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Shocking! Research says intermittent fasting for weight loss ups heart disease risk by 91%

The research, published by the American Heart Association, found that restricting mealtimes to just eight hours a day was associated with a 91% increase in the risk of death from heart disease.

Shocking Research says intermittent fasting for weight loss ups heart disease risk by 91 per cent
First Published Mar 19, 2024, 4:05 PM IST

Surprising findings have emerged from a medical conference in Chicago United States, which brought into question the safety of intermittent fasting, a popular weight-loss strategy restricting food intake to specific times. A study, released on Monday and published in abstract form by the American Heart Association (AHA), raised concerns by linking time-restricted eating, limiting meals to an eight-hour window, to a staggering 91% increase in the risk of death from heart disease.

The research, conducted by Victor Zhong and colleagues from the Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, analyzed data from approximately 20,000 adults included in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The study, which looked at questionnaire responses and death data from 2003 through 2019, aimed to investigate the long-term effects of intermittent fasting on health outcomes.

While the study's abstract published by the AHA provided limited details about the research protocol, scientists expressed concerns about potential inaccuracies in data collection, as participants were required to recall their dietary habits over two days. Despite efforts to control for variables such as age, gender, body mass index (BMI), and medical history, some experts questioned the study's findings, suggesting that underlying differences between fasting and non-fasting groups may have influenced the results.

Keith Frayn, emeritus professor of human metabolism at the University of Oxford, emphasized the importance of conducting long-term studies to fully understand the effects of intermittent fasting. He noted that while the study raises important questions, it also leaves many unanswered, underscoring the need for further research in this area.

Responding to criticisms, Zhong clarified that the fasting group consisted mainly of younger men with higher BMIs and lower rates of certain health conditions compared to the non-fasting group. Despite adjusting for these factors in their analysis, the association between eight-hour time-restricted eating and cardiovascular mortality persisted.

As the debate over intermittent fasting continues, experts emphasize the importance of considering individual health factors and consulting healthcare professionals before adopting any weight loss strategy.

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