Calorie restriction is something most people associate with weight loss programs. But today, scientists are learning that restricting calories—no matter what weight you are—can come with some impressive benefits.
In a new study, researchers evaluated the effects on calorie restriction in 220 non-obese adults with BMIs from 22 to 28. These people were divided into two groups: two years of 25 percent calorie restriction, or two years of eating their preferred amount of calories.
All of the participants completed questionnaires at the beginning and end of the study. The study authors used these to evaluate changes in mood, quality of life, sleep and sexual function.
After two years, the people in calorie restriction group lost an average of almost 17 pounds. Those in the other group lost less than a single pound.
But that wasn’t the only big difference.
The calorie restriction group also experienced improved mood, less tension and better health. They had more vigor, a greater sex drive and improved sleep by the end of the first year. And the bigger the weight loss, the greater the effects.
The study authors note that, in the past, calorie restriction has found to provide these same benefits in obese subjects. Now, the present study suggests it can provide similar improvements—without negative consequences—in people of healthier weight.
One of the easiest ways to practice calorie restriction is with daily intermittent fasting. The concept is simple: just set aside an eight to 12 hour time window each day for eating and don’t eat during the remaining 12 to 16 hours.
This triggers changes in the body that promote weight loss and have a positive influence on lifespan.
Study Links Some Positive Effects to Calorie Restriction in Nonobese Adults. Press Release. The JAMA Network. May 2016.
Another case against the midnight snack. Press Release. Salk University. Dec 2014.