Intermittent Fasting: A Heart Healthy Dietary Pattern?

Am J Med. 2020 Aug;133(8):901-907. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2020.03.030. Epub 2020 Apr 21.


Dietary patterns, such as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) and the Mediterranean diet, have been shown to improve cardiac health. Intermittent fasting is another type of popular dietary pattern that is based on timed periods of fasting. Two different regimens are alternative day fasting and time-restricted eating. Although there are no large, randomized control trials examining the relationship between intermittent fasting and cardiovascular outcomes, current human studies that suggest this diet could reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease with improvement in weight control, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and diabetes. Intermittent fasting may exert its effects through multiple pathways, including reducing oxidative stress, optimization of circadian rhythms, and ketogenesis. This review evaluates current literature regarding the potential cardiovascular benefits of intermittent fasting and proposes directions for future research.

Keywords: Alternative day fast; Circadian; Diabetes; Dyslipidemia; Hypertension; Time-restricted feeding.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / metabolism*
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / diet therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus / metabolism*
  • Diet, Ketogenic
  • Dyslipidemias / diet therapy
  • Dyslipidemias / metabolism*
  • Fasting / metabolism*
  • Fasting / physiology
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / metabolism*
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Ketone Bodies / metabolism
  • Obesity / diet therapy
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk Reduction Behavior


  • Ketone Bodies