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If you’ve read up at all on intermittent fasting, you probably know there are tons of proven benefits — improved blood sugar, blood pressure, and heart health; reduced “dead and bad” cells in the body (a process called autophagy), which leads to everything from better skin to slowed aging; fighting depression; increased metabolism, weight loss, and human growth hormone production…
So, of course it’s all the rage right now with younger people.
Not only do they want to lose weight and prevent disease, but also gain muscle and make exercise a breeze, which is what the human growth hormone does! And fasting also produces a state of “good stress” that, in response to an insulin drop, pushes our cells to go hunting for other energy sources…LIKE, the stored fat deposits we want to get rid of! Fasting also gets rid of free radicals and speeds up cell repair!
It sounds like, true to its name, fasting is all about speeding things up, including weight loss. And the “youngins” are all about finding the fastest shortcuts? But a lot of you have asked me…is this quick, trendy way of dieting DANGEROUS? Fasting does cause your body to undergo certain changes…are any of these changes potentially scary for the older crowd?
Is intermittent fasting safe for people over, say, forty or fifty? Especially women??
The answer is yes!!
But, how do we know that fasting isn’t too stressful on older women? Well, for one thing, tons of studies. These studies show that if you can keep your insulin levels low through fasting or other techniques (like not eating sweets…way harder than fasting!!)…you actually AGE SLOWER.
There are lots of studies showing that:
Fasting DECREASES you levels of a hormone called IGF-1. This hormone partly causes aging, and even in causing autoimmune issues like cancer!
So, I understand why you’d be wondering whether going without eating for 12, 14, 16+ hours would be dangerous for an older person, but the truth is, it makes even more sense for the older and wiser of us to try intermittent fasting!! Unfortunately, we’re the ones who have to start worrying about cancer, heart disease, diabetes, lowered metabolism, obesity…aging and the toxic oxidative stress that causes aging…but, fasting greatly reduces all of these issues.
Is there ANY way that fasting could be dangerous for an older person?
The same way you wouldn’t suddenly start forcing yourself to run 5 miles every day without being at that fitness level, you also probably shouldn’t jump into a 24+ hour fast. Your body needs time to adapt to a lifestyle change…of course that doesn’t mean that 5 mile runs, or fasting, are unhealthy things. It just means that you have to start off slow and gradually work your way up.
You also need to be super educated on how to maintain a proper diet when you are eating, with lots of filling, amino-acid-packed healthy fats to fuel your body! If you’re doing that right, you shouldn’t be hungry during your fast!
As always, I recommend getting the all-clear from your doctor before starting to intermittently fast. If you have certain health conditions like super high cholesterol, for example, be aware that fasting can temporarily raise cholesterol levels, before lowering your cholesterol!
Conventional “wisdom” teaches us that you need to eat 3 meals a day, spaced out a certain way…but for the several, several reasons described above, fasting is a pretty darn good idea for anyone worried about the not-so-good things that come with age…Instead, we should be following a healthy diet plan so we can focus on all the GOOD things that come with age…like, unconventional wisdom! 😉