How Well Does Intermittent Fasting Work?

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is one of the many widely utilized tactics used by people to try to lose or maintain their weight. Often called time-restricted eating, this weight-loss method entails ingesting only clear liquids for sixteen hours out of a 24-hour period and restricting one’s eating window to predefined times, typically eight hours. Additional methods involve going without food for two or three days once a week or once a month.

To What Extent Does Intermittent Fasting Work?

Research from the past has shown that setting time limits has advantages. A review of studies conducted on humans and animals in December 2019 found that restricting calories to a small amount of the day can result in weight loss, a reduction in blood pressure, and an improvement in longevity. (However, the human trials were short-lived, and some of the research included animals.)

However, after following 139 Chinese adults for a year—whose weight ranged from overweight to significantly obese—the study’s findings, which were released in April 2022, demonstrated that calorie counting was not more effective than weight loss or cardiovascular health enhancement.

In Reference To Recent Findings

Researchers last week found that eating within an eight-hour window or less was statistically associated with a 91% higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease than eating over a 12- to 16-hour period. last finding shocked and outraged specialists.

An abstract of the preliminary research was presented at an American Heart Association convention in Chicago on Monday; it has not yet been published or subjected to peer review.

The senior study author, Victor Wenze Zhong, Chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine in China, said, “We were surprised to find that people who followed an 8-hour, time-restricted eating schedule were more likely to die from cardiovascular disease.”

“The results of our study support a more cautious, customized approach to dietary recommendations, making sure that they are in line with a person’s health status and the most recent research findings,” Zhong said in a press release.

The New Study Is Still In Its Early Stages

20,000 participants in a long-term study of US residents’ eating patterns over the course of two days during the first year of enrollment completed questionnaires on their 24-hour eating patterns. Then, the current study looked at death certificates from the ensuing years.

The study’s authors state that while the analysis showed a link between an eight-hour eating window and cardiovascular disease-related mortality, they were unable to establish a causal relationship between the eating pattern and the reported deaths.

Numerous experts expressed their doubts about the recent discoveries. Not participating in the study, Kevin McConway is an emeritus professor of applied statistics at The Open University in the United Kingdom. “There’s just about enough in the conference abstract to throw huge doubts on whether the study can show what it purports to show,” McConway said. McConway did not take part in the research.

The study lasted eight years on average, and McConway said in a statement that the researchers “classified people into different dietary patterns based on what they reported they ate and when they ate it in just two days.” “It appears to be going far beyond the data to make the connection between those patterns and a deliberate long-term time-restricted eating intervention,” said the investigator.

The study’s abstract, according to Tom Sanders, an emeritus professor of nutrition and dietetics at King’s College London who was not involved in the research, does not state whether or not the people who followed the time-restricted eating plan had “antisocial” jobs. Health professionals, night workers, and truck drivers all regularly perform this.

Sanders made it clear that “this is important because there is evidence that this type of working practice is associated with increased risk of increasing risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.”

Among those who claimed to practice intermittent fasting, there is no information in the abstract regarding their use of alcohol and tobacco, their level of physical activity, or their poverty status, according to Duane Mellor, a registered dietitian and senior teaching fellow at Aston Medical School in Birmingham, United Kingdom. Heart disease is a risk factor for each of these variables. Mellor refrained from taking part in the scientific study.

In a statement, Mellor stated, “We need to be very careful not to generate worry-inducing headlines and stories based on such limited information.” “It is possible that the food you consume and the way you live your life, in general, are more important than whether or not you consumed all of your food in a span of fewer than eight hours on two days in the past ten years.”

What Advantages Does Intermittent Fasting Provide For Your Health?

Contradictory results can come from research in the same manner that numerous scientific studies might yield contradicting results. This usually depends on how well the study was done and whether or not the same thing was evaluated consistently across studies.

Experts have noted that there are a variety of studies on fasting. A number of studies have looked into fasting on two or more days of the week, while other research has looked into fasting between the hours of eight in the morning and four in the afternoon, midday and eight in the evening, or another time of day.

I don’t think the evidence is really strong when it comes to intermittent fasting. Nutrition researcher Christopher Gardner spoke with CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta on his ideas. “It is a difficult thing to study and publish with clean results,” Gardner stated.

“And there’s no emphasis on quality, right?” inquired Gardner, a research professor of medicine at the Stanford Prevention Research Center in Palo Alto, California. Gardner works as a faculty member at Stanford University. Others are going to respond by saying, “It’s the window, so I can have the pint of ice cream or I can have the cookies or I can have whatever I want because the window is the most important thing.” I’m worried about what people will think.

Techniques For Losing Weight

The amount and type of food you eat matter more than anything else, according to experts.

Alice Lichtenstein, the director, and senior scientist at Tufts University’s Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory, said in a previous interview with CNN that cutting calories is the primary factor in determining weight loss as well as reductions in blood pressure, visceral fat, body fat, glucose, and lipid levels. This holds true regardless of how meals and liquids are distributed throughout the day on a regular basis. Her participation in that specific study was nonexistent.

Furthermore, a September 2020 randomized clinical trial—known as the gold standard of research—showed no discernible difference in weight loss between participants who restricted their meals from eight o’clock at night until noon the next day and those who did not.