Sunday, April 21, 2024

Intermittent fasting windows linked to high risk of death But that’s not All!

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Recent reports claim that intermittent fasting could increase your risk of dying from heart and circulation disorders. To understand this, The Pioneer’s Shikha Duggal connects with health experts to provide a detailed analysis of the same.
SHIKHA DUGGAL
Many in the health and fitness industry believe that intermittent fasting, which involves switching up your weekly eating and fasting intervals, has become the newest big thing in weight loss. Worse yet, news sites have lately claimed that eating for only eight hours a day and fasting for the other sixteen could increase your risk of dying from heart and circulation disorders! With the assistance of experts and medical professionals, The Pioneer exclusively discloses the truth hidden beneath these headlines.
Senior dietician at K J Somaiya Medical College, Hospital, and Research Centre, Dr. Monal Velangi (PhD), shares with us her exclusive research findings: “One of the most discussed issues in the scientific community and around the world nowadays is intermittent fasting. Numerous short-term studies have demonstrated it’s advantages in helping people lose weight and in relation to chronic degenerative disorders. In the meantime, it’s critical for each person to monitor their health and make educated food recommendations after speaking with a dietitian and doctor. Neglecting to adhere to recommended dietary patterns increases the likelihood of developing nutritional deficiencies and associated health risks. A well-balanced diet is the secret to optimal health.” Since! The most recent study, which was presented at the American Heart Association conference in Chicago, Illinois, in 2024, examined the long-term effects and offered an alternative viewpoint. The study involved 20,000 adults. This nevertheless suggests an alternative line of inquiry and emphasises the need for more robust evidence-based studies on long-term prognosis.
Regarding the same, Dr. Sameer Gupta, Director of Cardiology at Metro Group of Hospitals, unveiled a different POV for the whole study: “This study was submitted as a poster at an American Heart Association meeting. In an epidemiological study centered on memory, patients were asked questions such as ‘What was the diet that you are following?’ and similar ones. At best, the study is thought-provoking, but despite its poor execution, it unfortunately received a lot of media attention. Based on available data from reputable research institutions, intermittent fasting has been linked to some metabolic benefits. This covers things like better blood pressure control, weight loss, and diabetes improvement. Biomarkers do show improvement after sporadic fasting. Physicians are awaiting more comprehensive, high-quality data, though. Our existing evidence indicates that fasting intermittently is safe. With local medical advice, it can be used as a weight loss plan. Extreme behaviour can sometimes result in inadequacies; this is a possibility with any unmonitored diet control.”
The most recent study also concentrated on time-restricted eating, of which one of the various forms is ‘intermittent fasting’. An 8-hour eating window is typical, but people may limit their eating windows from 12 hours to 6 or less. The practice of intermittent fasting has grown in favour as a possible means of lowering cholesterol, weight, and other heart disease risk factors. One reason the latest study’s headlines were so startling was because earlier studies, albeit with less conclusive findings, had revealed a contrary relationship with heart health!
Dr. Sohini Sengupta further clarified: “More thorough study is required to completely comprehend the relationship between irregular fasting and heart health. Conversely, a few other studies indicate that the risk of heart disease may rise from skipping breakfast, which is a type of intermittent fasting! According to a recent study, it might have the opposite effect and ultimately raise the risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke.”
Smriti Mishra, a registered dietician shares that further rigorous research is required to better understand the effects of intermittent fasting on health outcomes. Long-term randomised controlled trials with larger sample sizes and diverse populations could provide more conclusive evidence regarding its safety and efficacy for weight loss and overall health.
“Controlling factors influencing the outcomes of intermittent fasting include the specific fasting protocols utilised, individual variations in response, adherence to dietary guidelines during eating windows, overall diet quality, physical activity levels, and existing health conditions,” shares Smriti.
To put it briefly, the specialists we consulted advised against generalising the study’s findings! Because medical research explains several factors, and The Pioneer explains to you on how the most recent research serves as a springboard for further discussion on how to create a nutrition plan that suits your needs.
 
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CASE STUDY
A significant case study worth mentioning is the Multi-Center Lifestyle Demonstration Project (EVIDENT), currently underway. EVIDENT is designed to comprehensively assess the long-term impacts of intermittent fasting on various health parameters including weight loss, metabolic health, and cardiovascular risk factors. What distinguishes it is the inclusion of a large and diverse population, making its findings potentially more applicable to real-world scenarios.
By tracking participants over an extended period, it aims to provide robust insights into both the benefits and risks associated with intermittent fasting. These insights could prove invaluable in informing healthcare professionals and the public about the efficacy and safety of intermittent fasting as a dietary strategy.
While the study is ongoing, preliminary results are eagerly anticipated as they have the potential to reshape our understanding of intermittent fasting and its implications for public health policy and clinical practice.
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