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Is Fasting Good For Your Heart

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Jenna And Hoda Weigh Themselves Before Trying Intermittent Fasting

Is fasting good for your heart?

For the new study, researchers asked 2,001 patients who underwent cardiac catheterization in Utah about their history of fasting. The state is unique on this front because many residents are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and typically fast the first Sunday of the month as part of their faith.

About 40% of people in the group were routine fasters or previous fasters who fasted for 24 hours once a month for decades, eating nothing and drinking only water on that day. All of the participants were followed for almost five years to see if they developed new heart problems or passed away.

The routine fasters who had been following the once-a-month regimen for more than 40 years on average had a substantially lower risk of death compared to the others, even when adjusting for factors like smoking and alcohol use, Horne said. They also had a lower incidence of heart failure.

We were surprised by the strength of the findings, Horne said, cautioning they don’t prove causality. Observational research is not perfect, but its giving us a really good reliable signal that there is some survival benefit happening from fasting.

Fasting for at least 12-14 hours activates various beneficial mechanisms in the body lowering blood pressure, reducing anemia and triggering autophagy, a mechanism that helps to regenerate cells, he noted.

How Intermittent Fasting Improves Heart Health

No doubt you already know stress, eating habits, and exercise all affect your heart health. However, lifestyle choices that impact your blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure all have an enormous impact as well. These factors pose a risk to the overall wellness and effectiveness of the heart and can be life-threatening when left untreated.

Intermittent fasting can be a heart-healthy lifestyle change because:

When co-occurring conditions, such as insulin resistance, obesity or diabetes are combatted through fasting, you have a better chance of improving your heart health overall. By improving your health in other areas of the body, including the blood that circulates through your heart, you can experience these benefits tenfold.

Burns Excess Body Fat

Having excess body fat, especially around your belly, may result in serious health consequences. Carrying too much weight around your middle may increase your risk of heart disease. Research has shown that excess belly fat may increase your risk of heart disease and heart issues even in those who have a healthy body mass index .

Research has shown that intermittent fasting has many health benefits. One of them includes burning excess body fat and improved body fat percentage which may lower your risk of heart disease and other health issues.

One study has found that time controlled fasting may prevent mitochondrial damage and aging due to excess fat. Further research has shown that intermittent fasting may increase HGH in the body, improve blood glucose, improve insulin sensitivity, and enhance fat loss. Lower insulin levels may help your body to burn fat more efficiently. Intermittent fasting may also boost your metabolism and aids weight loss and fat loss as a result along with heart and other health benefits .;

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Intermittent Fasting Regimens For Heart Health

There are different regimens for intermittent fasting, including two most popular:

  • The 16:8 protocol, also known as time-restricted feeding. The majority of studies on IF and heart health are based on this regimen.
  • 5:2 fasting plan, where you eat normally for 5 days, then eat less than 500 calories for 2 days.

Remember, youll get the best results if you eat fresh, natural whole foods like on the Mediterranean diet. During your 8-hour eating window, choose fish, nuts, low fat dairy, leafy greens, fruits, and whole grains. These are all low in refined sugar, saturated fats, and a meal plan rich in these foods are shown to reduce your risk for heart disease.;

Fasting And Weight Loss

Fasting Benefits

If you weed through all the controversy, you’ll find that most medical experts agree on one thing: fasting is not a healthy weight loss tool.

“The appeal is that is quick, but it is quick fluid loss, not substantial weight loss,” says Madelyn Fernstrom, PhD, CNS, founder and director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Weight Loss Management Center.

“If it’s easy off, it will come back quickly” — as soon as you start eating normally again, she says.

Even some proponents of fasting for other medical purposes do not support fasting for weight loss. Some say it can actually make weight problems worse.

“Fasting is not a weight loss tool. Fasting slows your metabolic rate down so your diet from before the fast is even more fattening after you fast,” says Joel Fuhrman MD, author of Eat to Live: The Revolutionary Plan for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss and Fasting and Eating for Health.

Fasting for weight loss carries other health risks as well.

While fasting for a day or two is rarely a problem if you are healthy, “it can be quite dangerous if you are not already eating a healthy diet, or if you’ve got liver or kidney problems, any kind of compromised immune system functioning, or are on medication — even Tylenol,” says Fuhrman, a family physician in Flemington, N.J..


In addition, other practices that are often combined with fasting for weight loss, such as colon cleansing, carry their own risks.

Also Check: How To Lose Weight From Intermittent Fasting

Health Benefits Of Fasting Backed By Science

Despite its recent surge in popularity, fasting is a practice that dates back centuries and plays a central role in many cultures and religions.

Defined as the abstinence from all or some foods or drinks for a set period of time, there are many different ways of fasting.

In general, most types of fasts are performed over 2472 hours.

Intermittent fasting, on the other hand, involves cycling between periods of eating and fasting, ranging from a few hours to a few days at a time.

Fasting has been shown to have many health benefits, from increased weight loss to better brain function.

Here are 8 health benefits of fasting backed by science.

May Help Prevent Cancer

Cancer is characterized by uncontrolled growth of cells.

