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Intermittent Fasting Increases the Risk of Cardiovascular Death

Updated: Apr 27

Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent Fasting

in collaboration with Amelia Rinnauk (Nutritionist)

According to the results of a study unveiled by the American Heart Association (AHA), 16:8 intermittent fasting, which limits the "eating window" to just 8 hours, is associated with a higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease. Nutritionist Rinnauk explains.


Popularised by many stars, including Jennifer Aniston and Kourtney Kardashian, intermittent fasting is a diet that consists of eating a balanced diet over a fixed period of time and fasting the rest of the time. In the case of 16:8 intermittent fasting, this means eating from midday to 8pm, before fasting until midday the following day.


A 91% Increase in the Risk of Death From Cardiovascular Disease!


This practice has been studied by scientists at the American Heart Association. During a scientific session at the "Epidemiology and Prevention: Lifestyle and Cardiometablolic Health", an AHA congress being held until 21 March in Chicago, preliminary work was presented on the effects of fasting (results not yet published in a scientific journal).


The study was based on data provided by over 20,000 volunteers via the annual National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) carried out between 2003 and 2018 in the United States. This information was cross-referenced with data on people who died in the country over virtually the same period, from 2003 to December 2019. Results: 16:8 intermittent fasters have a 91% higher risk of cardiovascular death!


The Same Findings Apply to Cardiovascular Patients


The scientists went a step further and targeted the data at participants with heart disease. For these people, observing this type of fast was also associated with "a 66% higher risk of death from heart diseas or stroke", say the scientists.


Dr Victor Wenze Zhong, lead author of the study, explained in a press release: "We were surprised to find that people who had an 8-hour eating window were more likely to die of cardiovascular diseaseAlthough this type of diet is popular because of its potential short-term benefits, our research clearly shows that, compared with a typical meal duration of 12 to 16 hours per day, a shorter meal duration is not associated with a longer life".


Arnaud Cocaul: “Intermittent Fasting Should Be a Supervised Practice”.


While the authors point out that their findings do not describe a causal link between the practice of intermittent fasting and cardiovascular pathologies, the results do raise questions. According to Dr Arnaud Cocaul, who spoke to Doctissimo, "another study, published in 2019 in The New England Journal of Medicine, showed that intermittent fasting was beneficial in terms of cardiovascular disease for those who underwent it".


However, warns the specialist, "intermittent fasting must be supervised. It's important to understand that you need to eat three balanced meals within an eight-hour period, and to know how to go about it". For the doctor, it is therefore "preferable to consult a doctor before starting intermittent fasting, especially if you have a chronic condition such as heart disease".

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Apr 24

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