More research into fasting has shown there is a significant difference to the health of fasting females who have refrained from eating during a six-hour window when compared to males.
An Australian team from the University of Sydney wanted to see how fasting impacts the overall health of mice, as it might reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes – a condition commonly associated with obesity.
It is thought that fasting, a period of abstinence from food or drink or both, forces the body to use stored energy from fat and stored sugar, which can help with weight loss and may also aid blood glucose and cholesterol levels.
The team split the animals into male and female groups and fasted them for six hours at night (the time when mice are more active). This process was carried out for four weeks.
The University of Sydney’s Ph.D. candidate Therese Freire said: “The key difference between the sexes were found in the liver with fat storage and usage in the liver differing in males and females.”
The findings suggest that fasting benefits women more than men, specifically when it comes to liver health. The liver is an integral part of the body and a healthy liver reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, kidney disease and high blood pressure.
The next stage will be to apply the same study to human beings to check whether the same patterns occur.
Senior author of the study Samantha Solon-Biet said: “By highlighting the different responses to fasting in male and female mice, we are showing the importance of including both sexes in preclinical studies.”
The study has been published in the Journal of Physiology.