Fasting has been shown to have several beneficial effects on metabolism that may lead to reduced risk of cancer.

Promising evidence from animal studies indicates that intermittent fasting or diets that mimic fasting may help prevent cancer. Research in humans has led to similar findings, although more studies are needed 00224-7″ rel=”nofollow”>26, 27, 28 ).

Theres also some evidence showing that fasting reduced various side effects of chemotherapy in humans 00503-2″ rel=”nofollow”>29, 30).


Intermittent fasting has been shown to help prevent cancer in animal studies and some human studies. Research in humans showed that it can help reduce side effects caused by chemotherapy.

Also Check: What Can Fasting Do For Your Body

Regular Fasting Could Lead To Longer Healthier Life

Regular fasting is associated with lower rates of heart failure and a longer life span, according to two new studies.

Researchers sought to shed new light on the centuries-old debate about how fasting affects health. Recent studies have shown it contributes to reductions in blood pressure, “bad” LDL cholesterol and insulin resistance, a condition that can raise blood sugar. A 2017 study showed alternate-day fasting was as effective as daily calorie restriction for losing weight and keeping the pounds off.

The new studies focused on data from patients evaluated for heart disease in Utah and other Rocky Mountain states. The research included hundreds of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as Mormons, who typically fast one Sunday each month, for up to 24 hours.

In the first study, researchers zeroed in on how fasting impacts life span. About 2,000 people who had undergone a cardiac catheterization procedure were followed for an average of 4.4 years, including 389 “routine fasters” who had been fasting regularly for at least five years.

After adjusting for various factors, researchers discovered the routine fasters had a 45% lower mortality rate than the non-fasters during the follow-up period.

It’s very interesting it’s a more profound effect than we anticipated,” said researcher Dr. Benjamin Horne, who recently presented the preliminary findings at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions.

Why Might Changing Timing Help

How to Use Fasting to Help Cardiovascular Disease – NEW STUDY

But why does simply changing the timing of our meals to allow for fasting make a difference in our body? An;in-depth review of the science of IF;recently published in;New England Journal of Medicine;sheds some light. Fasting is evolutionarily embedded within our physiology, triggering several essential cellular functions. Flipping the switch from a fed to fasting state does more than help us burn calories and lose weight. The researchers combed through dozens of animal and human studies to explain how simple fasting improves metabolism, lowering blood sugar; lessens inflammation, which improves a range of health issues from arthritic pain to asthma; and even helps clear out toxins and damaged cells, which lowers risk for cancer and enhances brain function. The article is deep, but worth a read!

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Does Intermittent Fasting Work

If you follow theintermittent fasting guidelines and make healthy meal choices, intermittentfasting will help you achieve weight-loss results. This is based on bodychemistry. After a 12-hour overnight fast, insulin levels drop because theenergy glucose available in your body has been depleted. At this point, yourbody shifts into a fasting state, where fatty acids or ketones from fat cellsare utilized as fuel instead of glucose.

When done regularly,intermittent fasting has shown to decrease abdominal fat, improve glucosemetabolism and reduce inflammation in the body, says Dr. Sanford.

Intermittent fasting packsan additional punch studies show that consistent intermittent fasting canreduce the risk of developing diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease andneurogenerative diseases.

Aids Weight Loss By Limiting Calorie Intake And Boosting Metabolism

Many dieters pick up fasting looking for a quick and easy way to drop a few pounds.

Theoretically, abstaining from all or certain foods and beverages should decrease your overall calorie intake, which could lead to increased weight loss over time.

Some research has also found that short-term fasting may boost metabolism by increasing levels of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, which could enhance weight loss .

In fact, one review showed that whole-day fasting could reduce body weight by up to 9% and significantly decrease body fat over 1224 weeks .

Another review found that intermittent fasting over 312 weeks was as effective in inducing weight loss as continuous calorie restriction and decreased body weight and fat mass by up to 8% and 16% respectively .

In addition, fasting was found to be more effective than calorie restriction at increasing fat loss while simultaneously preserving muscle tissue (

Also Check: What Are The Best Foods To Eat When Intermittent Fasting

Jogging And Brisk Walking Will Do Too

There is a constant debate between runners and joggers on which form of activity is best for overall health. Turns out, walking or jogging can give you just about the same kind of results as running as far as the heart is concerned. Theres apparently no need to huff and puff while running. Your heart will thank you just as much for a brisk walk.

Six Years Of Running Lowers Death Risk By Half

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According to a study, you can reduce your;risk of death from cardiovascular disease by running. Compared with;non-runners, runners enjoy a 30 percent lower risk of death from all causes and a whopping 45 per cent lower risk from heart disease or stroke.

Even those who ran one or two times per week had a lower risk of dying than did;non-runners.

Those who ran persistently over six years had the most significant benefitsas much as 50 percent lower risk of death from heart disease or stroke! Voila!1

Recommended Reading: How Much Weight Should I Lose On Intermittent Fasting

Medical Reasons For Fasting

Another topic on which there is medical agreement is the benefit – actually, the necessity — of fasting before surgery.

“You don’t want the body to be digesting food as it manages the slower breathing under anesthesia,” says Fernstrom.

