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Arrhythmia

Vigorous supplementation of a hypocaloric diet prevents cardiac arrhythmias and mineral depletion.

Amatruda JM; Biddle TL; Patton ML; Lockwood DH

Am J Med 1983 Jun;74(6):1016-22

We have previously demonstrated that a hypocaloric, nutritionally deficient, liquid protein diet is associated with potentially life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias, which increased in frequency and complexity over the duration of the study. The present investigation was designed to evaluate the metabolic and cardiac changes associated with a hypocaloric, but otherwise nutritionally complete, diet. Six healthy, obese females from 154 to 182 percent of ideal body weight were evaluated in a metabolic ward for 48 days. The subjects ingested a weight maintenance diet during an eight-day period, which was followed by 40 days of an experimental diet containing 472 kcal of a mixture of protein (60 percent of calories), carbohydrate (25 percent), and fat (15 percent). This diet equaled or exceeded the recommended daily allowances for minerals, trace elements, vitamins, and essential fatty acids. The subjects were monitored for balances of nitrogen and minerals, as well as for the appearance of cardiac arrhythmias by 24-hour electrocardiographic recordings. Nitrogen balance was positive, and the previously demonstrated negative balances for potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus were either reversed or markedly decreased. In contrast to our previous study, no arrhythmias were observed in subjects ingesting the present experimental diet, and no significant change in cardiac rhythm was found in 13 obese, but otherwise healthy, outpatients. The data, based on a limited number of subjects, suggest that a hypocaloric diet vigorously supplemented with essential elements, micronutrients, and vitamins appears to be safer than the once popular, incomplete liquid protein preparation.

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