November 16, While Intermittent fasting may sound like another dieting craze, the practice of routinely not eating and drinking for short periods of time has shown again to lead to potentially better health outcomes. In a new study by researchers at the Intermountain Healthcare Heart Institute in Salt Lake City, researchers have found that cardiac catheterization patients who practiced regular intermittent fasting lived longer than patients who don’t. In addition, the study found that patients who practice intermittent fasting are less likely to be diagnosed with heart failure. In the study, researchers asked 2, Intermountain patients undergoing cardiac catheterization from to a series of lifestyle questions, including whether or not they practiced routine intermittent fasting. Researchers then followed up with those patients 4. Because people who fast routinely also are known to engage in other healthy behaviors, the study also evaluated other parameters including demographics, socioeconomic factors, cardiac risk factors, comorbid diagnoses, medications and treatments, and other lifestyle behaviors like smoking and alcohol consumption. Correcting statistically for these factors, long-term routine fasting remained a strong predictor of better survival and lower risk of heart failure, according to researchers. The Intermountain Healthcare Heart Institute has the opportunity to closely study intermittent fasting because a large portion of its patients do it regularly: a significant portion of Utah’s population belongs the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose members typically fast the first Sunday of the month by going without food or drink for two consecutive meals, and thus not eating for the period of about a day. While the study does not show that fasting is the causal effect for better survival, these real-world outcomes in a large population do suggest that fasting may be having an effect and urge continued study of the behavior.
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Can fasting help or hurt your heart? How does it affect your blood pressure? Do you sometimes fast for religious reasons or as a lifestyle choice? Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services.