Crash diets 'can have implications for heart health'

Scientific Company News

People with heart health problems have been cautioned against embarking on crash diets without first contacting their doctor, following a new study.

The University of Oxford research used magnetic resonance imaging to investigate the impact of a very low-calorie diet on heart function and the distribution of fat in the abdomen, liver and heart muscle among 21 people with obesity.

“Crash diets can cause transient deterioration in heart function, meaning patients with heart disease need to take precautions.“

After one week, total body fat, visceral fat and liver fat had all significantly fallen by an average of six percent, 11 percent and 42 percent respectively, accompanied by significant improvements in insulin resistance, fasting total cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose and blood pressure.

However, after one week, heart fat content had risen by 44 percent, with a corresponding deterioration in heart function, including the heart's ability to pump blood. This later improved and would probably not be noticed by otherwise healthy people, but for those with a history of heart problems, this could pose risks.

Lead author Dr Jennifer Rayner, clinical research fellow at the Oxford Centre for Magnetic Resonance at the University of Oxford, said: "If you have heart problems, you need to check with your doctor before embarking on a very low calorie diet or fasting."

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