When it comes to dieting, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. This also applies to intermittent fasting.
Generally speaking, women should take a more relaxed approach to fasting than men.
This may include shorter fasting periods, fewer fasting days and/or consuming a small number of calories on the fasting days.
Here are some of the best types of intermittent fasting for women:
Crescendo Method: Fasting 12–16 hours for two to three days a week. Fasting days should be nonconsecutive and spaced evenly across the week (for example, Monday, Wednesday and Friday).
Eat-stop-eat (also called the 24-hour protocol): A 24-hour full fast once or twice a week (maximum of two times a week for women). Start with 14–16 hour fasts and gradually build up.
The 5:2 Diet (also called “The Fast Diet”): Restrict calories to 25% of your usual intake (about 500 calories) for two days a week and eat “normally” the other five days. Allow one day between fasting days.
Modified Alternate-Day Fasting: Fasting every other day but eating “normally” on non-fasting days. You are allowed to consume 20–25% of your usual calorie intake (about 500 calories) on a fasting day.
The 16/8 Method (also called the “Leangains method”): Fasting for 16 hours a day and eating all calories within an eight-hour window. Women are advised to start with 14-hour fasts and eventually build up to 16 hours.
Whichever you choose, it is still important to eat well during the non-fasting periods. If you eat a large amount of unhealthy, calorie-dense foods during the non-fasting periods, you may not experience the same weight loss and health benefits.
At the end of the day, the best approach is one that you can tolerate and sustain in the long-term, and which does not result in any negative health consequences.