In a new study, researchers found that even restricting calorie intake moderately can strongly reduce the risk of a heart attack in people who are only slightly overweight.
They found that healthy, relatively young people can gain a big health benefit if they lose just a bit of weight.
The two-year research was done across three clinics in the United States and coordinated at Duke University.
The trial of people aged 21-50 years old drew interest from 10,856 hopeful participants. Ultimately, 117 on the diet and another 75 put in the control group completed the study.
People on calorie control were fed a healthy diet, with the reduction in abdominal fat being an essential goal in the improvements identified in the study.
The team found that reducing calorie intake can help decrease the risk of heart disease.
The participants had major improvements on a range of risk factors linked to problems such as type 2 diabetes, stroke, inflammation and some forms of cancer.
The team estimated that the participants had 13-times lesser risk of developing heart disease.
The health outcomes are improved when weight loss is sustained, with some benefits only observed after one year.
The findings provide further evidence that the effort to treat highly prevalent chronic diseases might be better focused on prevention through the implementation of a healthy lifestyle.
Many age-associated chronic diseases begin early in life and progress over decades of unhealthy diet and lifestyles.
They trigger a wide range of physiologic, metabolic and molecular changes deeply influencing the medical conditions.
The study shows that even healthy young and middle-aged people can benefit from focusing on their calorie intake.
Minor changes at any time of life could make a big difference.
This is the first study to show that the results of moderate calorie restrictions in non-obese people with clinically normal risk factors
One author of the study is Professor Luigi Fontana.
The study is published in the prestigious journal Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.
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