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Is Intermittent Fasting Safe for Elderly?

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Taking care of your body and health is essential at every age, especially as you start aging. The elderly can benefit significantly from monitoring their diet and making good health decisions. A senior living community that focuses on wellness can help your overall health. 

Dieting and fasting can be complicated subjects, so intermittent fasting for the elderly must be explored. Let’s look at the intermittent fasting process and whether it’s safe for the elderly. 

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting is an eating program that cycles between periods of fasting and eating throughout the day. It’s not quite a diet and is referred to more as an eating pattern. 

There are various popular methods of intermittent fasting that include: 

  • The 16/8 method—involves skipping breakfast and restricting your eating period to 8-hour increments, fasting for 16 hours in between.
  • Eat-stop-eat—involves fasting for 24 hours once or twice a week.
  • The 5:2 diet—involves consuming only 500 to 600 calories on 2 non-consecutive days of the week and eating normally the rest of the week.

It depends on your unique dietary needs and what method works best for you. You should consult with your health professional before committing to any form of fasting.

Intermittent Fasting & Weight Loss

Weight loss is a popular reason for people trying intermittent fasting, and studies have shown that it can be an effective weight loss tool. By eating fewer calories, your body can lose weight more effectively as you remain in a caloric deficit.

It’s crucial to monitor your eating habits when participating in an intermittent fasting program to avoid binge eating and eating too many calories per meal. 

Intermittent fasting can allow you to create a more polished meal plan for yourself and make it easier to maintain specific dietary restrictions without fully committing to a diet. 

Intermittent Fasting for the Elderly

Now that you know what the intermittent fasting process is, you may be wondering if it’s safe for the elderly to commit to intermittent fasting in their daily lives. 

The answer is, yes, it’s safe, but it depends on various factors. The first step before committing to intermittent fasting, you must consult your medical professional and your senior living community team to ensure your body is compatible with intermittent fasting.

Some health benefits of intermittent fasting include: 

  • Weight loss
  • Heart health
  • Brain-health
  • A sustainable lifestyle change

Intermittent fasting can help healthy, active older adults lose some stubborn weight they have been looking to get rid of. Controlling what goes into your body and prioritizing healthy foods can promote gut health and benefit your overall health. 

Intermittent fasting is about more than just weight loss and can serve as a cleanse for your whole system.

An elderly couple in the background eating a salad with olives, tomatoes and bread on the table.

Being Cautious

While intermittent fasting has shown proven weight loss results, it may not be for everyone and depends on your unique health needs. 

Fasting can go against some people’s dietary intuition. As you age, you can fall into a specific eating pattern, and your body needs a certain amount of energy in the form of food to sustain itself. 

Consulting with your medical team in your dedicated community can help ensure you’re not putting yourself at risk before giving intermittent fasting a try. 

Your community can provide you with various services to help preserve your overall health, such as:

  • Personal care for activities and daily life
  • Medication management
  • An available nurse practitioner
  • A registered dietician 
  • Local healthcare and therapy providers

Intermittent fasting can be a great option, and with the proper guidance, it’s accessible for the elderly as well. 

A Healthy Lifestyle

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is about consistency and the community you surround yourself with. The support your dedicated community can provide is essential when considering intermittent fasting, and exploring its effects on your body is crucial.

Get in contact with a professional team to explore how your community can help you explore intermittent fasting.

Sue Hall

Written by Sue Hall

Sue has been in healthcare for over 30 years as a nurse, consultant, and administrator. Through the years, she has always felt her calling was with seniors, and she feels at home at The Villages of Murfreesboro. Sue serves on the board of the Tennessee State Veterans’ Homes.

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