Fasting is also required to get accurate readings for certain medical tests. Short-term fasting before tests for cholesterol and blood sugar levels, for example, helps achieve a more accurate baseline count.

The Impact Of Intermittent Fasting On Lipid Metabolism

Survival and preservation of species continuity depend, amongst others, on their access to food. That is why living organisms have developed many adaptive mechanisms that allow them to survive periods of famine. Some organisms in the periods where they lack access to food are dormant, for example, yeasts entering the stationary phase . In contrast, mammals have liver and adipose tissue. These constitute an energy warehouse for them that allows them to survive during periods of famine . Fats are essential components of the human body. It is a diverse group in terms of the structure and functions fulfilled in the body . One of the most important functions is that of the backup and energy function. Energy is contained within stored adipocytes, which under certain conditions is released from them under the influence of enzymeslipases . After eating a meal, the concentration of glucose in the body increases and then within a few hours, it returns to the state it was before the meal. The concentration of ketones is low, because glycogen stores in the liver are not depleted .

Studies on human individuals are summarized in .

Also Check: Is Fasting Necessary For A1c Test

Foods That Are Good For Your Heart

Eating a diet with the right number of calories and amount of fat is an important part of taking care of your heart, and some foods are particularly attractive in this regard because of their nutrient profiles.

The;American Heart Association suggests a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, and nuts. These picks are especially worthy of your grocery list.

Can Reduce Insulin Resistance Lowering Your Risk For Type 2 Diabetes

Is It Okay to Do Keto & Intermittent Fasting If You Have a Heart Condition? | Dr.Berg

Type 2 diabetes has become a very common diagnosis in recent decades.

Its main feature is high blood sugar levels in the context of insulin resistance.

Anything that reduces insulin resistance should help lower blood sugar levels and protect against type 2 diabetes.

Interestingly, intermittent fasting has been shown to have major benefits for insulin resistance and to lead to an impressive reduction in blood sugar levels .

In human studies on intermittent fasting, fasting blood sugar has been reduced by 36% over the course of 812 weeks in people with prediabetes. Fasting insulin has been reduced by 2031% .

One study in mice with diabetes also showed that intermittent fasting improved survival rates and protected against diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is a complication that can lead to blindness .

What this implies is that intermittent fasting may be highly protective for people who are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

However, there may be some differences between the sexes. One 2005 study in women showed that blood sugar management actually worsened after a 22-day long intermittent fasting protocol (

Intermittent fasting can reduce insulin resistance and lower blood sugar levels, at least in men.

Recommended Reading: Does Intermittent Fasting Burn Fat

Getting Started With Intermittent Fasting

As I explained in this article, intermittent fasting and a fasting lifestyle have many benefits. Today, youve learned that intermittent fasting may improve your heart health. But if you are new to fasting, getting started with intermittent fasting can be intimidating to you.;

Dont worry, getting started with intermittent fasting is not that scary. I recommend starting with a shorter form of intermittent fasting method, such as the simple fast, for 1 to 2 weeks or as needed. See how your body responds, and build your way up to longer fasting periods.

How Can Fasting Fight Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a collection of risk factors that increase your risk of heart disease and other health problems, like type 2 diabetes and stroke. The term metabolic refers to the biochemical processes that are part of your; bodys natural functioning; eating, energy creation, and the circulation of oxygen-rich blood.;

Your risk factors for developing metabolic syndrome include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Insulin resistance;
  • Inactive lifestyle

According to researchers at the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toru, Poland, fasting for heart health can be effective in fighting metabolic syndrome. When you eat regularly, you dont give your body a chance to rest and reset your sensitivity to sugars between meals, which causes your body to constantly produce insulin. Also, your blood sugar will stay elevated and if you combine that with poor food choices, youll be more likely to develop excess body fat and high cholesterol.

If you fast, it allows your body to rest. That way, youll utilize and store insulin more effectively, break down and utilize sugar in your blood, and improve the other lifestyle factors that contribute to the health of your heart. Combined, these benefits help fight metabolic syndrome.

Read Also: Which Intermittent Fasting Should I Do

The Fasting Transformation Book

I am super excited to introduce you to the book I have spent the past 18 months putting together.; It goes into the most recent scientific research and strategies for implementing intermittent and extended fasting into your life.

I could not be happier with the content in this book that you can;review here.;;It is by far the best book on fasting the world has ever seen and I have read them all!; It is now, my great honor to present this to you and I am deeply appreciative of your support!

Future Directions And Limitations

16:8 Intermittent Fasting Protocol I

More studies are needed to evaluate mechanisms, efficacy in humans, target populations and safety of intermittent fasting. There are numerous intermittent fasting regimens ranging from 12 to 16-hour daily fasts to 5:2 strategy and it remains uncertain which strategy is the best for cardiovascular health especially with evidence suggesting that intermittent fasting regimens should follow circadian rhythms. Certain regimens may be easier to adhere to than others. Future studies should also investigate the safety of each intermittent fasting strategy as well.

Recommended Reading: What Is The Average Weight Loss With Intermittent Fasting

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