Intermittent fasting identified as a major health concern; Here's what a new study reveals

Although the practice of intermittent fasting has gained popularity, a recent study found that it raises the risk of cardiovascular death by 91%.

Published on Mar 21, 2024  |  02:45 PM IST |  26.4K
Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
Key Highlight
  • A study found that intermittent fasting increases the risk of death linked to heart damage by 91%
  • Intermittent fasting is a trendy method for weight-loss and targeting inflammation

According to the American Heart Association, intermittent fasting—a popular practice for reducing inflammation and losing weight—has been identified as a significant health concern.

Study reveals Intermittent fasting as a major health concern

According to a study whose findings were presented this week at the American Heart Association's conference in Chicago, adults who adhere to an eight-hour time-restricted eating schedule had a 91% higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease than people who eat between 12 and 16 hours a day on average.

Senior study author Victor Wenze Zhong, chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine in Shanghai, China, stressed the importance of acknowledging that these are preliminary data.

"Although the study identified an association between an eight-hour eating window and cardiovascular death, this does not mean that time-restricted eating caused cardiovascular death."

How the study was conducted

Zhong and his colleagues conducted an independent study that used data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for its National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to examine almost 20,000 adult Americans from 2003 to 2018. According to the association, dietary habits were monitored in individuals, who were on average 49 years old, and who recorded their food consumption for a minimum of two days throughout a year.

The CDC's mortality statistics for the same time were then contrasted with that data. Among the participants, women made up about half of the group. The participants self-identified as non-Hispanic White adults over 73%, Hispanic adults in 11%, and non-Hispanic Black adults in 8%. Sixty-nine percent of the participants self-identified as a different racial category.

The American Heart Association released the following details about the findings:

  • Individuals who typically ate fewer than eight hours of food each day were 91% more likely to die from cardiovascular disease.
  • Individuals with cancer or heart disease also showed an increased risk of cardiovascular death.
  • For those with pre-existing cardiovascular disorders, eating eight to ten hours a day was linked to a 66% increased risk of dying from heart disease or stroke.
  • The chance of dying from any reason overall was not reduced by intermittent fasting.
  • Eating for at least 16 hours a day reduced the chance of cancer death in those who were undergoing treatment for the disease.

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