Reducing the number of calories you consume can improve your metabolic health, according to researchers. Experts say cutting out at least 300 calories can help you manage blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels.
For the study, a team from the Duke University in North Carolina (US), studied biomarkers for metabolic syndrome with a group that consumed fewer calories and compared the data to a controlled group. 143 people participated in the study. A follow-up after two years revealed those that consumed fewer calories lost almost 16 pounds.
“Two years of moderate calorie restriction significantly reduced multiple cardiometabolic risk factors in young, non-obese adults,” concluded the study concluded. “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.”
While animal studies have found a link between caloric reduction and improvements in health, this is the first study to be conducted on humans. "The question is does caloric reduction extend life span or health span — the period between birth and when people develop diseases,” Dr William Kraus, director of clinical translation at the Duke Molecular Physiology Institute, told a news portal. Adding, “In all organisms, caloric restriction seems to affect both, while exercise affects health span but not life span.”
Kraus further explained: “Caloric restriction in this study improved [the biomarkers] dramatically early, and maintained improvements in all five of these parameters rather remarkably."
Even though the outcome of this study is positive, some nutritional experts believe what you eat is more important than how much you eat. “It’s important to note that in our diet-obsessed culture, ‘calorie-restricted diets’ are often seen as anything lower than 1,600 calories, sometimes as low as 1,000 to 1,200 calories per day,” Rachel Fine, a registered dietitian, told a news portal. Adding, “To suggest health benefits from reducing one’s caloric intake by 300 calories, all factors of the person’s lifestyle must be taken into account.”
The study's findings were originally published in the journal The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology.