does not work for menopausal women. We need small meals to sustain blood sugar during fasting. 100kj. Whole Foods, protein, good carbs and veggies as well as good fats 5 x a day works great! Otherwise we will show typical starvation symptoms.

    1. This is what happened to me. I was getting starvation symptoms. So if I do intermittent fasting from Monday till Friday it should get better?
      Thank you

  5. I’m 57 year old female. Post menopausal. 20 lbs overweight. Clean eating, exercise, and have tried 16:8 IF, with zero results. No drop whatsoever in body fat percentage. I read that fasting every day at my age actually inhibits fat loss. What am I supposed to do?

    1. Hi Lynn, I have not come across research stating that the daily fasting you describe is harmful for a post-menopausal woman.

    2. I am 57 years old, too and I started a ketogenic lifestyle and became fat adapted producing ketones for 2 months (hard after being a person who ate so many carbohydrates), but I took electrolytes and felt better and better and lost 20 pounds! Then I started IF with 16/8 and some 18 and 20 hour fasts mixed in. Now, I love fasting and feel so much better. I don’t like to have one big meal in a day though, because my stomach has shrunk and it makes me too full. I break my fast with a nutrient dense food like avocado and a few Brazil nuts and then have a healthy meal. I am planning to try a 36 hour fast this coming weekend. You have to get used to fasting and it takes time to know what works well for you. What you eat during your feasting window really maters!! Go keto or at least low carb for two weeks, and then try again is my suggestion.

  6. IF does not work for me. My husband calls me an Air Fern. I just don’t need the calories. I eat 1100 Cal a day and maintain my body fat. To burn fat I have to go to Zero Cal intake and then I burn body fat. Just the way it is. I drink 7 glasses of water a day when I fast. And I supplement with a liquid vitamin and a multi mineral.

  7. I am 61 old female that’s not too terribley overweight. 8 pounds overweight.
    All I want to do is to lose this belly fat and roundness on body that I have developed in my late 50s.
    I have been doing 16:8 for 4weeks straight. Being very mindfull with everything going into my mouth.
    Cut out sugar completely. No Pasta and just a small whole wheat dinner roll per day. On the weekends I had one drink or two.
    Belly fat and roundness has not budged and I am the same weight. Very frusterated. Any suggestions?

  8. What next if you are doing your IF – (from 8/9pm to 12/1pm) eating healthily (low carb most of the time) + only eating 2 meals during the feeding window with a berry and yogurt snack in the afternoon (so less calories than before I started), being mindful, successfully ignoring your hunger and keeping on track… but get on the scale after 2 weeks and have put on 1.5 kg instead of loosing a single gram? (I measure 1m64 for 59.5kg now – my ideal weight is 54/55kg) I suffered symptoms such as headache, menstrual bleeding a week after already having had my period, a serious mood swing during 2 days (feeling ok now)… I read today that IF doesn’t work for all women and can seriously throw your hormones out of whack (I think they already were out of whack to begin with…I’m 47) and put your body into starvation mode so that you stock rather than lose when you DO eat… What do I do now? I’m torn between continuing for the next 2 weeks and seeing if my body gets used to it or stopping in case I gain more weight … Seriously frustrating when you are using every ounce of self-discipline available :( ??

  9. I initially lost weight with 16:8 Intermittent Fasting, but after a year or so, I started gaining back. I’m wondering if I need to add days with longer fasts. Thanks for any advice.

  10. I have been doing intermittent fasting and keto I have never been able to get over 0,6 on the ketones and my sugar is always somewhat higher especially in morning and when I excersise .I am so happy to find you two I am 57 my saliva tests show that I have adrenal fatigue low estrogen low cortisol in morning .I feel as though I am for sure insulin resistance just like your husband so much I relate to when following your u tubes together.I have been doing keto a awhile never has worked for weight loss EVER!!but have learned so much from the two of you that I have been able to have a lot better numbers for my blood sugar and ketone ?Still no weight loss but encouraged by the numbers can now wake up to low blood sugars and decent ketones it doesn’t usually last long it’s up and down but I’m hoping my body is still just healing and the weight loss will happen .Im in good shape I have worked out all my life so I’m pretty solid but still have extra fat I want to loose at least 20 to 25 pounds . Menopause has truly kicked my butt?


  12. Thank you for posting a peer reviewed article on this subject. I’ve been looking for an unbiased review of the pros and cons of IF for older women. I’m 55 and I just started a ketogenic diet with a 24:24 fasting protocol. I’m amazed at how good I feel already. No more bloating and heartburn. I haven’t been bothered by hot flashes yet, I haven’t entered menopause, but I do hope this protocol helps minimize those too. I’m happy to hear that IF seems to help with belly fat, because that has recently become an issue for me. I would really love to get back into the sports I enjoyed as a younger woman. I read a study that revealed that the sweet spot for lipid breakdown in young healthy men is between 18-24 hours of fasting. Is there a similar study for women? Thanks again!

    1. Hi Amy, I’ve seen different studies that mention a “sweet spot” for fat breakdown. I don’t recall the details off the top of my head, but I believe the time-frames were the same for men and women.

  13. I am 56 and have been intermittent fasting for 3 weeks (I am trying 3 days a week for now). I was concerned about weight training on two of the days I fast, but so far, I do not seem to have any ill effects. What I really like is my hot flashes have diminished! And I love not having to obsess about calories. I eat healthy when I eat, but the last 10 lbs. I want to lose have been very stubborn. I am hopeful this will do the trick.

  14. Gretings. What sci3nce have discovered is nothing new. Infact my lifestyle encoirages us to fast throughoit oir lifetime. Ever hea4 of Ramadhaan? Not only that, we are and have been encoiraged to fadt two days out of the week as well as three d ays out of the week….science is late and as usual have got nothing 9n the Lo4d of the worlds….

    1. Hi Cheri, yes, science does sometimes trail behind life. The fasting involved with Ramadan is something that I see in a lot of the scientific literature dealing with intermittent fasting.

  15. When I first saw your review, I was nervous because I’m 51 and have been very happily 16:8 intermittent fasting for about 3-4 years. So encouraged to hear all of the positives. I am gonna be one healthy middle-aged woman! Thanks for your complete and well-documented presentation, as well as your easily doable examples. Love you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

4 Daily Habits That Give Your Body No Choice But to Lose Weight

Get Free Access

Enter your information below for instant access to the strategy & free video series that explains how to get the most out of the strategy! 

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Get Dr. Becky's 4 Daily Habits for Weight Loss