ZocdocAnswersIs fasting beneficial or harmful for my heart health?

Question

Is fasting beneficial or harmful for my heart health?

I recently came across an article in relation to intermittent fasting and how it can be protective against heart disease. It showed that those who ate less, and those who fasted once a week for 24 hours, were less likely to suffer from heart attacks or other diseases. On the flip side of this, I have also read that yoyo dieting and extreme dieting, such as starvation or going without food, can have negative implications against heart health. I am unsure which direction I should take, as intermittent fasting does seem to have other positive side effects. Is fasting a good idea to increase heart health? I am average weight and eat an average diet.

Answer

Glad to hear that you are concerned about your overall health and also your heart health. I recommend speaking with your doctor, who can help you more specifically. There certainly are many fad diets out there that can be detrimental to your long term health. Many of these offer the promise of quick results with minimal effort, but most of us in life know that you get what you pay for. In the case of your overall health, the effort that you put into it will usually determine the reward and output that you get. While many of the yoyo diets and extreme fads that are in style can be detrimental, moderating your diet and activity levels to ideal levels offers obvious advantages. Fasting for short periods of time can be advantageous in helping your body to mobilize different hormones that are often repressed in times of being in a well fed state. These can offer some short term benefits, but the research suggesting long term benefits is less clear. Most of this research is done in animals rather than humans. While there are obvious benefits to regulating your caloric intake, the best way for you may be --up to you. Your doctor will be able to help you with more suggestions and specifics, so please speak with your doctor before starting any change in diet or exercise.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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