Intermittent fasting flagged as serious health risk!

Fasting health risk. Credits | iStock
Fasting health risk. Credits | iStock

United States: The American Heart Association has recently flagged intermittent fasting as a serious health risk. It is to be noted that nowadays, almost every person is engaged in intermittent fasting as it is a trendy method for weight loss.

Findings disclosed at the convention in Chicago this week unveiled that individuals adhering to an eight-hour period of restricted eating face a 91 percent escalated likelihood of succumbing to cardiovascular ailments compared to those who consume within the customary timeframe of 12-16 hours daily, as per USA Today.

Senior researcher Victor Wenze Zhong, heading the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, underlined the provisional nature of these results.

“While the study links an eight-hour eating span to cardiovascular mortality, causality should not be presumed,” Zhong emphasized during the event.

Is intermittent fasting beneficial? It may have its merits, but it’s no panacea.

Methodology and Additional Findings

A self-directed inquiry led by Zhong and his team analyzed around 20,000 American adults spanning from 2003 to 2018, utilizing data sourced from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The investigation monitored dietary habits among individuals averaging 49 years of age, who documented their nutritional intake for a minimum of two days annually.

This data was subsequently cross-referenced with mortality statistics from the CDC during the same timeframe.

Approximately half of the subjects identified as female, with over 73% identifying as non-Hispanic Caucasians, 11% as Hispanic, and 8% as non-Hispanic African Americans. An additional 6.9% identified with another racial category.

Key findings, published by the American Heart Association, include:

– Individuals consuming food for less than eight hours per day faced a 91% elevated risk of cardiovascular death.

– Elevated cardiovascular mortality risk was also observed among individuals with pre-existing heart conditions or cancer.

– Consuming food within an eight to ten-hour window correlated with a 66% escalated risk of heart disease or stroke-related mortality for those with established cardiovascular ailments.

– Intermittent fasting failed to reduce the overall mortality risk.

– For cancer patients, a daily eating period exceeding 16 hours diminished the risk of cancer-related mortality.

This study did not account for all factors influencing overall health. Future investigations aim to “explore the biological mechanisms underpinning the associations between time-restricted eating and adverse cardiovascular outcomes,” as per the American Heart Association. Additionally, further insights are required to determine whether these findings are consistent across global demographics, USA Today reported.

There is existing research suggesting that intermittent fasting could ameliorate “cardiometabolic health metrics such as hypertension, blood glucose, and lipid levels,” according to the American Heart Association.

Fasting health risk. Credits | iStock
Fasting health risk. Credits | iStock

Zhong expressed surprise at the outcomes, stating, “Our research unequivocally demonstrates that, in comparison to the conventional eating window of 12-16 hours per day, a shorter duration does not correlate with increased longevity.”

However, the most significant aspect of this revelation lies in the heightened risk posed to individuals already grappling with heart conditions or cancer.

These findings advocate for a nuanced, individualized approach to dietary advisories, ensuring alignment with personal health circumstances and the latest scientific insights,” remarked Christopher Gardner, head of nutrition studies at Stanford University.

Gardner stressed the importance of evaluating the nutritional quality of diets, asserting that without this information, alternative explanations for the findings, beyond eating duration, cannot be discounted, as per USA Today.

As always, individuals should seek medical counsel before contemplating lifestyle alterations.

As per the American Heart Association, both news releases and research synopses are preliminary until formally published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.