July 15 (Health Shots) – When it comes to counting calories, we all just immediately think of weight loss. After all, eliminating certain food groups from your diet and keeping a check on what you eat are the cornerstones of all modern dieting methods. But what if we told you that counting calories can keep your heart in good shape and help you live longer?
According to a research conducted at Duke University School of Medicine and published in the journal Lancet Diabetes And Endocrinology, calorie-restriction diets have ample benefits for heart health. The researchers put over 200 study participants on restricted diets for two years, and studied the effects.
The result? Well, the researchers found that those who were successfully able to maintain the dietary restrictions on calorie intake had significantly lower bad cholesterol readings and were able to maintain healthy blood pressure levels. Moreover, their triglyceride levels—a type of fat found in the blood that increases the risk of heart disease—dropped by 24%.
At the beginning of the study, the researchers had asked the participants to cut down a quarter of their daily calorie intake. Though, the participants could only reduce about 12% of their intake daily, amounting to 300 calories–on the basis of which, these findings were established.
“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, senior author of the study and a professor at Duke University School of Medicine in North Carolina, US. “There aren’t five drugs on the market when combined that could approach what we saw in this study from moderate calorie restriction.”
Now that we know, there is just one question left to answer: what do 300 calories look like? Realistically, what does it mean? A slice of cheesecake, two chocolate-chip cookies, a small packet of potato chips, and one slice of pizza—cut one of these things from your diet, and you would have effectively followed Dr Kraus and his team’s advice.
So the next time you feel like reaching for that pack of biscuits or chips, remember: your heart will thank you for restraining.