NEW YORK (CBS) We know a good diet and weight are critical for heart health. Now a new study shows even people who are already at a healthy weight can improve their risk of heart disease and diabetes.
"Caloric restriction even in young people, even in normal weight people can assist in reducing these markers that are predictive of future cardiovascular events. That is important," said Dr. Carl Pieper, who along with other researchers at Duke University Medical Center, looked at 218 normal weight adults under 50-years-old.
One group cut daily calories by 25 percent for two years. The other ate their usual diet. Those cutting about 300 calories a day lost 10 percent of their body weight and significantly improved already good levels of blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and other markers.
While it's not always easy to cut your calories every day at first, researchers say people in the study adapted over time and eventually needed less calories to feel full.
"Just be cognizant of what you are eating, how you are eating and the amount of calories you are putting in," Dr. Pieper said.
Researchers say if you're looking to cut calories, reducing sugar and carbohydrates is a good place to start.