Intermittent fasting – one of the most popular and promoted dieting techniques – may even increase the risk of early death.
A study of 24,000 Americans over 40 found that those who ate one meal a day were 30 percent more likely to die from any cause within 15 years than those who ate three.
Intermittent fasting — meaning eating within a strict time frame or skipping meals altogether — became one of the most popular dieting tools in the early 2010s.
A-list celebrities like Kourtney Kardashian, Mark Wahlberg, Hugh Jackman and Jennifer Aniston say it helps them lose weight or detox their body.
Ironically, one of the main benefits cited by proponents of the diet is longevity. It had previously been associated with a lower risk of multiple diseases.
In the latest study, skipping breakfast was associated with a higher risk of dying from heart disease, while skipping lunch or breakfast appeared to increase the risk of all-cause mortality.
The results stayed even when people exercised, ate healthily and rarely smoked or drank alcohol, the researchers claim.
They say that fasters usually consume a relatively large amount of food at one time, which can damage the body’s cells over time.
The team warns that it is still too early to say definitively that fasting played a role in the early deaths, as they cannot rule out other lifestyle and genetic factors.
Intermittent fasting – one of the most popular and promoted dieting techniques – may actually increase the risk of an early death (stock)
Jennifer Aniston (right) and Nicole Kidman (left) are two celebrities who have reportedly used intermittent fasting
Pictured above is Mark Wahlberg’s daily routine, which requires him to fast for 18 hours
The latest study, by researchers at the University of Tennessee, found that three meals a day was the ideal spot for a longer life.
But the study found that eating too close together was also linked to an increased risk of early death.
Similar to their fasting theory, the team believes that overeating too quickly puts stress on the body.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting means alternating between days of fasting and days of normal eating.
Intermittent fasting diets generally fall into two categories: time-restricted diets, which reduce eating time to 6-8 hours per day, also known as the 16:8 diet, and 5:2 intermittent fasting.
The 16:8 diet is a form of intermittent fasting, also known as Time Restricted Eating.
Followers of the eating plan fast for 16 hours a day and eat whatever they want in the remaining eight hours — usually between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
This may be more bearable than the well-known 5:2 diet – where followers limit their calories to 500 to 600 per day for two days a week and then eat normally for the remaining five days.
In addition to weight loss, 16:8 intermittent fasting is believed to improve blood sugar control, boost brain function and help us live longer.
Many prefer to eat between noon and 8 p.m., as this means they only have to fast overnight and skip breakfast, but can still have lunch and dinner along with a few snacks.
If you do eat, it’s best to choose healthy options such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
And drink water and unsweetened drinks.
Downsides of the fasting plan can be that people overeat in the hours they can eat, leading to weight gain.
It can also lead to digestive problems in the long run, as well as hunger, fatigue, and weakness.
Lead author of the new study Professor Yangbo Sun, from the University of Tennessee, said: ‘At a time when intermittent fasting is widely touted as a solution for weight loss, metabolic health and disease prevention, our study is important for the large segment of US adults who eating fewer than three meals each day.
‘Our research showed that individuals who eat only one meal a day are more likely to die than those who eat more daily meals.
“Among them, participants who skip breakfast are more likely to have fatal cardiovascular disease, while those who skip lunch or dinner increase their risk of death from all causes.”
She added, “Based on these findings, we recommend eating at least two to three meals throughout the day.”
In the study, published in the Journal of Academy of Nutrition and Diabetics, her team analyzed data from 24,011 people over the age of 40 from across the US.
They already took part in a nationally representative survey that ran from 1999 to 2014 and asked them about diet, general health, illness and behavior every two years. Forty percent of the participants ate less than three meals a day on average.
Their survey responses were linked to their medical records. In all, there were 4,175 deaths at the end of the study, including 878 due to heart problems.
Compared with participants who ate three meals a day, consuming just one meal was linked to a 30 percent increased risk of death from all causes and an 83 percent increased risk of death from heart disease.
People who skipped breakfast had a 40 percent higher risk of death from heart disease compared to those who didn’t, but there was no difference in all-cause mortality.
However, people who skipped lunch or dinner were 12 to 16 percent more likely to die from any cause.
Meanwhile, people who ate up to three meals a day an average gap of less than four and a half hours between at least two of them had a 17 percent increased risk of all-cause mortality, compared with people who spaced their meals five hours or more apart.
Senior study author Dr. Wei Bao, an epidemiologist at the University of Iowa, said: ‘Our results are significant even after adjusting for dietary and lifestyle factors (smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity levels, energy intake and diet quality) and food insecurity. .
Our findings are based on observations from public data and do not imply causation. Nevertheless, what we observed makes sense metabolically.”
Dr. Bao explained that skipping meals usually means taking in a larger amount of energy all at once, which can exacerbate the regulation of glucose metabolism and lead to subsequent metabolic deterioration.
This may also explain the association between a shorter meal interval and mortality, as a shorter time between meals would result in a greater energy load in the given period.
Dr. Bao added, “Our study provides much-needed evidence on the association between eating behavior and mortality in the context of meal timing and the length of the daily prandial period.”