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    Aging is a beautiful privilege that not everyone gets to have. 

    That doesn’t mean it always feels like a piece of cake, however. Sometimes, it’s something you’d rather not stomach at all. Other times, that cake — while welcome in some ways — just ushers in other unwanted guests.

    While there are a lot of benefits to getting older, your mind and body may naturally face changes and new challenges that threaten to rain on your parade. 

    That’s where intermittent fasting comes in: it may not be able to stop the rain altogether, but it might be just the umbrella you were looking for to soften its impact and protect you from those not-so-fun elements during the journey. 

    Embracing the golden years with a nutritious breakfast? Dive into our expert guide on intermittent fasting for seniors, your companion for weathering the ups and downs of getting older.

    Whether you’re considering intermittent fasting over 50, intermittent fasting over 60, or intermittent fasting over 70, let’s take a look at the what, the why, and the how of intermittent fasting for older adults and the best intermittent fasting schedules for seniors. 

    If we lost you at “intermittent fasting,” you might want to check out our guide on intermittent fasting for beginners before getting into the specifics of intermittent fasting for seniors!

    Key takeaways

    • Intermittent fasting can be suitable for any adult up to and including the age of 80, but whether it’s safe, sustainable, or beneficial for you and your body, mind, and soul is a question that should be discussed with your healthcare team. 
    • Research has shown that intermittent fasting may promote healthy aging by reducing risk factors for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and aging-related health conditions.[1] 
    • However, not getting all the fuel your body needs to thrive could also lead to malnutrition,[2] among other complications.
    • Choosing a fasting schedule that accommodates your needs and preferences, filling up on nutrient-dense foods, staying hydrated, and checking in with yourself regularly are important components of a safe and effective fast. 

    Is intermittent fasting OK for seniors? 

    In general, intermittent fasting is safe for people ages 18–80, but everyone is different. No matter what age you are (or feel!), “Is intermittent fasting safe?” always has to be answered on an individual basis. Plus, intermittent fasting for women over 60 may involve different considerations than, say, intermittent fasting for men over 50 or intermittent fasting for women over 70. 

    Likewise, while there have been some studies that investigate how fasting affects older adults,[3] many larger-scale studies focus on younger or middle-aged adults, so we need more specific studies on older age groups. 

    That said, research so far has shown that intermittent fasting for older adults can be not only safe but also beneficial.[3] More on that later. 

    The individual variability in fasting responses and results is why we always recommend consulting your primary care provider before making any significant changes to your eating habits or lifestyle — especially if you’re on medications or have existing health conditions (like type 1 diabetes, disordered eating, or anything that affects your thyroid).  

    If they’re on board but you’re not sure where to start, we can help! From the pros and cons of intermittent fasting plans to tips on how to get lasting results without compromising your well-being, we can offer personalized advice tailored to your unique goals and needs. Take our Simple quiz to get started. 

    Why intermittent fasting might affect younger and older adults differently

    Everyone experiences aging differently, and a number definitely isn’t indicative of a certain state of being. Just ask the 20-something with terrible back pain and the 70-something who plays bi-weekly competitive tennis. 

    So, why might intermittent fasting hit differently for older adults? 

    Two reasons: 

    1. nutrient needs
    2. hormone levels

    Much like a child needs extra nutrients to develop, older adults need extra nutrients [4] — like protein, calcium, vitamin D, and fiber — to continue to thrive. That means intermittent fasting for senior women, men, and non-binary folks might be more likely to lead to nutrient deficiencies if they aren’t extra attentive to getting everything they need during their eating windows. 

    On the hormone front, people over 50 will be producing less of certain hormones, like estrogen, progesterone, and androgens.[5] These hormones aren’t just attached to reproductive or sexual functions; they also play roles in things like bone development, muscle retention, metabolism, and mental sharpness.[6,7,8,9] 

    Some research suggests intermittent fasting may decrease the production of certain hormones, which means older adults who fast may end up with even less of these hormones.[10] It also suggests that intermittent fasting for women over 50 may have different results than intermittent fasting for men over 50 since a reduction in androgens could be beneficial for some women but detrimental to men. It’s worth noting that these are just some preliminary findings, and more research is required in the area (including around the effects of fasting on trans men and women and people on hormone replacement therapy). 

    For more insight into how potential fasting effects and considerations change as we get older, check out our intermittent fasting by age chart

    Benefits of intermittent fasting for seniors 

    With intermittent fasting, you can feast on breakfast delights while still supporting weight loss, improving heart health, and enhancing your cognitive functions. Talk about a win-win!

    It may not be able to turn back time in a literal sense, but intermittent fasting offers several potential benefits that can keep you fit and fight from your head to your toes as you age. 

