Study Finds Association Between Intermittent Fasting and Increased Risk of Heart Disease-Related Mortality


A surprising discovery presented at a medical conference casts doubt on the safety of intermittent fasting, a widely adopted method for weight loss that restricts food consumption to specific time periods.

The study, released in Chicago on Monday, revealed that restricting meal times to an eight-hour window per day was associated with a 91% rise in the risk of death from heart disease. The American Heart Association released only an abstract, leading to speculation among scientists about the study’s detailed protocol. According to the AHA, the study underwent peer review by other experts before its publication.

As new drugs assist people in losing weight, lifestyle interventions focusing on weight loss are being reevaluated. Some physicians have raised doubts about the study’s results, suggesting that differences, such as the participants’ underlying heart health, between the fasting group and the comparison group—whose members consumed food within a daily window of 12 to 16 hours—might have influenced the findings.

“Time-restricted eating is a popular method for cutting calorie consumption,” commented Keith Frayn, emeritus professor of human metabolism at the University of Oxford, in a statement to the UK Science Media Center. “This study highlights the necessity for long-term research on the impacts of this approach. However, the provided abstract raises several unanswered questions.” Led by Victor Zhong from the Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, the researchers examined data from approximately 20,000 adults who were part of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.