Shifting focus from calorie counting to nutritional value of foods is good for the heart and could curb the chances of obesity, revealed a new study. The researchers asserted that simple dietary changes could rapidly improve health outcomes at the population level.
Regular consumption of sugary drinks is associated with a significantly increased risk of type 2 diabetes whereas regular consumption of a handful of nuts (30 gm of walnuts, 15 gm of almonds and 15 gm hazelnuts) or four tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (around 500 calories) is associated with a significantly reduced risk of heart attack and stroke.
The Action for Health in Diabetes trial revealed that low calorie diet along with increased physical activity in patients with type 2 diabetes was not associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular death despite significant weight loss and a monitoring period of 13.5 years. The research team insisted that shifting the focus away from calories and emphasizing a dietary pattern that focuses on food quality rather than quantity would help to rapidly reduce obesity and cardiovascular risk besides other related diseases.
The researchers stated that evidence has shown that poor diet was consistently responsible for more disease and death than physical inactivity, smoking and alcohol put together. The team concluded that it was time to stop counting calories and time to instead promote good nutrition and dietary changes that could rapidly and substantially reduce cardiovascular mortality.
The study appeared in the Journal Open Heart.