8-Hour Time-Restricted Eating Associated with 91% Higher Risk of Cardiovascular Death

by Ella

New research presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention│Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Scientific Sessions 2024 has shed light on the potential risks of time-restricted eating. According to findings from an analysis involving over 20,000 U.S. adults, individuals who adhered to an 8-hour time-restricted eating schedule faced a significantly elevated risk of cardiovascular death compared to those with a longer eating window spanning 12-16 hours per day.

Time-restricted eating, a form of intermittent fasting, involves limiting the hours during which one consumes food within a specific time frame each day. Popularized in recent years as a method for weight loss and purported cardiovascular benefits, this dietary approach has garnered widespread attention. However, the long-term health implications of time-restricted eating remained uncertain until now.


The study, led by senior author Victor Wenze Zhong, Ph.D., from the Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, aimed to investigate the potential long-term effects of following an 8-hour time-restricted eating plan. Researchers analyzed data from the annual National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) spanning from 2003 to 2018, as well as mortality records from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Death Index database.


Key findings from the analysis include:


Individuals adhering to an eating window of less than 8 hours per day had a staggering 91% higher risk of death due to cardiovascular disease.
This increased risk of cardiovascular death was observed across individuals with heart disease or cancer.
Among participants with existing cardiovascular disease, an eating duration ranging from 8 to less than 10 hours per day was associated with a 66% higher risk of death from heart disease or stroke.
Contrary to expectations, time-restricted eating did not demonstrate an overall reduction in the risk of death from any cause.
Notably, an eating duration exceeding 16 hours per day was linked to a lower risk of cancer mortality among individuals with cancer.
Despite the popularity of time-restricted eating for its perceived short-term benefits, the study’s findings underscore the importance of a cautious and personalized approach to dietary recommendations, particularly for individuals with pre-existing heart conditions or cancer.


Christopher D. Gardner, Ph.D., FAHA, from Stanford University, emphasized the need for further research to elucidate the underlying mechanisms and validate these findings across diverse populations. He highlighted the importance of considering factors beyond eating duration, such as nutrient quality and demographic characteristics, to better understand the observed associations.

As discussions surrounding dietary patterns and their impact on cardiovascular health continue, it is essential to prioritize evidence-based approaches to support longer and healthier lives for all individuals.



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