Cutting 300 calories - the equivalent of a six-Oreo after dinner snack - from your daily diet could reduce your risks for diseases like diabetes and heart disease, new research suggests.
And it holds true even if you're already at a healthy weight.
Researchers at Duke University had 218 dedicated study participants reduce their daily calories by a quarter - though that proved unsustainable for some - for two years.
At the end of their extended diets, the participants not only lost weight and kept it off, but their risks for metabolic diseases like diabetes decreased, as did their overall levels of inflammation.
Though they can't say why, the study authors think there's something about even a little calorie restriction - like skipping dessert - that's good for us, even if we're not overweight.
Why you should just say no to the doughnut: New research suggests that cutting a dessert's worth of calories from your diet may reduce disease risks - even if you're a healthy weight
Obesity, excess weight and metabolic diseases have proven to be some of the most damning indicators for Americans' health.
Even before weight problems reach the level of obesity, eating more than we need - especially of highly processed foods, sugars, excessive carbohydrates, fats and red meat - can cause inflammation.
Systemic inflammation is commonly linked to the Western diet, and is a significant risk factor in the development of metabolic diseases like diabetes, as well as heart disease, Alzheimer's, cancer and speed aging in general.
Among the diet strategies being explored to side-step these effects is calorie restrictive eating.
On a calorie restriction diet, people - or lab animals, from which we get much of our current data on long-term calorie restriction diets come - people are supposed to get all the same nutrients they would get from their typical meals.
Animal evidence suggests that cutting daily caloric intake by 10 to 40 percent may reduce risks of diseases and cancers.
Calorie restriction's benefits are obvious for people who tend to overeat or have BMIs of 25 or higher.
But according to the new research, shaving a few more calories