We already know that following a low-calorie diet can help people to lose weight. But besides weight loss, researchers are now learning that calorie restriction can also do amazing things in the bodies of obese people, including improving heart function and helping with type 2 diabetes. 

Researchers recently presented their results at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America and said that lifestyle interventions — such as calorie restriction — may be more powerful and beneficial for heart health and reversing diabetes than medication. Diabetes affects 25.8 million people in the U.S., and type 2 is the most common form of diabetes, representing 90 to 95 percent of diagnosed cases among adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Now, the study was pretty extreme. Researchers gave 15 obese patients just 500 calories a day for four months. The calorie restriction decreased the patients' average BMI from 35.3 to 27.5 and the visceral fat around their hearts went from an average of 39 milliliters to 31 milliliters. This fat is detrimental to cardiac function. Fourteen months after the study, the patients' BMI increased to 31.7, but the visceral fat around their hearts only increased to 32. Therefore, researchers concluded that calorie restriction improved heart health, even when some weight was regained. 
With calorie restriction so drastic in the study, researchers caution that it is to only be done under a doctor's close supervision. Not to mention that most low-calorie diets recommend that you eat no fewer than 1,200 calories a day — let alone only 500.
Do you eat a lower-calorie diet? Will you follow this research on calorie restriction?

 

Jennipher Walters is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites FitBottomedGirls.com and FitBottomedMamas.com. A certified personal trainer, lifestyle and weight management coach and group exercise instructor, she also holds an MA in health journalism and regularly writes about all things fitness and wellness for various online publications.

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