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Dietary weight loss protects the heart in obese women

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By David Liu, PHD

Sunday Aug 25, 2012 (foodconsumer.org) -- A small trial in the Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance suggests a moderate weight loss induced by a hypocaloric diet (low calorie diet) may help protect cardiac function in obese women.  The study showed that dietary weight loss reduced myocardial triglyceride content in women with obesity or overweight.

Myocardial triglycerides, which are high in people with obesity and or type 2 diabetes mellitus, are indicative of impaired cardiac function, according to the authors.  Specifically, elevated myocardial triglyceride content is linked to impaired left and right ventricular function in men with type 2 diabetes mellitus, according to Rutger W. van der Meer of  Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands.

Elevated myocardial triglyceride content has been found in people who had suffered myocardial infarction of heart attack and and physiologically aging males. In the latter case, the increase in myocardial triglyceride content was associated with the age-related decline in diastolic function.

For the current study, Wolfgang Utz of Charité Campus Buch and HELIOS Klinikum Berlin Buch in Berlin, Germany and colleagues asked 35 women who were overweight or obese, but not diabetic to use a hypocaloric diet with either fat or carbohydrate restricted for six months.  Myocardial triglycerides and other anthropometric and metabolic parameters as well as cardio-respiratory function were measured and cardiac structure and function was assessed at baseline and at the end of the trial.

The researchers found weight loss as much as 6.0 kg after six months of caloric restriction was associated with 26 percent reduced myocardial triglycerides.  This similar reduction was observed in both diets, the diet with fat restricted and the diet with carbohydrate restricted.

The study suggests that a moderate weight loss induced by caloric restriction may help protect cardiac function in women with obesity. 

K. Karason of Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden and colleagues reported a study in Obesity Research in 1998 that showed weight  loss in subjects with obesity was associated with improvement in left ventricular diastolic filling and had favorable effects on left ventricular ejection fraction.

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