Heart disease continues to rank as the world's leading cause of death. In the United States alone, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that over 610,000 men and women die each year from heart disease. To put that number into perspective, someone dies every 38 seconds from heart disease. While exercising is one of the best ways to protect against heart disease, a new study has found that reducing your daily intake of calories by 300 can also lower your risk of heart disease.
About the Study
For the study, researchers recruited over 200 men and women and separated them into two groups. The first group consisted of men and women who were allowed to eat and drink whatever they wanted without any restrictions. The second group consisted of men and women who are told to cut their calories by 25%.
Over the course of two years, participants continued to follow the dieting guidelines of their respective group. At the end of the study, researchers were surprised to learn the health benefits experienced by the calorie-cutting group of participants.
While participants in the calorie-cutting group only reduced their daily caloric intake by about 300, they experienced a myriad of health benefits. Participants in this group, for example, lost an average of 11 pounds of body fat. They also reported lower levels of LDL cholesterol, which is considered the "bad" type of cholesterol, as well as higher levels of HDDL cholesterol, which is considered the "good" type of cholesterol.
Furthermore, participants in the calorie-cutting group experienced a heightened sensitivity to insulin, meaning they were less likely to develop diabetes than their counterparts in the other group.
Because of these results, researchers concluded that reducing daily caloric intake by 300 can lower the risk of heart disease. When speaking about the study, researchers explained that they expected to see some health benefits from cutting calories, but they weren't expecting to see such wide-reaching benefits involving heart health.
"We expected some improvement in their biological parameters because they were losing weight,” said the study's lead author in an interview with ABC News.
The bottom line is that don't have to make drastic changes to your diet to promote a healthy heart. Eating and drinking just 300 fewer calories each day can make a dramatic impact on your heart health.
This study was published in the medical journal The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.