Is Caloric Restriction Associated With Development of Eating-Disorder Symptoms? Results From the CALERIE Trial

Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70808, USA.
Health Psychology (Impact Factor: 3.59). 02/2008; 27(1 Suppl):S32-42. DOI: 10.1037/0278-6133.27.1.S32
Source: PubMed


This study tested a secondary hypothesis of the CALERIE trial (Heilbronn et al., 2006) that a 12-month period of intentional dietary restriction would be associated with an increase in eating disorder symptoms.
To test this hypothesis, 48 overweight adults were randomly assigned to four treatment arms in a 12-month study: (1) 25% calorie restriction, (2) 12.5% calorie restriction and 12.5% increased energy expenditure by structured exercise, (3) low-calorie diet, and (4) healthy diet (no-calorie restriction).
Primary outcome measures for the study were changes in: eating disorder symptoms, mood, dietary restraint, body weight, and energy balance.
All three dietary restriction arms were associated with increased dietary restraint and negative energy balance, but not with increased ED symptoms or other harmful psychological effects. Participants in the three calorie restriction arms lost significant amounts of body weight. The psychological and behavioral effects were maintained during a 6-month follow-up period.
These results did not support the hypothesis that caloric restriction causes increased eating disorder symptoms in overweight adults. In general, caloric restriction had either benign or beneficial psychological and behavioral effects.

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    • "Conversely, intervention trials that assigned subjects to weightloss-inducing diets have shown that participants with higher levels of restraint had lower attrition rate (Clark, Marcus, Pera, & Niaura, 1994) and experienced greater weight loss (Foster et al., 1998; Karlsson et al., 1994; Lowe, Foster, Kerzhnerman, Swain, & Wadden, 2001; Stice, Presnell, Groesz, & Shaw, 2005; Williamson et al., 2008). Moreover, results have been further complicated by the fact that restraint has often been associated with disinhibition, which has shown a consistent positive association with BMI (Bellisle et al., 2004; Carmody, Brunner, & St Jeor, 1995; Hays et al., 2002; Lawson et al., 1995) and weight gain (Drapeau et al., 2003; Provencher, Drapeau, Tremblay, Després, & Lemieux, 2003). "
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    • "Studies in humans are ongoing in progress. Preliminary data in humans have shown poor effects on eating disorders when CR was performed for 1 year (CALEIRE study) [166]. By contrast, significant effects were observed when CR was performed for shorter periods (6 months) [167] [168]. "
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