• By Vivien Williams

Mayo Clinic Minute: How cutting calories helps your heart

November 7, 2019

Obesity is associated with an increased risk of heart disease. Dr. Stephen Kopecky, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist, says cutting calories may help improve the heart health of many adults, even if they're not overweight.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

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"The average American eats about 400 to 500 more calories than we used to," says Dr. Kopecky.

He says that's helped fuel the obesity epidemic. But for most healthy adults, cutting down just a little bit can help tremendously.

By cutting out 200 or 300 calories a day, you'll likely reduce your daily intake of carbs and fat.

"Every pound of weight we put on is 5 miles of blood vessels. So you do the math. If you're 10 pounds overweight, it's a lot, and your heart gets tired. The blood pressure goes up. The heart attack rates go up, etc.," says Dr. Kopecky.

In addition to decreasing your risk of heart attack, cutting calories also decreases your risk of stroke, diabetes, some cancers and Alzheimer's disease.

"It's not a good thing to have extra calories because our body stores them. If we could just urinate them out, that would be wonderful, but it doesn't happen that way."

What's an easy way to trim some calories? Watch your portion sizes and eat foods based on the Mediterranean diet, which includes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish and olive oil.

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