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Monday, 12 February 2018
Crash diets can cause a deterioration in heart function, according to research. Patients with heart disease should seek medical advice before adopting a very low calorie diet.
Crash diets are more popular than ever. Low calorie diets containing 600 to 800 kcal per day can be effective in losing weight, reducing blood pressure and reversing diabetes. But the effects on the heart have not been studied or probably understood until now.
Research was carried out the University of Oxford using imaging to investigate the impact of a very low calorie diet on heart function. The study was reviewed weekly from week one to eight when it finished.
After one week, it was noted total body fat had significantly fallen, with improvements in insulin resistance, fasting total cholesterol and more. But heart fat content had risen by 44% in some cases. This was attributed to the deterioration in heart function, including the hearts ability to pump.
Interestingly by week eight, heart fat content and function had improved beyond what they had been before the diet began. All other measurements including body fat and cholesterol were continuing to improve.
In instances like this 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.
They discovered that the sudden drop in calories causes fat to be released from different parts of the body into the blood and be taken up by the heart muscle. The heart muscle prefers to choose between fat or sugar as fuel and being swamped by fat worsens its function. After the acute period in which the body is adjusting to dramatic calorie restriction, the fat content and function of the heart improved.
A a key take out from this study is that crash diets would never be something that’s recommended unless under strict instructions to do so from a medical professional.
For more information see below source
SOURCE: European Society of Cardiology (ESC). "Crash diets can cause transient deterioration in heart function." 2 February 2018.