    Reduce the risk of heart disease 

    Heart disease is the leading cause of death for people 65 and older.[11] Intermittent fasting can support heart health by improving cardiovascular risk markers (like lowering systolic blood pressure and cholesterol [12,13]).[14,15]

    Support weight loss and fat loss

    Quite a bit of research connects intermittent fasting to various physiological benefits that could individually or collectively lead to body weight loss and belly fat loss.[16,17,18]

    Reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes

    More than 25% of the US population of adults 65 and older have type 2 diabetes,[19] and older adults are more at risk for both acute and chronic complications of the disease. In addition to supporting weight loss, intermittent fasting can improve several other key risk factors for type 2 diabetes, including reducing insulin resistance and improving blood glucose control.[20,21]

    Reduce inflammation 

    Particularly for adults living with overweight or obesity, intermittent fasting has been shown to reduce inflammation and inflammatory diseases.[22] There’s also some evidence to suggest it may improve chronic pain from arthritis,[23] but alas, we need more research in this area, too. 

    Improve memory retention 

    Intermittent fasting may not give you the power to remember exactly where you put your keys (did you check the front door?), but it has also been shown to help with long-term memory retention and cognition.[24] 

    Elevate mood

    For some people, fasting may improve symptoms of stress and anxiety.[25] One study on healthy aging men found that intermittent fasting led to decreases in tension, anger, confusion, and total mood disturbance.[26]

    Risks of intermittent fasting for seniors 

    While fasting is safe for seniors in general, that doesn’t mean it comes without potential risks. Here’s a rundown of potential safety concerns. 

    Nutrient deficiency 

    The biggest challenge with managing intermittent fasting later in life is that you need to ensure you’re giving yourself the time and space to get all the extra nutrients you need each day. Otherwise, over time, deficiencies can lead to malnutrition, which could leave you more at risk for health conditions and even potentially increase your risk of early mortality.[27,28]


    When you’re eating less, you may be getting less water than usual since about 20% to 30% of our daily water intake comes from food.[29] Plus, older adults are more susceptible to dehydration to begin with.[30] If you don’t work extra hard to replenish that water supply, you can end up with everything from headaches and dizziness to cognitive impairments and a higher risk of illness.[31,32,33,34] 

    Low blood sugar 

    While decreasing blood sugar levels can generally improve metabolic health and weight management, low blood sugar can be dangerous for some people. Especially if you’re considering mixing intermittent fasting and diabetes, have concerns about fasting insulin levels, or have a condition that involves thyroid problems, you should consult your healthcare team.   

    Fatigue and low energy

    Although some research suggests intermittent fasting may help regulate your sleep cycle,[35] it may also decrease sleep quality or cause sleep disturbances.[36,37] Factor in the low blood sugar, and you might end up feeling groggy, foggy, or weak — at least until you adjust to your new eating routine. It’s also important to not ignore any usual and persisting changes in energy levels, so speak with your healthcare provider if something doesn’t feel right.

    Most of these intermittent fasting side effects can be managed by avoiding common intermittent fasting mistakes, but because fasting affects everyone differently — and it’s not right or safe for everyone — you always want to work with your healthcare team to come up with a plan. 

    Looking for ideas to discuss with them? Take our Simple quiz to tell us about who you are and what you’re trying to achieve, and we can make some suggestions that might work for you. 

    Best intermittent fasting schedules for seniors 

    Let’s get real here: no matter what fasting-based diets for seniors we recommend, the most important thing to consider is you and your body. There’s no such thing as a universal “best” fasting plan, even within specific confines (age, sex, BMI, fasting goals, etc.). 

    That’s one reason we always recommend speaking with your doctor rather than researching “intermittent fasting for seniors over 70” or “intermittent fasting after 50” and trying whatever plan comes up, Wheel of Fortune style. 

    That said, there are three plans we recommend the most as being both safe and effective — and all of them fall into the category of time-restricted eating (TRE). 

    TRE involves fasting for a certain number of hours (usually overnight) and then having the rest of the day to get all the nutrients you need. The most popular options are: 

    At first glance, going 12+ hours without food may sound like a long time, but when you factor in the time you’ll be sleeping (hopefully ~8 hours!), it’s really just having dinner an hour or two earlier and breakfast an hour or two later. There’s even time for a snack still.

    The fact that these TRE schedules are not only easier to manage but also involve less time when you won’t be eating as you normally would means they’re much easier to sustain and still allow you to meet your nutritional needs. 

    Not coincidentally, these intermittent fasting schedules are the ones we recommend most for anyone who has a medical green light to try fasting. There are TRE schedules that involve longer fasting windows — as well as some other types of more on / off fasting approaches — but as a general rule at Simple, we don’t recommend fasts that last 18+ hours.

