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Intermittent fasting diet fad after Christmas could actually send you to an early grave, study finds

Research showed that individuals eating only one meal a day are more likely to die than those who had more daily meals

Pol Allingham
Friday 23 December 2022 11:37 GMT
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Intermittent fasting could actually have a detrimental impact on your health, a study has found.

Popular with a number of celebrities, the diet has people restricting their food intake for periods of time.

However, a new study has shown that those who eat one meal a day and skipping meals is associated with dying from any cause.

The University of Tennessee researchers found skipping breakfast is linked with a higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and missing lunch or dinner is associated with dying from any causes.

Those who eat three meals a day but with at least two meals less than 4.5 hours apart were also more likely to die from any cause.

Researchers suggested this was because skipping meals meant people often consumed a lot more in a short period of time and doing so could overload the metabolism with glucose.

The study found 40 percent of their participants ate less than three meals a day.

Lead author Dr Yangbo Sun, Department of Preventive Medicine, The University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, noted this comes as intermittent fasting becomes an increasingly popular diet.

“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 American adults who eat fewer than three meals each day,” she said.

“Our research revealed that individuals eating only one meal a day are more likely to die than those who had more daily meals.

“Among them, participants who skip breakfast are more likely to develop fatal cardiovascular diseases, while those who skip lunch or dinner increase their risk of death from all causes.

“Based on these findings, we recommend eating at least two to three meals spread throughout the day.”

(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Data from over 24,000 Americans over 40 years old was assessed for the study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Those who at less than three meals a day were more likely to smoke, drink more alcohol, be younger, male, non-Hispanic Black, have less education and a lower family income, be food insecure, and eat less nutritious food, more snacks, and less energy intake overall.

The study’s senior investigator Dr Wei Bao, Department of Epidemiology, College of Public Health, University of Iowa, said skipping meals often means people consume more energy at one time.

Doing so can aggravate the burden of glucose metabolism regulation and deteriorate their metabolism.

He said this could explain the link between having meals in shorter intervals, because to do so would cause a higher energy load in the period.

He said: “Our results are significant even after adjustments for dietary and lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol use, physical activity levels, energy intake, and diet quality and food insecurity.

“Our findings are based on observations drawn from public data and do not imply causality. Nonetheless, what we observed makes metabolic sense.

“Our research contributes much-needed evidence about the association between eating behaviors and mortality in the context of meal timing and duration of the daily prandial period.”

SWNS

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