Intermittent Fasting associated with a 91% increased risk of Cardiovascular Death???

Intermittent Fasting associated with a 91% increased risk of Cardiovascular Death???

That scary headline dropped recently at the American Heart Association conference and received lots of media attention. But is time-restricted eating (TRE) really deadly?

The data presented was collected form the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survery (NHANES) and followed over 20,000 participants for 8 years. Those who limited their eating window to 8 hours showed a huge increased risk of cardiovascular death compared with those who ate for 12 and even 16 hours in a day.

This type of research is called “observational” and is highly prone to confounding. For example, researchers don’t know about the quality of the diet of those who are restricting their eating window. And there is no data about when people in the TRE group did their eating vs their fasting (most people tend to skip breakfast and eat later into the day) which may have a marked impact on health outcomes. It’s also possible that those who do TRE do so precisely because they are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Could it also be that two 24 hour questionnaires is not enough long-term information to properly assess diet and how it changes over time?

Bottom line: this research was preliminary and observational. We need more information to make sound conclusions about the benefits and risks of TRE.

My recommendations:

I still believe limiting one’s eating window is a good idea- I generally recommend at least a 13 hour overnight fast.

I believe strongly that we should be eating earlier and limiting eating later at night.

I strongly believe that TRE without eating a healthy diet is probably not going to help and may actually harm,

Dr. Leat Kuzniar ND
Dr. Leat Kuzniar ND
drkuzniar@njnaturopath.com

Dr. Kuzniar is a board member of the New Jersey Association of Naturopathic Physicians and is also a member of the Gastroenterology Association of Naturopathic Physicians. She currently holds a State of Vermont Naturopathic Physician license (as New Jersey does not yet offer licensing for Naturopathic doctors).