Losing weight can be quite the challenging ordeal, especially as we get older. Diets containing less than 1,600 calories per day are typically recommended for those looking to shed pounds, but you might not have to take such a drastic approach after all. New research shows that cutting your daily caloric intake by just 300 can help drop that extra weight and improve your overall health.
A study conducted by researchers from Duke University, aimed to investigate how calorie count affects the biomarkers (substances that indicate the onset of disease) associated with cardiovascular issues like heart disease. Participants were divided into one controlled calorie group and one group who reduced their calorie intake by 300 calories per day over the course of a two-year period. Results showed that participants in the reduced calorie group were able to reduce biomarkers and improve their metabolic health. These participants also lost an average of 16 pounds — and most of the weight that came off was body fat!
What’s more, the study authors concluded that along with weight loss, this moderate calorie reduction resulted in a significant reduced risk of cardiovascular conditions. “The question is, does caloric reduction extend life span or health span — the period between birth and when people develop diseases. In all organisms, caloric restriction seems to affect both, while exercise affects health span, but not life span,” said study author and lead researcher William Kraus, MD, when speaking to The Lancet. And considering that heart disease is the number one killer in the world, that’s a pretty big deal.
Cutting 300 calories out of your diet might seem like a lot, but it isn’t, when you really think about it. US federal guidelines for calorie intake range from 1,600 to 2,400 calories per day for women and 2,000 to 3,000 per day for men. So what does 300 calories actually look like? Well, on average, one slice of pizza clocks in around 300 calories. A bacon, gouda, and egg breakfast sandwich from Starbucks contains about 370 calories, and a regular McDonald’s cheeseburger contains about 300 calories. Just as well, a full blueberry muffin can contain as many as 500 calories! Who knew?
With that being said, swapping out some of your higher calorie go-to foods for healthier options is a great way to reduce your intake. Instead of those foods mentioned above, aim for ones with high nutritional content and less calories, like a grilled chicken salad on a bed of low-cal greens, or a delicious omelette loaded with veggies! Be sure to check out this list of negative calorie foods, which all contain fewer calories than the body burns when digesting them! With the promise of lowering your blood sugar, cholesterol, triglyceride levels, and waist size, the small change will definitely be worth it!