Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Conrad, Amanda

Committee Member

Tolar-Peterson, Terezie

Committee Member

Mathews, Rahel

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access



Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion


The intermittent fasting diet has a historical past, but recently, it has regained popularity as a weight loss strategy for the general public. Athletes have also picked up this specialized diet in search of a competitive edge. There are ample studies testing athletes of all levels, but most do not include females or report sex-specific results. This systematic review aimed to identify current research on the effects of intermittent fasting in the understudied population of female athletes. Following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, a comprehensive search was conducted in three databases, including PubMed, Cochrane, and SPORTDiscus, and a total of six studies with experimental or observational designs testing the various effects of intermittent fasting on physical, physiological, and psychological parameters were included. This systematic review shows that studies found significant changes in calorie and fluid intake, body composition, nutrient utilization, well-being, and athletic performances with no changes in muscle strength, ratings of perceived exertion, blood lactate levels, and cognitive function. Multiple studies in this review found mixed results on changes in heart rate and athletic performance (vertical jump height), and no studies found negative effects on athletic performance except in the survey of athletes’ perceptions. Due to conflicting results of current research, more studies are needed to determine the effects of intermittent fasting combined with continuous exercise on athletic women.