Friday, May 24 2024

American Heart Association: Intermittent fasting may be linked to 91% higher risk of cardiovascular death

intermittent fasting

Recent research, presented at an American Heart Association meeting in Chicago, suggests that intermittent fasting, the diet that has recently become popular, may have short-term benefits, but long-term adverse effects with a 91% higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

HDN Newsroom

One study of more than 20,000 adults in the U.S. found that those who followed a type of intermittent fasting, where they ate eight hours a day, had a 91% higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease compared to those who ate 12-16 hours a day.

In the preliminary study presented at an American Heart Association meeting in Chicago, researchers reviewed information about dietary patterns for participants in the 2003-2018 annual U.S. national health and nutrition surveys and compared it with data on people who died in the U.S. from 2003 to 2019.  from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Death Rate database.

They found that time-restricted diet did not reduce the overall risk of death from any cause. In contrast, those who followed intermittent fasting by eating eight hours a day had a 91 percent increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

They found that the increased risk of cardiovascular death was also seen in people living with heart disease or cancer. Also, among people with existing cardiovascular disease, eating less than ten hours a day was associated with a 66% higher risk of death from heart disease or stroke.

In contrast, eating more than 16 hours per day was associated with a lower risk of cancer mortality among people with cancer.

"Limiting daily eating time to a short period of time, such as eight hours a day, has gained popularity in recent years as a way to lose weight and improve heart health," said lead author Victor Wenze Zhong, professor and chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine in Shanghai, China. "Although this type of diet was popular because of its potential short-term benefits, our research clearly shows that, compared to a typical eating time range of 12-16 hours per day, shorter feeding duration was not associated with longer lifespan," he adds.

Limitations of the study included its reliance on self-reported nutritional information, which may be influenced by participants' memory and may not accurately assess typical eating habits. Factors that may also play a role in health, other than daily duration of eating and cause of death, were not included in the analysis.

"Overall, this study suggests that time-restricted food consumption may have short-term benefits, but long-term adverse effects. When the study is presented in its entirety, it will be interesting and useful to learn more details of the analysis, such as the nutritional quality of the diets of different subgroups of participants," said Christopher Gardner, professor of medicine at Stanford University in California and chair of the American Heart Association's 2023 scientific statement on dietary guidelines.

Gardner said it would be critical to see if a comparison of participants' demographics and other characteristics and traditional cardiometabolic risk factors, such as weight and stress, was included.