Popular Intermittent Fasting Diet Associated with Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Death, Study Finds

by Ella

New research suggests that individuals adhering to an intermittent fasting diet may face a heightened risk of cardiovascular mortality, according to findings presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Scientific Sessions 2024 in Chicago.

The study, conducted by researchers led by Dr. Victor Wenze Zhong, a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine in Shanghai, China, revealed a concerning trend among participants following a time-restricted eating schedule. Specifically, individuals who consumed all their daily meals within an 8-hour window faced a staggering 91% increase in the likelihood of dying from cardiovascular disease compared to those adhering to a typical eating schedule.


Despite previous studies indicating potential benefits of intermittent fasting, such as improved blood pressure, blood glucose, and cholesterol levels, the latest findings shed light on unforeseen health risks associated with certain fasting methods.


Intermittent fasting involves cycling between periods of fasting and eating, with popular methods including the 16/8 method – involving a daily fasting period of 16 hours and an 8-hour eating window – and the 5:2 method, which entails eating normally for five days a week and restricting calorie intake to 500-600 calories for two non-consecutive days.


Dr. Zhong emphasized the need for caution and personalized dietary recommendations in light of the study’s findings. He stated, “Our 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.”


The research, which analyzed data from over 20,000 adults across the U.S. over a median period of eight years, revealed alarming statistics. Participants following the 16/8 diet were found to have a significantly elevated risk of cardiovascular death, particularly among individuals with pre-existing cardiovascular conditions.

Furthermore, the study highlighted a 66% increased risk of death from heart disease or stroke among individuals consuming meals within an 8 to 10-hour window daily. Surprisingly, time-restricted eating did not demonstrate a reduction in overall mortality risk.

While the study’s findings raise concerns about the potential health implications of intermittent fasting, some experts caution against drawing definitive conclusions based on limited data. Dr. Duane Mellor, a registered dietitian and senior lecturer at Aston Medical School, Aston University, emphasized the need for further research and consideration of lifestyle factors beyond dietary habits.

Dr. Baptiste Leurent, an associate professor in medical statistics at UCL, echoed similar sentiments, emphasizing the importance of comprehensive data analysis and careful interpretation of findings.

In conclusion, the study underscores the importance of informed dietary choices and personalized health recommendations. As researchers continue to explore the complex relationship between diet and cardiovascular health, individuals are urged to seek guidance from healthcare professionals and prioritize balanced nutrition for optimal well-being.



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