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Lower calorie intake can help reduce chronic inflammation

Friday 22nd July 2016
How lowering calorie intake can help tackle chronic inflammation. Image: 5PH via iStock
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People who suffer from chronic inflammation-related conditions such as heart disease should lower their calorie intake to help reduce their symptoms, a new study suggests.

Doctors at Tufts University in Massachusetts explored how cutting a person's daily calorie intake by 25 per cent over a two-year period affected inflammation and pain in the body.

A total of 220 participants were recruited for the study, with the researchers measuring their body fat and muscle mass at the start of the investigation, as well as after two years of restricting their daily calorie intake.

In addition, doctors monitored three common markers of inflammation - leptin, TNF alpha and C-reactive protein - throughout the course of the study.

After the first 12 months of following a diet that involved 25 per cent fewer calories than they had been eating in the past, it was found that participants' weight, body fat mass and leptin levels were all significantly reduced, but it took a further year for levels of C-reactive protein and TNF alpha to also be lowered.

As a result, this indicates that long-term calorie reduction of two years or more can be highly beneficial in reducing inflammatory markers in the body, helping to lower people's risk of potentially life-threatening conditions, such as heart disease and cancer.

Luigi Fontana, lead author of the study, commented: "These calorie-restricted changes suggest a shift toward a healthy phenotype given the established role of inflammation in the development of cardiovascular disease, cancer and ageing.

"With today's fitness and biometric measurement technology available to the public, it is certainly feasible for the average person to maintain a ten to 15 per cent calorie restriction as a strategy for long-term health benefits."

Fellow research Simin Nikbin Meydani added that he believes this study to prove the effects of one of the most powerful non-genetic interventions that is able to slow ageing and improve people's long-term health.

Written by Martin Lambert

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