Intermittent fasting: Your heart, your health, your waistline

Written by on March 20, 2024

(CNN) — Intermittent fasting is one of the many trendy ways people try to lose or maintain their weight.

Also known as time-restricted eating, the practice is a method of weight loss that confines a person’s eating window to set times — typically eight hours during a 24-hour period — with only clear liquids consumed during the remaining 16 hours. Other methods include two or three days of fasting during a week or month.

How well does intermittent fasting work?

Prior research has shown advantages to time restriction. A December 2019 review of human and animal studies had found benefits to restricting calories to a shortened period of the day, including improved longevity, a reduction in blood pressure and weight loss. (However, a number of those studies were in mice and those in humans were of much shorter duration, mere months.)

However, a yearlong study published in April 2022 that followed 139 Chinese adults ranging from overweight to significantly obese found no benefit over calorie counting for weight loss or improved cardiovascular health.

Concerning new findings

Research presented this week immediately drew doubt and critiques from experts by suggesting that eating within an eight-hour window or less was significantly associated with a 91% increased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, when compared with eating over a 12- to 16-hour period.

An abstract of the preliminary research, which is not yet peer reviewed or published, was presented Monday in Chicago at a conference of the American Heart Association.

Current track