Benefits of Fasting for Women’s Well-being

14/02/2024
Shaun Waso
Easy Weight Loss | Fasting | Motivation | Obesity

Background 

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a condition that affects the overall well-being of women, involving various symptoms like mood changes, physical discomfort, and behavioural shifts. Some studies indicate that an increase in body weight may negatively impact both the quality of life and menstrual health. This is because excess body fat can influence hormonal balance, particularly the ratio of oestrogen to progesterone. 

Our research aimed to explore how two specific diets, alternate-day modified fasting (ADMF) and daily calorie restriction (DCR), might affect PMS and overall well-being.

Methods

We conducted an 8-week study involving 60 women who were either overweight or obese. Participants were randomly selected from the Health Service Centers of Kashan University of Medical Sciences. We categorised them based on their body mass index (BMI) and age, then assigned them to either the ADMF or DCR group using a random numbers table. We measured various factors such as HRQoL, PMS severity, weight, BMI, body composition, and waist circumference before and after the study, with an 18% dropout rate.

Results

Our study discovered that taking breaks from eating through an alternate day modified fasting (ADMF) diet for 8 weeks can make a big difference in how you feel during your period and overall. You know those frustrating mood swings and bursts of anger you sometimes experience? They might be due to hormones like progesterone and oestrogen, which can mess with chemicals in your brain that control mood. Even though hormone levels don’t seem to change much between women with and without PMS, some of us might just be more sensitive to those hormonal shifts. 

Interestingly, obesity can also throw those hormones out of whack, affecting your mood and making PMS symptoms worse. But here’s the good news: in our study, we found that following the ADMF diet not only helped people lose weight but also improved their mood swings and anger outbursts. Compared to traditional diets, where you have to watch what you eat every single day, ADMF lets you take a break from calorie counting every other day, making it easier to stick to. Plus, fasting seems to help your body burn fat while keeping muscle mass, leading to more weight loss. 

We also discovered that people on the fasting diet reported feeling better both physically and mentally, which reflected in their scores on quality of life questionnaires. This means that by giving your body a break from food every other day, you might not only shed those extra pounds but also feel happier and healthier overall.

Of course, our study had its limitations, like relying on self-reported information and only looking at short-term effects. But it’s a promising start, suggesting that fasting could be a helpful tool in managing PMS symptoms and improving quality of life for many women. More research is needed to confirm these findings, but for now, it’s something worth considering if you’re looking for ways to feel better during that time of the month.

Credit: Study summary compiled with the assistance of ChatGPT

Link to the study:

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2023.1298831/full

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