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Intermittent fasting could be risky for your heart: Study

A new study found that an 8-hour time-restricted eating schedule is associated with a 91% higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease

The new study also showed that time-restricted eating did not reduce the overall risk of death from any cause
The new study also showed that time-restricted eating did not reduce the overall risk of death from any cause (Pexels)

Intermittent fasting has become a popular way to manage weight. However, a new study shows that an 8-hour time-restricted eating schedule, a type of intermittent fasting, is linked to a 91% higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

Time-restricted eating, a type of intermittent fasting, involves limiting the hours for eating to a specific number of hours each day, ranging from four to 12 hours. One of the popular variations is 16:8 fasting, wherein people eat across an 8-hour window every day. 

While previous studies have shown that time-restricted eating improves some cardiometabolic health measures, the new study sheds light on the long-term health impact of an 8-hour time-restricted eating plan.

Also read:  Why intermittent fasting may not be ideal for women

The new study collected data from over 20,000 adults who followed an 8-hour time-restricted eating schedule. The team’s analysis showed that people who limited their eating across less than 8 hours every day were more likely to die from cardiovascular disease compared to people who ate across 12-16 hours, a press statement explained.

The findings also showed that among people with existing cardiovascular disease, an eating duration of no less than 8 but less than 10 hours per day was linked to a 66% higher risk of death from heart disease or stroke. The study was presented at the American Heart Association’s Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Scientific Sessions 2024 in Chicago, United States.

Furthermore, the findings showed that time-restricted eating did not reduce the overall risk of death from any cause. Notably, eating for 16 hours every day was associated with a lower risk of cancer mortality among people with cancer.

The researchers noted that although the study identified an association between an 8-hour eating window and cardiovascular death, this does not mean that time-restricted eating caused cardiovascular death. It suggests that time-restricted eating could have short-term benefits but long-term adverse effects.

Often intermittent fasting is considered a one-solution for all. If it has worked for one person, it’s not necessary that it will lead to similar benefits for another. The researchers emphasize understanding how different eating plans work differently for people.

“Our study’s findings encourage a more cautious, personalized approach to dietary recommendations, ensuring that they are aligned with an individual’s health status and the latest scientific evidence,” senior study author Victor Wenze Zhong said in the statement.

Also read: Why intermittent fasting isn't the magic solution to get fit

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