All About Cardiac Coherence Diet

All About Cardiac Coherence Diet

Losing weight by reducing stress through a simple breathing method like air is the principle of this “diet”. How does it work and how to put it into practice? Details.

Profile Balanced diet, no restriction, awareness of how we eat, what is ingested
Principle Reduce stress (and therefore storage due to cortisol, the stress hormone) and control your emotions (and avoid emotional pounds) with regular breathing exercises
Strong points Rebalancing of long-term dietary intake + stress reduction
Weak points Very gradual weight loss

How it works?

It is often because we manage badly his stress which we enlarge or does not manage to lose weight.Stress increases the level of cortisol, a responsible hormone that promotes storage of sugar, reduces muscle mass, changes the storage of water and fluids in the body. Chronic high cortisol levels result in a higher waist circumference.

Moreover, stress and poorly managed emotions push us to nibble more, to compensate with food. We can imagine that reducing stress also reduces unnecessary food intake.
How to reduce stress and control emotions easily? By practicing each day a rhythmic breathing which induces a physiological state called cardiac coherence.
Cardiac coherence is a scientifically validated method of controlling stress and excess cortisol. It synchronizes the rhythm of the heart with that of breathing, thanks to a slow, ample and regular breathing of 6 cycles per minute (each cycle being composed of an inspiration of 5 seconds followed by an expiration of 5 seconds). Performed 5 minutes in a row, this frequency breathing 6 reduces the level of stress.

Thanks to the cardiac coherence it is possible to resume contact with his feelings of hunger, taste, satiety by working his attention on these bodily signals. By being more aware of one’s emotions and signals, it is possible to reduce food intake and stop eating too much in response to stress.

Dr. David O’Hare, a global specialist in cardiac coherence, came up with the idea of ​​applying this anti-stress method to weight management. In his book Lose weight by heart coherence, he explains how to practice this method in a goal of thinness and how it helps to eat more in consciousness. It presents a complete program anti-stress and anti-weight gain, without diet.

What does the research say?

There are many studies on stress-related eating behavior and mindfulness meditation. But the latter induces a physiological state similar to that reached by the cardiac coherence. Here are some interesting studies on this body-mind weight loss method.

A British study published in 2001 compared the waist circumference of a group of educated people to cardiac coherence exercises with that of another group who had not learned this method. (1) Result: The abdominal perimeter of the group resulting in cardiac coherence has decreased significantly and sustainably, this reduction of fat mass is still maintained six months after the exercises, without further intervention.

In 2011, researchers at the University of California at San Francisco evaluated the effects of a stress management and self-awareness program on obese women.(2)
For 9 weeks, 24 women (out of 47 followed) took part in a program to help them manage their stress and take better control of their sensations related to food: feeling hungry, pleasure and satiety. To this method of “mindfulness” was added 30 minutes of meditation every day. No diet was asked of the 47 participants even though all of them took a course on the benefits of a balanced diet and physical activity.
Results: Women who had better body awareness and appetite-related cues experienced a greater decrease in their stress levels, cortisol levels, and abdominal fat.

In 2014, a study by researchers at the Rush University of Medicine in Chicago compared the effects of mindfulness (a condition close to that achieved with cardiac coherence) to those of behavioral psychology and those of a a program that uses mindfulness + behavioral psychology on the eating habits of women at risk of obesity. (3) These volunteers had high levels of stress and compensatory eating behaviors related to stress. Mindfulness alone and behavioral psychology alone have reduced stress and stress-related eating. But it is the combination of mindfulness + behavioral psychology that has proven to be the most effective. A combination close to the method proposed by Dr. O’Hare in his book.

In practice

If you have high levels of stress, if you are clinging to food or comfort foods to manage your emotions or stress, the cardiac coherence “diet” should be helpful. It allows for continued balanced eating and, practiced in the long run, will have positive effects on overall health and not just on weight. In terms of lost pounds, do not expect quick miracles but weight loss can be more durable and without yo-yo effect, since it is a global “reprogramming”.


(1) FMCG FTSE 100 Study, Hunter Kane, United Kingdom, 2001. 
(2) Daubenmier J, Kristeller J, Hecht FM, Maninger N, Kuwata M, Jhaveri K, Lustig RH, Kemeny M, Karan L, Epel E. Mindfulness Intervention for Stress Eating to Reduce Cortisol and Abdominal Fat Among Overweight and Obese Women: An Exploratory Randomized Controlled Study. J Obes. 2011; 2011: 651936. 
(3) Corsica J, Hood MM, Katterman S, Kleinman B, Ivan I.: Development of a novel mindfulness and cognitive behavioral intervention for stress-eating: a comparative pilot study. Eat Behav. 2014 Dec;15(4):694-9.