POST TIME: 10 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Low-calorie diet prompts heart function drop

Low-calorie diet prompts
heart function drop

Very low-calorie diets (VLCD) can cause transient deterioration in heart function, according to a study presented at the European Society of Cardiology's joint EuroCMR/SMCR meeting, held from Jan. 31 to Feb. 3 in Barcelona, Spain. Jennifer J. Rayner, B.M.B.Ch., from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and colleagues examined the impact of rapid mobilization of hepatic fat, triggered by extreme caloric restriction, on myocardial triglyceride and functional decline in 21 obese volunteers. The researchers found that there was a significant reduction in total body fat, visceral fat, and hepatic fat (by 6, 11, and 42 percent, respectively) after seven days of VLCD. This was accompanied by significant and rapid improvements in insulin resistance, fasting total cholesterol, triglycerides, and glucose. Myocardial triglyceride content (MTGC) increased by 44 percent and was correlated with reductions in systolic function and diastolic function. There was a correlation for change in MTGC with change in left ventricular ejection fraction and diastolic function at one week. At eight weeks, there was continuing improvement in peripheral metabolic measurements from baseline, and MTGC and cardiac function had returned to normal.

"The metabolic improvements with a very low-calorie diet, such as a reduction in liver fat and reversal of diabetes, would be expected to improve heart function. Instead, heart function got worse in the first week before starting to improve," Rayner said in a statement.

You know you need to eat less to lose weight, but just the idea of small portion sizes makes you hungry. A 1,200-calorie plan is commonly recommended because it prompts weight loss for the average person, who needs 1,600 to 2,400 calories daily to maintain her weight. Actually, 1,200 calories is about as low as you can go without losing muscle mass and jeopardizing a healthy nutritional status. It's even too low for men, who need a minimum of 1,600 calories a day to support their larger body size and higher amount of muscle mass.

A single meal at some restaurants easily contains more than 1,200 calories, so you have to be diligent in choosing quality foods that fill you up and can be spread out over the course of the day. If you choose foods high in fiber, protein and water, your 1,200-calorie plan won't feel skimpy and leave you hungry.

Although you're trying to save calories, avoid skipping meals -- this can lead to extreme hunger that causes you to overshoot your 1,200-calorie-per-day goal. Instead, divvy your calories out over the course of the day. You may prefer to eat about 400 calories at each of three meals; 350 calories at each of three meals with one 150-calorie snack; or consume three 300-calorie meals with two 150-calorie snacks. Choose a pattern of eating that fits each day's schedule, your hunger levels and energy needs.

At each full meal, plan to have about 1 to 3 ounces of protein, a cup of vegetables and 1 to 3 ounces of whole grains. Adequate protein intake helps keep you feeling satisfied and prevents wild swings in your blood sugar that can cause cravings. Protein also helps you maintain lean muscle mass; losing muscle makes you experience a swift reduction in your metabolic rate. Vegetables and grains contain lots of fiber, which takes longer for you to digest and helps you feel full after meals.