Faculty Carl Pieper co-authors study showing significant heart and metabolic benefits with a 300 calorie reduction

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Carl Pieper, PhD
Jul. 18, 2019

Caloric restriction(CR) has been shown to have impact on life span in a variety of animals – from yeast, to elegan worms, flies, mice and humans.  However, the mechanism by which CR has this effect has not been demonstrated. In a recent study funded by the NIH and published in the Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, Duke Researchers tracked a group of 218 healthy participants aged 21 to 50 for two years and normal weight, randomized to 25% caloric restriction or ad libitum for 2 years.  Although most of the dieters did not meet that target, they were able to decrease their calorie intake by an 12 percent over 2 years or roughly 300 calories a day and lost on average 16 pounds or 10% of their initial body weight.  The results were significant; they lost weight and body fat, markers of insulin decreased, and cholesterol levels and blood pressure fell as well.  The control group of 75 healthy people who did not practice caloric restriction did not see improvements in these markers.

Co-author Carl Pieper, told Newsweek: "This investigation is extremely important from a public health perspective. Heart disease is the leading cause of disability and death around the world. Thousands of men and women around the world die every day from cardiovascular disease. Even a modification that is not as severe as we used in this study could reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease and diabetes around the world."   According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approximately 610,000 Americans die of heart disease every year.

"We expected there to be improvement on cardiometabolic factors because of weight loss," said William Kraus, the study's lead author and a distinguished professor of cardiovascular genomics at Duke University, as NPR reported. "But ... we didn't expect the degree of improvement we saw."

Read the full article in The Lancet here