Study: Sensible intermittent fasting can be good for heart health 

Jan 14, 2022, 5:15 PM | Updated: Feb 13, 2023, 1:28 pm

OREM, Utah – Have you ever wondered how effective intermittent fasting is? The hot dieting trend may have health benefits far beyond weight loss, according to researchers.  

Until recent changes in her eating habits, including intermittent fasting, Celeste Allred said she felt a lack of energy and focus. “I had such bad brain fog. I couldn’t focus on anything I couldn’t think I couldn’t,” said Allred, a mother of nine children, who lives in Orem.  

“Even taking simple phone calls was too much.” She said adopting a schedule of intermittent fasting improved her focus and cognition.  

That’s not surprising, said Dr. Benjamin Horne, Ph.D., with the Intermountain Healthcare Heart Institute. “It’s kind of recovering and rejuvenating,” said Horne, the principal investigator and director of Cardiovascular and Genetic Epidemiology.  

In a study presented to the American Heart Association last November, Horne and his team found intermittent fasting, going once a week for 24 hours with only water, reduced inflammation in the body. 

They believe it controls galgectin-3, a protein tied to inflammatory response, reducing the risk of diabetes, coronary disease and heart failure.  

“The lack of food signals to the cells throughout the body that there’s a need to optimize their function,” Horne said. “They do their job better when you move on from the fasting.”  

Over time, regular periods of fasting can reset baseline blood sugars to normal levels, according to Horne. It needs to be sustainable, though, a routine you can stick to.  

Horne and a colleague tried it themselves. “We both lost about 6 pounds,” he said.  

They found after four months of fasting once a week, they were less tempted to snack in between meals, an added benefit he hears about from patients. “They feel like they are more able to control their eating habits rather than having the desire for food controlling them,” he said.  

Intermittent fasting can take on different schedules. Horne said even fasting 12 hours from dinnertime until morning can be beneficial. But generally, the longer you safely stretch those hours, the better. 

Allred said by fasting, she feels better. “I like being able to think,” she said. “I like having energy. I like being able to move. I like being able to take care of my family.”  

She’s making regular periods without food a part of her healthy routine. As is the case with any diet, consult with your doctor first.  

Experts warn that young children and adults with any number of health issues should not fast.  

They are also always concerned that fasting could lead to an unhealthy relationship with food and eating disorders. 

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Your Life Your Health

Lamont Dorrity...
Ayanna Likens

How exercise helps with Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson's disease is affecting more and more people across the nation. While there is no cure, one thing is showing promise in improving symptoms.
4 days ago
Jason Peck with his sons...
Ayanna Likens

How an outpatient program helped Salt Lake man overcome substance abuse

A Salt Lake man is sharing his story of overcoming opioid use and how Intermountain Health's outpatient program helped him.
11 days ago
Doctors are seeing a higher number of adults under 55 diagnosed with colon cancer. (Jeffrey Gray)...
Ayanna Likens

45 is the new 50 when it comes to colon cancer screenings

March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month, and 45 is the new 50 when it comes to colon cancer screenings.
18 days ago
(KSL TV)...
Ayanna Likens

Why helmet safety is important when playing in the snow

All of the recent snowfall in Utah has created every kid's winter wonderland, but if you plan to hit the sledding hill, there are a few things to keep in mind. 
25 days ago
Linda LeCheminant...
Ayanna Likens

Why it’s important to recognize your risk for heart disease 

February is National Heart Month and heart disease is the number one killer in the United States for both men and women. But there are some ways that you can change your lifestyle to help prevent it.
1 month ago
Ross heart procedure...
Ayanna Likens

Complex heart surgery at Primary Children’s is saving lives

February is Heart Health Month, and a young Idaho boy is thriving because of a heart procedure gaining traction at Intermountain's Primary Children's Hospital. 
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Close up of an offset printing machine during production...
Les Olson IT

Top 7 Reasons to Add a Production Printer to Your Business

Learn about the different digital production printers and how they can help your company save time and money.
vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Study: Sensible intermittent fasting can be good for heart health