Is Intermittent Fasting Killing People?

Why the headlines about fasting are not very reliable

Gideon M-K; Health Nerd
6 min readApr 9, 2024
All of the stock photos for intermittent fasting are either related to Lent or Ramadan which is delightful but also not quite the direction I wanted for the piece, so enjoy this unhappy plate. Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Intermittent fasting (IF) is the diet choice that we love to hate. Honestly, as someone who has done it, I can see why. Refraining from eating for long periods of time on certain days of the week, or going without entirely for days at a time, is uncomfortable. It makes you grumpy, aloof, and easily annoyed. Food is the best, and eating one of the main pleasures in life. IF is also the subject of a great deal of online debate, with proponents arguing that it can cure or substantially treat half of all human disease while those who dislike the practice argue that it’s dangerous.

And now, evidence reportedly shows that IF is indeed killing people. According to a slew of media stories, a new scientific study has shown that IF is linked to a 91% increased risk of dying from heart disease. It seems like researchers have recently shown that people who use IF in their lives drastically increase their risk of dying of a heart attack.

Except, that’s really not what the research showed at all. This is very preliminary reporting on a study that doesn’t technically look at IF. There may be risks associated with fasting in your life, but this particular study tells us little about those potential problems.

The Study