SYDNEY, July 12 (Xinhua) -- An international study led by Australian medical researchers has found that reducing calorie intake, even moderately, can significantly reduce the risk of a heart attack.
Published in the prestigious Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology Journal on Friday, the year-long Sydney University authored study was conducted across three clinics in the United States and coordinated at Duke University in Britain.
"This is the first time, to our knowledge, that the results of moderate calorie restrictions have been analysed in non-obese people with clinically normal risk factors," senior author of the paper from the University of Sydney Professor Luigi Fontana said.
"There's no other drug that can achieve these reductions across all conventional cardiometabolic risk factors that we did, through a marginal reduction in calorie intake while providing all the essential vitamins and minerals with food."
With 75 moderately overweight people aged 21 to 50 completing the calorie control study, the participants were found to be 13 times less likely to develop cardiovascular disease than people aged 50 and above with two or more abnormal risk factors.
Researchers said the chance of developing other illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, stroke, inflammation and some forms of cancer were also greatly diminished.
"Modern medicine focuses on diagnosing and treating clinically evident chronic diseases, which are largely preventable, one at a time, mainly with drugs and surgery," Fontana explained.
"The problem of this approach is that many age-associated chronic diseases -- including cardiovascular disease -- begin early in life and progress over decades of unhealthy diet and lifestyles, which trigger a wide range of physiologic, metabolic and molecular alterations deeply influencing the initiation, progression and prognosis of a multiple medical conditions."
"Our study shows that even healthy young and middle-aged people can benefit from focusing on their calorie intake, with indications that in general it is important not to delay; and even minor changes at any time of life could make a big difference."
"This should provide an important new tool in fighting the ravages of the 21st century Western-style lifestyle, with cardiovascular disease continuing to be the leading cause of death and disability worldwide," Fontana concluded.