Cut those calories: Eating less is good for your heart, finds study

Researchers found eating 300 calories less a day can help to improve heart health. Source: Getty

It may be time to give those extra few biscuits or sneaky packet of chips a miss with a new study revealing the benefits of cutting back calories, including a lowered risk of heart disease.

While those treats are enjoyed at the time, researchers from the Duke University School of Medicine have claimed it’s best to avoid overdoing it on the food department and advised eating 300 fewer calories a day.

Even for the fit and lean, eating less calories was seen as a positive for health as it helped to decrease blood pressure and bad cholesterol, putting less strain on the heart.

To come to this conclusion researchers followed the health journeys of 238 healthy adult study participants who were put on specific diets in three clinical centres across the United States.

A total of 218 participants were asked to follow a 25 per cent calorie restricted diet for two years with their cardio metabolic risk factors such as cholesterol and blood pressure measured over time. Meanwhile the remaining participants were allowed to eat as they usually would.

Throughout the period they managed to reduce their calorie intake by 11.9 per cent, instead of the full 25 per cent but still saw pleasing results with a calorie decline from 2,467 a day to 2,170.

Over the course of two years the participants on the calorie restricted diet displayed a “persistent” and “significant” reduction in cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

“Two years of moderate calorie restriction significantly reduced multiple cardio metabolic risk factors in young, non-obese adults,” the study published in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology journal explained.

“These findings suggest the potential for a substantial advantage for cardiovascular health of practicing moderate calorie restriction in young and middle-aged healthy individuals and they offer promise of pronounced long-term population health benefits.”

Read more: Most supplements ‘ineffective’ in reducing cardiovascular disease: Study

Meanwhile, study senior author Dr. William Kraus explained even the best medication available could not produce the significant health benefits on the heart as the calorie restricted diet.

“Exercise and diet are the two most profound and easily implemented interventions we have in our environment that can reduce our cardiovascular risks,” he said according to CNN.

“There aren’t five drugs on the market when combined that could approach what we saw in this study from moderate calorie restriction.”

Do you follow a calorie restricted diet? Is it something you would be willing to try to improve your heart health?

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.

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