man looking at watch with plate of food in front of him. Intermittent fasting, time restricted eating concept
Julie Hambleton
Julie Hambleton
April 1, 2024 ·  4 min read

Intermittent Fasting Has Been Linked to Higher Risk of Cardiovascular Death. Should You Worry?

Unless you’ve been living off the grid for the last decade, you’ve probably heard of intermittent fasting. You know it: The practice of restricting your eating to only a certain number of hours in the day. Many people in the health and wellness industry have been praising the practice for its health and weight loss benefits. Several studies have also looked at the practice, suggesting various benefits for human health. In recent headlines, however, a new cohort study suggesting a link between intermittent fasting and a higher risk of cardiovascular death has upset a lot of people. The study, which was discussed at a conference and has not yet been published or peer-reviewed, has raised concerns among many individuals who practice time-restricted eating. However, it is important to consider some crucial context before jumping to conclusions.

Intermittent fasting linked to Cardiovascular Death: The Study

The study in question examined the association between time-restricted eating, specifically an 8-hour eating window, and the risk of cardiovascular death. The researchers reportedly found that individuals who practiced this form of intermittent fasting had a 91% higher risk of cardiovascular death compared to those who did not follow such eating patterns. The study involved a large cohort of participants and analyzed data over several years, making the findings appear alarming at first glance. (1)

Important Limitations To Consider

However, it is crucial to recognize the limitations and nuances of this study. Firstly, the study has not undergone the rigorous process of peer review, where experts in the field critically evaluate the methodology and findings. Peer review helps ensure the reliability and validity of scientific research. Without this rigorous evaluation, there may be potential flaws in the study design or data analysis that have not been addressed.

Secondly, presenting the study findings at a conference means that the research has not yet been disseminated to the broader scientific community. This further limits the ability of other experts to assess the study’s methodology, analyze the data, and provide their own perspectives on the findings. Without the input of other researchers in the field, it is challenging to fully understand the implications of these results.

It is also important to note that this is an observational study, meaning it can only demonstrate an association between time-restricted eating and cardiovascular death, not a cause-and-effect relationship. Other factors such as individual lifestyle choices, overall diet quality, and pre-existing health conditions might contribute to the observed associations. Further research, including well-designed randomized controlled trials, is needed to establish a more definitive understanding of the relationship between intermittent fasting and cardiovascular health. (2)

Context is Key

However, it is not just the limitations of the study itself that should be considered; the wider context is also vital. Intermittent fasting has been studied extensively over the years, and numerous studies have demonstrated potential health benefits, including weight loss, improved insulin sensitivity, and reduced inflammation. These findings should not be disregarded based solely on one yet-to-be-peer-reviewed study.

What Critics are Saying

Critics of the news/study argue that media coverage often exaggerates the findings of preliminary research, leading to unwarranted alarm. When studies are presented at conferences or reported before undergoing peer review, it is crucial for the media and the public to approach the information with caution. Taking preliminary studies as conclusive evidence can be misleading and potentially harmful, as it can create unnecessary fear and anxiety among individuals who have benefited from intermittent fasting.

One of the study’s critics (or more so, critical of how the information was sensationalized by the media), is Dr. Layne Norton PhD. He is the founder of BioLayne, a company whose goal is to provide ethical, science-based coaching that combines real-world experience with evidence-based protocols. With a proven track record for helping people achieve their athletic, fitness, and health goals, he responded with this video:

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A post shared by Layne Norton, PhD (@biolayne)

Another outspoken critic of the mass panic that this information has caused is Dr. Adrian Chavez. Having suffered from various health problems from the time he was a child until he was in his early 20s, Dr. Chavez used nutrition and exercise protocols to vastly improve his health. With a Ph.D. in Nutrition and Health Promotion, he’s helped many people manage and heal from chronic conditions. He aims to shift popular nutrition from promoting fad diets, dangerous supplements, and unrealistic body standards to actual, science-based nutrition for health. He responded to the study with the following video:

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A post shared by Adrian Chavez | Nutrition & Health (@dr.adrian.chavez)

The Bottom Line

The recent headlines linking intermittent fasting to a higher risk of cardiovascular death should be approached with caution. While the study in question has garnered attention, it is important to consider its limitations, including the lack of peer review and the fact that it was presented at a conference. The scientific process requires further examination and replication of findings before definitive conclusions can be drawn. Until then, individuals who practice intermittent fasting should not panic, as the existing body of research suggests potential health benefits. As always, it is essential to consult with healthcare professionals before making any significant changes to dietary habits or lifestyle choices.

Read More: 6 Ways Fasting May Benefit You: Blood Sugar, Weight Loss & More


  1. 8-hour time-restricted eating linked to a 91% higher risk of cardiovascular death.” Newsroom
  2. Cardiologists Tell Us What You Really Need to Know About Intermittent Fasting and Heart Health.” GQ. Erin Bunch. March 25, 2024