Keeping a track of your calories may do wonders for your heart, weight and blood glucose levels. If the findings of a new study are to be believed, cutting only 300 calories a day may help cut risk of diabetes, cholesterol and heart disease. Even those who have a healthy BMI could benefit immensely, if they were to cut back a few extra calories from their diet, the study reveals. The study was published in the journal 'The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology'.
The trial, part of an ongoing project with the National Institutes of Health, suggested that it's not just weight loss that leads to these benefits but some more complex metabolic change triggered by eating fewer calories than what's expended.
"There's something about caloric restriction, some mechanism we don't yet understand that results in these improvements. We have collected blood, muscle and other samples from these participants and will continue to explore what this metabolic signal or magic molecule might be," said William E. Kraus, the study's lead author.
In the first month of trial, participants ate three meals a day that would cut one-fourth of their daily calories to help train them on the new diet. Participants were asked to maintain the 25 per cent calorie reduction for two years. However, the way they carried it out varied, with the average calorie reduction for all participants being about 12 per cent. Still, were able to sustain a 10 per cent drop in their weight, 71 per cent of which was fat.
There were numerous improvements in markers that measure the risk of metabolic disease. After two years, participants also showed a reduction in a biomarker that indicates chronic inflammation which has also been linked to heart disease, cancer, and cognitive decline.
"This shows that even a modification that is not as severe as what we used in this study could reduce the burden of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. People can do this fairly easily by simply watching their little indiscretions here and there, or maybe reducing the amount of them, like not snacking after dinner," said Kraus.
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