Science Says Cutting 300 Calories a Day May Benefit Your Heart
Cutting just 300 calories from your daily intake could keep you heart-healthy, researchers revealed after conducting a two-year long study. Moderate calorie restriction in healthy, young to middle-aged adults significantly reduced multiple cardiometabolic risk factors. "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 for pronounced long-term population health benefits," according to a paper published by The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.
The study tested the health impacts of calorie moderation in non-obese adults between the ages of 21 to 50 years old as a way to understand both the short-term and long-term effects of calorie restriction in individuals with "adequate nutrition." Participants were randomly assigned to a 25% calorie restriction diet or an ad libitum control diet. Those who followed the diet lost an average of 16.5 pounds and saw additional health improvements, such as lowered cholesterol and blood pressure, improved insulin resistance and metabolic rates.
Diet participants also received nutrition counseling and had their meals prepared by a clinical center during the first month of the study to demonstrate what a 25% calorie reduction looked like. However, researchers did not try to change participants' basic diets. Ischemic heart disease, which occurs when arteries fail to deliver oxygen-rich blood to the heart, has been the leading cause of death across the globe since 2000, according to the World Health Organization. "Exercise and diet are the two most profound and easily implemented interventions we have in our environment that can reduce our cardiovascular risks," said Dr. William Kraus, distinguished professor at Duke University School of Medicine, in an interview with CNN.
So, what are some 300-calorie foods worth cutting from your daily diet? Six Oreos, a slice of cheese pizza, two chocolate chip cookies, a serving of macaroni and cheese, and three ounces of cheddar cheese. Consider swapping out those mid-afternoon snacks with a healthy smoothie or seasonal fresh fruit instead for improved heart health.