PCOS Intermittent Fasting: What You Need to Know
Intermittent fasting (IF) has been gaining traction in the hormone health space, as a possible strategy to manage polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). But is this approach beneficial, or detrimental? In this article, we’ll take a look at the potential benefits, drawbacks, and best practices for PCOS intermittent fasting.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. There are various types of IF, such as 16:8, 5:2, and alternate day fasting. The most common approach is 16:8, which involves fasting for 16 hours, and eating all your meals within an 8-hour window. Popular time-restricted feeding protocols include eating between 11 am and 7 pm, or 1 pm and 9 pm.
Can Intermittent Fasting Help PCOS?
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, as this helps to regulate your blood sugar and hormones. Skipping meals can trigger symptoms such as food cravings, low energy, and increased body fat.
However, intermittent fasting has become an increasingly popular method for managing PCOS symptoms in recent years. Studies are ongoing, but there is some evidence that suggests that IF can help to reduce insulin resistance and improve fertility. Fasting appears to alter insulin sensitivity which can have many positive effects on PCOS . Bodyweight, fertility, acne, unwanted hair, and menstrual cycle regularity can all potentially be improved with IF.
What Is Time-Restricted Feeding?
Time-restricted feeding (TRF) is a form of intermittent fasting, which is beneficial for weight loss and cardiometabolic health. Studies suggest that temporal restriction of food intake can help to manage PCOS symptoms, as well as improve metabolic health markers. TRF involves eating all of your meals in a 6-8 hour window, and fasting for the remaining hours. For example, you may choose to eat between 11am and 7pm, or 1pm and 9pm.
PCOS Diet Tips
- Give up artificial sweeteners of any kind.
- Avoid hormones in food.
- Enjoy plant proteins.
- Include healthy plant-based fats.
- Eat 9 cups of veggies.
Making a few small dietary shifts can have a big impact on PCOS symptoms. Avoiding processed foods, refined carbs, and added sugars is important. It’s also important to consume plenty of nutrient-dense whole foods, such as leafy greens, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Eating plenty of soluble fiber can help to reduce inflammation, as well as regulate your blood sugar.
Intermittent fasting (IF) is a popular dietary protocol for many people, but it’s not always beneficial for PCOS. While there is some evidence that suggests IF can reduce insulin resistance and improve fertility, it’s not recommended for long-term symptom relief. If you have PCOS, it’s important to consume multiple small meals throughout the day, and to focus on a nutrient-dense PCOS diet. Eating a balanced diet, avoiding processed foods and artificial sweeteners, and including plenty of fiber can help to reduce PCOS symptoms. Time-restricted feeding (TRF) is a form of IF, which may have some benefits, such as improved metabolic health markers. However, further research is needed to determine the long-term effects of IF on PCOS.
Does intermittent fasting have beneficial effects on PCOS?
Early research has indicated that intermittent fasting in women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) may be associated with improved cognitive function and focus, increased cellular growth, and decreased cholesterol levels.
What is the most effective intermittent fasting period for those with PCOS?
I often recommend that my patients begin their journey into intermittent fasting gradually. Start off with a shorter fasting window, like 16 hours of fasting each day, or a 24 hour fast every other day. Over time, you can work your way up to longer periods of fasting if you’d like. There is considerable research to back up the benefits of intermittent fasting and many studies to support it.
Is it possible to shed pounds by fasting while having PCOS?
Considering Intermittent Fasting in PCOS could potentially lead to a decrease in overall energy intake, which could result in weight loss for those who are overweight. This could be beneficial in terms of improving insulin resistance, aiding fertility, and managing symptoms in women with PCOS.
Which diet is most effective for managing PCOS?
Many individuals who are affected by PCOS can often improve their condition by altering their dietary habits. This often includes increasing their intake of high-fiber items and lean proteins, while also reducing their consumption of sugary foods and refined carbohydrates.
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