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Intermittent Fasting Linked To Cardiovascular Death?

There has been a frenzied reaction to a release by the American Heart Association in which researchers claim that 8-hour time-restricted eating (intermittent fasting) resulted in a 91% higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease! The shock of this release is that intermittent fasting has become quite popular because research has shown health benefits and that most Americans consume too many calories.

What Was The Study?

Interestingly, the news release for this headline was not based on a published study but a poster presentation at the American Heart Association Epidemiology and Prevent/Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions 2024. It is common for researchers to present a poster summarizing their research before it is reviewed and published in a journal. In this case, there was no peer review of their research. The peer review process is normative before a paper is published, and most often, the authors have to make changes based on the peer review. In addition, papers may be rejected for their flawed design and methodology. This study had major flaws and likely would have needed significant revisions or would have been outright rejected for publication.

The study involved approximately 20,000 adults who followed an 8-hour-time restricted eating schedule. The study participants were followed for a median length of 8 years and a maximum of 17 years. After 8 years of follow up, the data showed a 91% higher risk of cardiovascular death. Moreover, those with an eating duration of more than 16 hours per day were associated with a lower risk of cancer mortality for those with cancer.

Significant flaws in the study included:

  • Diet analysis was based on 2-day diet records with questionnaires that were filled out
  • Other researchers noted that variables such as smoking were not taken into account
  • Intermittent fasting was not common for many of the years from which the data was extracted from the 2003-2018 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Death Index Database. Therefore, the data came from people who did not eat healthily. As my friend Doctor Michael Murray noted, the people in the study followed the Standard American Diet, the SAD diet. The typical American diet is high in processed foods, toxins, and sugar and devoid of phytonutrients and nutrients that fight disease.


Intermittent fasting has been demonstrated to have health benefits. However, to achieve health benefits, you must eat healthy foods within the restricted window of time you are eating! If you have cancer, you should not incorporate intermittent fasting unless under the supervision of a knowledgeable doctor. Maintaining muscle mass and weight is vital for people with cancer. Lastly, the American Heart Association should know better than to release headlines about preliminary research that has not gone through the approval process for publication. People distrust scientists, and this headline confirms the need to discern what the medical community releases as information.

Dr. Mark Stengler NMD, MS, is a bestselling author in private practice in Encinitas, California, at the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine. His newsletter, Dr. Stengler’s Health Breakthroughs, is available at and his product line at


8-hour time-restricted eating linked to a 91% higher risk of cardiovascular death. American Heart Association. (2024, March 19). 

Brooks, M. (2024, March 19). Intermittent fasting linked to higher CVD death risk. 

Murray, M. (2024, April 6). Intermittent Fasting Causes a 91% Increase in Cardiovascular Deaths? NO WAY!!