Intermittent Fasting and PCOS: Everything You Need to Know
Intermittent fasting (IF) has been gaining traction in the hormone health space, as a potential strategy to manage polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). But does intermittent fasting for PCOS actually work? In this article, we’ll explore the current research on intermittent fasting for PCOS, and provide tips on how to optimize your diet for PCOS symptom relief.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a way of eating that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. Popular methods of intermittent fasting include time-restricted feeding (TRF), alternate-day fasting, and the 5:2 diet. During fasting periods, you consume no food (or only consume very low-calorie liquids like water, tea, and coffee). On eating days, you can eat whatever you desire.
Does Intermittent Fasting Help PCOS Symptoms?
In short, we do not recommend intermittent fasting for long-term PCOS symptom relief. If you have PCOS, it is very important to consume multiple small meals throughout the day to keep your blood sugar levels and hormones balanced. Eating regularly can also help reduce cravings and overeating.
Intermittent fasting has become an increasingly popular method for managing PCOS symptoms in recent years. Studies are ongoing, but there is currently not enough evidence to suggest that intermittent fasting is beneficial for PCOS symptoms.
Studies in mice models of PCOS show that intermittent fasting improves metabolic and hormone profiles . But that’s about as far as the trials have gone. We need more research in human subjects in order to draw a conclusion on the efficacy of intermittent fasting for PCOS.
Time-Restricted Feeding for PCOS
Time-restricted feeding (TRF) is a form of intermittent fasting, which is beneficial for weight loss and cardiometabolic health. TRF recommends that you limit your eating window to a certain number of hours each day (e.g. 8 hours per day). This type of eating pattern has been studied in humans, and has been found to provide some benefit for metabolic health.
However, TRF is not recommended for women with PCOS. Since PCOS is a hormonal disorder, it is important to keep your hormones balanced. Skipping meals can cause blood sugar levels to drop, which can affect your hormones. Therefore, it is not recommended that women with PCOS skip meals or engage in long periods of fasting.
If you have PCOS, there are certain dietary modifications that can help you manage your symptoms. Here are some tips for creating a PCOS-friendly diet:
- Give up artificial sweeteners of any kind.
- Avoid hormones in food.
- Enjoy plant proteins.
- Include healthy plant-based fats.
- Eat 9 cups of veggies per day.
Eating a balanced diet, full of nutrient-dense foods, is the best way to support your body if you have PCOS. Focus on eating plenty of whole foods, and avoid processed and sugary foods, which can worsen symptoms.
Intermittent Fasting for PCOS: Final Thoughts
Intermittent fasting is not recommended for women with PCOS. While studies in mice models suggest that intermittent fasting may be beneficial, we need more research in humans to draw a conclusion. The best way to manage PCOS symptoms is to eat a balanced diet, full of nutrient-dense, whole foods, and avoid processed and sugary foods. Additionally, it is important to eat multiple small meals throughout the day to keep your hormones balanced and your blood sugar levels stable.
Does intermittent fasting have benefits for people with PCOS?
Early research indicates that women with PCOS may experience improved cognitive abilities and focus, enhanced cellular growth, and reduced cholesterol levels when engaging in intermittent fasting.
What is the most beneficial intermittent fasting period for those with PCOS?
I often recommend that patients ease into intermittent fasting, either by fasting for 16 hours per day or for 24 hours every other day. Research has proven that there are many benefits to this practice, so it can be a good idea to slowly work up to the ideal fasting schedule.
Is it possible to reduce your weight by fasting while having PCOS?
Considering Intermittent Fasting for PCOS may involve reducing total caloric intake, which could lead to weight loss in women with PCOS who are overweight. This could have a positive impact on insulin resistance, fertility, and other symptom management.
What is the most effective diet for managing PCOS?
Many people with PCOS find that they can reduce their symptoms by altering their diet. This may involve more consumption of high-fiber foods and lean proteins, while decreasing the amount of refined carbs and sugary foods.
Promoting Fasting Books
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