Intermittent Fasting: All That You Need To Know

Intermittent Fasting

One of the many popular strategies used by people to try to reduce or maintain their weight is intermittent fasting. Often referred to as time-restricted eating, this weight-loss technique involves limiting a person’s eating window to predetermined periods, usually eight hours out of a 24-hour period, and consuming only clear liquids for the remaining sixteen hours. Other techniques include fasting for two or three days once a week or once a month.

How Effective Is Intermittent Fasting?

Previous studies have demonstrated the benefits of time restriction. In December 2019, a review of research on humans and animals discovered that cutting calories to only a portion of the day can lead to weight loss, blood pressure lowering, and increased longevity. (But some of those research involved mice, and the human studies lasted only a few months.)

But 139 Chinese adults, ranging in weight from overweight to considerably obese, were followed for a year, and the results of the study, which was published in April 2022, showed that calorie counting was not superior to improving cardiovascular health or losing weight.

Regarding Recent Discoveries

When research this week revealed that eating within an eight-hour window or less was statistically connected with a 91% greater chance of dying from cardiovascular disease, compared with eating over a 12- to 16-hour period, experts instantly expressed disbelief and criticism. The preliminary research has not yet been published or subjected to peer review, but an abstract was given Monday at an American Heart Association meeting in Chicago.

Victor Wenze Zhong, a professor, and chair of the epidemiology and biostatistics department at Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine in China, is the senior study author, 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 statement.

The New Research Is Too Preliminary

A long-term review of the health of US citizens included 20,000 participants who answered questionnaires about their 24-hour eating habits on two days during the first year of enrollment. The new study then examined death records from the years that followed.

According to the authors of the study, although the analysis revealed a connection between an eight-hour eating window and death from cardiovascular disease, the researchers were unable to determine whether or not this eating pattern was the cause of the reported deaths.

There were a lot of professionals who voiced their reservations about the new findings.”There’s just about enough in the conference abstract to throw huge doubts on whether the study can show what it purports to show,” said Kevin McConway, professor emeritus of applied statistics at The Open University in the United Kingdom, who was not involved in the study. McConway was not a participant in the study.

During the course of the study, which lasted for an average of eight years, 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,” stated the researcher.

According to Tom Sanders, a professor emeritus of nutrition and dietetics at King’s College London who was not involved in the study, the abstract does not disclose whether the individuals who practiced time-restricted eating worked “antisocial” hours. This is something that truck drivers, night workers, and health professionals frequently do.

Sanders stated in a statement 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.”

According to Duane Mellor, a registered dietitian and senior teaching fellow at Aston Medical School in Birmingham, United Kingdom, there is no information in the abstract about the use of tobacco and alcohol, the level of physical activity, or the level of poverty among those who stated that they practiced intermittent fasting. All of these factors are risk factors for heart disease. Mellor was not a participant in the research investigation.

Mellor issued a statement in which he said, “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 less than eight hours on two days in the past ten years.”

What Are The Health Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting?

In the same way that many scientific investigations can provide contradictory findings, research can also produce contradictory findings. This is typically based on the quality of the study and whether or not all of the studies have assessed the same thing in the same way.

In terms of fasting, experts have stated that studies are all over the place. Some studies have investigated fasting for two or more days during the week, while others have investigated fasting between the hours of eight in the morning and four in the afternoon, and still others have investigated fasting between midday and eight in the evening or at other times.

On the subject of intermittent fasting, I do not believe that the data are particularly convincing. Christopher Gardner, a nutrition researcher, shared his thoughts with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, the Chief Medical Correspondent for CNN. “It is a difficult thing to study and publish with clean results,” Gardner said.

Gardner, a research professor of medicine at the Stanford Prevention Research Center in Palo Alto, California, asked, “And there’s no emphasis on quality, right?” Gardner is a member of the Stanford University faculty. others are going to say things like, “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 am afraid of what others will say.

Ways To Reduce Your Weight

Experts agree that the food you consume and the quantity you consume are more significant than anything else. In a previous interview with CNN, Alice Lichtenstein, director and senior scientist at Tufts University’s Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory, stated that “bottom line, the determinant of weight loss, as well as reductions in body fat, visceral fat, blood pressure, and glucose and lipid levels, is dependent on reducing calorie intake.” This is true regardless of the distribution of food and beverages consumed throughout the day on a daily basis. In that particular study, she did not take part.

In addition, a randomized clinical experiment that was conducted in September 2020 and was considered to be the gold standard of research also indicated that there was no significant difference in weight reduction between individuals who confined their meals from eight o’clock at night until noon the following day and those who did not restrict their eating.

Neither did a study that was conducted in January and involved 547 participants; it also discovered that there was no significant difference between restricting eating hours and weight loss.