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Intermittent Fasting Is Reportedly Linked To Higher Risk For Deadly Disease

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Intermittent Fasting Could Be Very Bad For YouAlexander Spatari - Getty Images

Fad diets come and go, but intermittent fasting has been having a moment for years. However, according to new studies, restricting your eating to a specific time window can actually be a major risk factor for your health, NBC reports.

Despite previous reports that the diet pattern can lower blood pressure and help with weight loss, new information from the American Hearth Association's scientific sessions in Chicago claims that intermittent fasting can drastically increase the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.

According to research from Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine in China, restricting food consumption to less than eight hours per day increases the chances of cardiovascular death by a whopping 91 percent.

While the analysis has not yet been peer-reviewed or published in an academic journal, the data was collected from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey—which makes it pretty reliable info.

The researchers reviewed responses from 20,000 adults on what they ate for at least two days. They then examined which of those participants died of cardiovascular disease after around eight years.

However, co-author of the analysis, Victor Wenze Zhong, says that it still might be too early to take this information as a conclusion based on his research alone.

"Practicing intermittent fasting for a short period such as 3 months may likely lead to benefits on reducing weight and improving cardiometabolic health," Zhong told NBC in an email. He added that people "should be extremely cautious" when practicing intermittent fasting for a longer amount of time, like years.

Zhong added that he is unclear as to why there is an association between intermittent fasting and the risk of death from cardiovascular disease. He did say, however, that those who limit their eating to fewer than eight hours per day have a lower lean muscle mass than those that consume food for 12 to 16 hours—and low lean muscle mass is linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular death.

A research professor at Intermountain Health in Salt Lake City, Dr. Benjamin Horne, also noted that fasting increases stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which can also increase the risk of heart problems.

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