Intermittent Fasting for Older People – Science, Risks, Safety, and Food Suggestions

Intermittent Fasting for Older People – Science, Risks, Safety, and Food Suggestions

Intermittent fasting is an effective eating strategy for older people to lose weight. It limits your calorie intake by stretching out the duration between your meal times.

Following the protocols of Intermittent fasting for older people can be tricky at times. However, if done correctly, it is an ideal approach to stay healthy because it helps you lose weight and reduces the risk of several diseases.

There are plenty of reasons that make IF so useful. Say, low metabolism, weak joints, reduced muscle mass, and sleep issues are the most common conditions that older people face. The good news is that intermittent fasting can dramatically cure these conditions by improving overall functioning of your body.

However, more research is required to know its true effects on human health.

Does science approve intermittent fasting for older people?

Scientists have been studying the effects of IF for many years. However, the latest advancements in technology have helped them discover more about it than anything done in the past.

Previously, it was thought that intermittent fasting only worked for weight loss. But the recent studies have shown it to be extremely useful for overall functioning of the body. For example, it improves insulin resistance which directly reduces your risk of diabetes. Intermittent fasting also improves your ability to fight cancer, and has anti-ageing effects to increase your lifespan.

The problem with these studies is that most of them were done on lab animals, and have very small evidence of human trials.

However, in a study that did involve a year-long human trial, the results didn’t meet the expectations. While it showed IF to be an effective weight management program, its observed benefits were no more than a typical diet plan for weight loss. Besides, 13 out of 34 participants left the study due to extreme difficulty in sticking to the plan.

Given all this, it’s safe to say that more research is required on IF. However, one thing we can be certain about is that it is a useful approach to lose fat for overweight.

Is intermittent fasting safe?

Intermittent fasting has more to do with your health than your age. Whether you are in 20s or 50s, if you are healthy and well nourished, then intermittent fasting is safe for you. However, if you are on medication or have a serious illness, then check with your doctor before starting out.

Remember that IF only requires you to go 8-16 hours without food for just a few times a week, and not for several consecutive days. Plus, you get to choose the fasting days and eating days, which makes sticking to the schedule all the more simple. Also, even on the fasting days, you have the freedom to take calorie free drinks such as water, herbal tea, coffee, etc. so it’s not complete starvation.

Some experts term it as the modified version of fasting because of the flexibility it allows. The reason this strategy is so popular is that it burns more fat than you consume on daily basis. Moreover, you don’t have to drop certain foods – just limit your calorie intake and you’re good to go.

What are the risks of intermittent fasting for older people?

If you have diabetes or heart problems, then intermittent fasting may not be safe for you. You can still consult with your doctor to be completely sure about doing it.

Even if your doctor declares it safe, you’ll need to gradually increase your fasting period to avoid health risks. As mentioned earlier, a lot of research needs to be done on IF, and nothing can be said for sure about how it affects human health.

However, one thing we do know is that if you are already in good shape, then doing intermittent fasting may be counterproductive. Similarly, if you take medications with food to function properly, then IF is not for you.

Another group of people that should avoid IF is blood pressure patients. These people need food at short intervals to stay healthy. However, IF requires you to go long periods without eating, which causes an imbalance in your sodium and potassium levels. This may worsen your condition or lead to other severe illnesses.

Does intermittent fasting always work?

Yes, intermittent fasting for older people always works if done properly. The reason it’s so effective is that it’s easy to follow and limits your calorie intake naturally by allowing you to make better food choices.

Some studies suggest that IF is better than your typical weight loss plans that only focus on cutting calories or carbs. With intermittent fasting, you not only lose weight but also maintain lean muscle mass. Now, this is something no other weight management program offers. 

Of course, it’s up to you to decide how many calories you want to take during the eating window. But for your IF plan to work, your calorie consumption should always be lower than your calorie intake. Otherwise, even fasting for 16 hours won’t help you achieve your weight loss goals.

The best way to lower calorie intake is to reduce your number of meals and snacks. For example, if you normally take three meals and two snacks, then bring it down to two meals and one snack, and take them ONLY during the eating window. Also, make smart food choices and avoid foods that contain high amounts of carbs, fats, and calories.

Top food suggestions to fast intermittently

These are the top food suggestions to fast intermittently:

Protein rich foods: Eggs, seafood, soy, seeds and nuts, poultry, fish, etc.

High fiber foods: Quinoa, oats, potatoes, berries, avocado, apple, mango, bananas, etc.

Foods with healthy fats: Whole eggs, cheese, chia seeds, nuts, fatty fish, dark chocolate, etc.

Foods/drinks for hydration: Water, tea, coffee, peaches, watermelon, strawberries, etc.

Final Words

So this was some necessary information about intermittent fasting for older people. The bottom line is that IF is a quick and healthy approach to lose weight. Besides, it has almost zero side effects on healthy individuals, due to which people of all ages across the world are using it to get back into shape.

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