The 16:8 diet is becoming more and more popular, but there is a big danger: Do not start it until you consult a doctor

Photo: Selu Gallego / Alamy / Alamy / Profimedia

The occasional fast or the intentional limitation of the hours during which a person consumes his daily calories, has been used for several years to lose weight. However, the latest research has now shown that it can lead to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke, he writes The Daily Mail.

People who follow one of the most popular time-restricted eating strategies, intermittent fasting 16: 8, may have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and death than those who do not fast or use other fasting techniques, new research suggests. Intermittent fasting 16:8 means that a person fasts for 16 hours, while eating for the remaining eight hours of the day.

Intermittent fasting is very popular with celebrities, including British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Elon Musk and Jennifer Aniston, who say it helps them stay in shape, the Daily Mail reports.

Researchers observed a group of 20.000 adults who answered questions about their eating patterns for the annual National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2003 and 2018.

They found that participants who practiced 16:8 intermittent fasting were 91 percent more likely to die from cardiovascular disease than those who did not practice this type of fasting.

Also, those with existing cardiovascular disease who consumed all their calories within eight and 10 hours had a 66 percent higher risk of death from heart disease and stroke.

In addition to the fact that time-restricted eating did not reduce the risk of dying from any cause, researchers also noted that people with cancer who did not fast and who consumed their daily calories over a 16-hour period actually had a lower risk of dying from cancer of those who ate within a limited time frame.

– The study included a large sample, observing individuals for an average of eight years. However, the way the information was collected may have limited the study's findings and accuracy, given that eating patterns can change over time, said cardiologist Michelle Rutenstein, who was not involved in the study.

In addition, observational studies such as this cannot prove cause and effect. However, these are not the only limitations.

"These findings contradict many previous studies that have found benefits of time-restricted eating for cardiovascular and metabolic health," said cardiologist Cheng-Han Chen, who was not involved in the study.

He added that there may be differences in baseline characteristics in the time-restricted groups, which could explain these surprising findings. Differences in demographics and characteristics between these groups (especially between the group that ate less than eight hours and the others), as well as bias in participants' recall of their own eating habits, may have affected the results.

And preliminary research from the American Heart Association found that restricting meals to just eight hours a day was associated with a 91 percent increased risk of premature death from cardiovascular disease.

Experts agree that there is little long-term research on people who practice intermittent fasting, so these studies are critical to further understanding the effects of fasting. This study shows that intermittent fasting can help people lose weight in the short term, but does not provide lasting cardiovascular benefits.

 

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