Dieting can help you lose weight, resulting in other health benefits such as lower blood pressure, improved cholesterol levels and even reversing diabetes--all conditions that if not properly managed, can put you at greater risk for heart disease and stroke.
But heart patients should think twice before taking a "crash diet" approach to weight loss. According to a recent study, very low calorie diets (600-800 kcal per day) helped reduce total body fat, abdominal fat and liver fat. However, after one week of the diet, heart fat content rose 44 percent, weakening the heart's ability to function.
Dr. Timothy Kreth says managing weight long term is key in overall health and keeping heart disease risk factors at bay. "When it comes to losing weight and keeping it off, quick fixes just don't work," said Dr. Kreth, cardiologist at Saint Thomas Health. "Slow and steady weight loss is what lasts, providing long term health benefits, as very rapid weight loss frequently results in "yo-yo" dieting, where the patient initially loses weight, then rebounds back up to a heavy weight. The best health benefits come from a continued and sustained lifestyle change to keep the weight off and remain at your ideal body weight."
Looking to shed a few pounds? Try these tips for making weight loss stick, not the extra pounds:
- Cut out sugary drinks. Fruit-infused water is a tasty and refreshing alternative.
- Always use portion control. Limit highly processed foods and opt for lean meats, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables.
- Be accountable. A food diary and exercise partner can help keep you on track.
- Talk to your doctor. Your physician can help you set attainable nutrition and exercise goals.
To speak with an expert at Saint Thomas Health about how healthy diet and lifestyle can help reduce the risk for heart disease, please call me at 931-247-3527.