    Simple’s tips on practicing intermittent fasting safely at a more mature age

    Age is just a number when you’re determined to stay fit and healthy! With our SIMPLE tips, you’ll able to incorporate intermittent fasting into your routine safely and crush those health and fitness goals.

    Now that you’ve got the what and the why, what about the how? 

    If your healthcare provider is on board with you trying a fasting-based eating routine, here’s how to set yourself up for a safe, successful experience. 

    1. Have clearly defined goals. Whether you’re fasting for a singular goal like weight loss or overall health improvement, it’s a heck of a lot easier to develop an action plan — and identify any signs of “intermittent fasting not working” bumps in the road — if you know where you’re trying to go in the first place. 
    2. Put yourself at the heart of the experience. Work with your healthcare team to figure out what intermittent fasting schedule(s) might align with your goals, needs, routine, and preferences. Factor in everything from your bedtime, exercise routine, and social commitments to what and when you need to take medication (especially if you’re on something that needs to be taken with food).  
    3. Start slowly. Set your speedometer to The Tortoise and the Hare rather than The Fast and the Furious. Ease into fasting with shorter fasting windows and fasting only one or two days per week before ramping up. 
    4. Pack in nutrients through health-promoting foods. Intermittent fasting doesn’t dictate what you eat, but prioritizing nutrient-dense foods like fruits, veggies, lean protein, whole grains, and healthy fats is like premium fuel — it provides extra support and leads to a smoother journey. Just make sure you’re building meals around foods you actually enjoy. Our guide on what to eat during intermittent fasting has lots of ideas. 
    5. Become hyper aware of your hydration. Get the cutest, most outrageous water bottle possible. Download one of those apps where a plant reminds you to water yourself. Jazz up your H2O with fruits, herbs, or spices. Whatever incentivizes you to stay hydrated, we’re all for it. You can also read our “what you can drink while fasting” guide for tips on what else you can drink during fasting periods.
    6. Build in strength training. If it’s safe for you to do, combining intermittent fasting with resistance training can lead to better muscle retention.[38] There’s also a fair bit of research that suggests power training and strength training may support muscle power and endurance in older adults.[39,40] If you have any conditions that impact your mobility, speak with your healthcare provider before making any changes to your physical activity levels. 
    7. Check in with yourself (and your doctor) regularly. Having regular “how’s this feeling” check-ins can help you stay on track with your goals and needs while also ensuring you catch any potential problems or safety issues early. 

    Simple’s expert opinion and final thoughts

    In general, intermittent fasting is safe for adults ages 18–80, and research is emerging to show that it may improve overall health and reduce some risks of aging-related conditions and illness.[41] 

    But that doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone, and some potential risks are involved, too. 

    At Simple, we all agree: the best intermittent fasting plan for seniors is whatever intermittent fasting plan is right for you — if any. While we generally don’t recommend anything more intense or restrictive than 16:8 intermittent fasting for seniors, our bottom line is that you should always involve your healthcare team in any discussions around changes to your eating habits or lifestyle.  

    If you’ve gotten medical approval to try fasting, we’re on deck to support you in brainstorming potential plans, getting started, and staying on track — all while keeping your health and well-being as the top priority. Introduce yourself through our Simple quiz, and we can take it from there. 

    Frequently asked questions about intermittent fasting for seniors

    Fasting at age 70 is generally safe as long as you’re still getting all the nutrients you need, but whether intermittent fasting is safe for a 70-year-old woman such as yourself is a question you should discuss with your healthcare provider.

    There’s no gold standard for how many hours a 60-year-old should fast — your body, needs, and goals call the shots here. Start with a shorter fast overnight (12 hours) and work up to 14 or 16 hours if that feels A-OK.

    It’s a “different strokes for different folks” kinda deal when it comes to how you can slim down after 60, but intermittent fasting can be an effective way to lose weight — plus, it may be easier to stick to than eating routines that simply restrict your caloric intake![42]

    There may not be a way to stop the clock altogether, but intermittent fasting has been shown to potentially slow aging-related conditions like cognitive decline and cardiometabolic risks.[41]

    Asking, “Does intermittent fasting get rid of wrinkles?” is a bit like asking, “Is there a product that channels the fountain of youth?” Not exactly, but there are some potential benefits. Fasting-style diets and caloric restriction have been linked to enhanced skin barrier protection and improving the appearance of wrinkles.[41]

    Some studies indicate positive effects on metabolism and age-related diseases,[43] so in theory, you may be able to live longer on intermittent fasting. However, more long-term research is needed to establish a direct link between intermittent fasting and increased longevity.

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