Cutting out the calorie equivalent of a bagel, slice of pizza, side of fries or six Oreo cookies a day can pay off for your heart health and your waistline.
Adults who cut out 300 calories per day could improve cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar and other cardiovascular-related ailments, a new study published in the peer-reviewed “Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology” journal found.
Researchers polled 218 adults under age 50 who were considered healthy, slim or slightly overweight to see if calorie restrictions could lead to significant metabolic changes.
Half of the participants were assigned to cut 25 percent of calories from their regular diet for two years, while the other half were told to continue eating like they normally did during that same period.
The participants on the diet were coached on how to portion control, like eating a 6-ounce cut of meat instead of a 10-ounce. Both groups met with researchers once every six months to track their blood pressure, cholesterol, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome risk.
The dieters who were told to cut 25 percent of their daily calories for two years averaged about half of that at 12 percent (300 fewer calories per day). They were able to lose around 16 pounds, 71 percent of which was fat and showed a decrease in a measurement that shows chronic inflammation that’s also been linked to heart disease, cognitive decline and cancer, according to the study.
Even a slight reduction in calories could reduce the burden of diabetes and cardiovascular disease in the US, Dr. William E. Kraus, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at Duke, noted.
In fact, Kraus said people can trim some of the fat in their own diets just by cutting out a snack or two per day.
How consumers can cut out 300 calories a day
Instead of a bagel or a muffin that has 300 calories to 400 calories, “have a slice of toast instead for just 80 calories,” Dr. Lisa Young, a registered dietitian and author of “Finally Full, Finally Slim,” told MarketWatch.
Young suggests practicing portion control, like having a half a scoop of ice cream instead of a whole one. Three hundred-calorie snacks like a large candy bar could, in fact, be subbed out for half a cup of ice cream.
A tablespoon of olive oil for around 120 calories can replace creamier salad dressings which can clock in at the 300 range and consider having a seltzer or sparkling water in place of a 32-ounce cup of soda.
Heart disease costs the US around $200 billion each year, including the cost of health-care services, medications and lost productivity, according to the CDC.
Around 2,200 people in the US die daily from cardiovascular-related issues, that’s one person every 40 seconds, according to the American Heart Association.
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