Diet: Just saving 300 calories a day reduces the risk of diabetes, cancer and heart disease

Diet: Just saving 300 calories a day reduces the risk of diabetes, cancer and heart disease

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What does a small daily reduction in calorie intake do?

If people only consume around 300 fewer calories a day, this can already significantly reduce their risk of various diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. This also applies to people with a healthy body weight.

A recent study by Duke University found that reducing food intake by only 300 calories a day can protect against diabetes and heart disease. The results of the study were published in the English language journal "The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology".

218 people took part in the investigation

For their study, the researchers examined 218 participants who were supposed to reduce their daily calorie intake by a quarter for two years. By the end of this period, not only had the people lost weight, but their risk of metabolic diseases such as diabetes had also decreased, as had their general level of inflammation.

Systemic inflammation due to poor nutrition?

Obesity, overweight and metabolic diseases have a detrimental effect on human health. Even before weight problems reach the level of obesity, excessive caloric intake, especially from high-processed foods, sugar, excessive carbohydrates, fats and red meat, can cause inflammation. So-called systemic inflammation is generally associated with the Western diet and represents a significant risk factor for the development of metabolic diseases such as diabetes and heart diseases, Alzheimer's, cancer and aging disorders.

People with a healthy body weight also benefit from lower calorie intake

Animal studies suggest that reducing daily calorie intake by 10 to 40 percent can reduce your risk of disease and cancer. The benefits of calorie reduction are particularly clear for people who tend to overeat or have a BMI of 25 or higher. However, according to the latest findings, it can also be beneficial for people with a healthy body weight to consume fewer calories every day.

How did the study go?

The 218 participants in the study ate three meals a day, which totaled about 75 percent of their typical daily calorie intake. Meals were based on one of four different eating plans. In the first six months of the study, the participants also took part in regular consultations. After this initial phase of the study, researchers continued to ask participants not to consume a quarter of their calories. Most of these people did not manage to follow such a strict diet for two years. However, the average participant was able to eat around 12 percent less food.

What did the diet do?

Even this milder diet allowed participants to lose an average of ten percent of their weight, 71 percent of which was pure fat. During the two-year study, the scientists regularly tested participants' blood and fat samples for biomarkers of the metabolic syndrome, such as insulin resistance, glucose tolerance, high triglycerides and high cholesterol. Blood pressure was also checked. Remarkably, after two years of restricting calorie intake, these biomarkers indicated a reduction in inflammation and thus the risk of heart disease, cancer and cognitive decline. (as)

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Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • William E Kraus, Manjushri Bhapkar, Kim M Huffman, Carl F Pieper, Sai Krupa Das et al .: 2 years of calorie restriction and cardiometabolic risk (CALERIE): exploratory outcomes of a multicentre, phase 2, randomized controlled trial, in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology (query: July 12, 2019), The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology

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