The article “Eating in a 6-hour window and fasting for 18 hours might help you live longer” published in CNN Health is written by Scottie Andrew and published on January 2nd, 2020. The article covers a research review published in The New England Journal of Medicine by Rafael de Cabo on December 26, 2019. The review takes into consideration multiple studies looking at the impacts of intermittent fasting and its impact on health, longevity and weight loss. The research reviewed included both human and mouse trials that studied the impact of limiting consumption of food to a 6-8 hour period during the day and limiting caloric intake.
The review in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) showed that there is some evidence on intermittent fasting positively impacts longevity, diseases and weight loss. The paper also details and has tips for physicians that are willing to prescribe intermittent fasting to their patients and what type of fasting to offer. The paper also offers cellular theory about why the method works and gives insight on the biological perspective in the papers that also explains the mechanisms proposed as to why fasting is effective. The paper does a great job explaining that this is not a perfect system since it is hard to view as practical in modern day society and a majority of individuals who enroll in the study actually quit early on due to the difficulty of maintaining eating in a small window for months or years. The paper is not available for free to the public, which is a drawback, but signing up for NEJM allows the reader to have access to three free articles, this being one of them.
The CNN article does an exceptional job at communicating the point of the review as well as providing citations to other sources outside the paper that found the same results. The review article focused on advice to individuals considering the diet and physicians who plan to prescribe the fasting to their patients. The review also discusses what is recommended to an individual who is fasting. The scientific was mostly explained and more common words were used instead, while skipping over a lot of the biological steps, but including some words that don’t let the audience feel like they’re being pandered to.
The article does however lack a link to the author’s page and their previous works but searching the author’s name does help find them. Otherwise, Scottie Andrews does an exceptional job at explaining the review and communicating the information.
In an article for CNN, Scottie Andrew reports on a review published in The New England Journal of Medicine. The review complied a collection of past animal and human studies focused on intermittent fasting and discussed findings of the studies related to physical and cognitive improvements as well as health and aging. The review’s conclusions state that intermittent fasting studies have observed health benefits such as longevity, aiding in the treatment and management of chronic diseases, as well as weight loss. The review also discusses some clinical applications of intermittent fasting and provides practical considerations for physicians when prescribing intermittent fasting to patients in the future.
Andrew accurately reports the main conclusions drawn by the review on the various different studies included as well as the practical considerations recommends for physicians. For example, he states in the news article that one study of young men who fasted for 16 hours each day showed fat loss and the ability to retain muscle resistance training for 2 months. This was a study explicitly discussed in the original review regarding the physical and cognitive effects of intermittent fasting and these were the results they presented. He discusses additional studies the original review focused on without over-simplifying or under-simplifying their results. Andrew also incorporates an outside source from within the field in addition to commentary from Mark Mattson, one of the authors of the review. This adds a level of validity and professionalism to the article’s claims.
In the news article, Andrew does not use fear mongering or any sensationalist language. He uses language that is suitable for CNN’s main audience with minimal use of complex scientific jargon. The odd time scientific jargon was included, such as metabolic switching and hypothalamus, a definition is provided. This makes the content of the article more accessible to readers with a limited scientific background.
The few shortcomings of the article include the original review not being publicly accessible. Though a link to the review is included, it is paywalled, making it difficult for those interested the topic to gain more information. Additionally, Andrew’s biography is not accessible, nor are any of his other publications works unless you search up his name.
The views expressed by the reviewers for this article are not endorsed or shared by SciFeye. The interpretation of the review of the news story using the SciFeye Index was done independently by two SciFeye reviewers. We encourage you to conduct your own evaluation of the accuracy and quality of the news story using the Index.