Did you know cutting calories improves your mood, if if you aren’t overweight? New research indicates doing so also reduces stress level and helps sex drive. The clinical trial for this study was conducted at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, LA.

Positive Changes

Positive biological and physiological changes were noted even among relatively-healthy individuals according to the study’s lead author Corby Martin, the director for behavioral sciences and epidemiology with the center. Participants were asked to restrict their caloric intake by 25% over a two-year period, though most managed to only decrease intake by 12%.

“A 25% reduction in caloric intake for most people is going to be very challenging,” said Dr. Scott Kahan, director of the National Center for Weight and Wellness in Washington, D.C. “Despite only achieving 12%, you still see the really big benefits of that degree of caloric decrease, and we have lots of data from other studies showing even smaller changes lead to very impressive outcomes.”

Over 10%

Those on the calorie-restricted diet lost an average of 17 pounds, or 10% of their initial weight. Researchers found these people enjoyed an enhancement in mood and better quality of life, including less depression. They also improved their relationships and sex drive. Biological changes included better cholesterol, lowered blood sugar, and lowered blood pressure.

“The presumption is that these general health improvements that are really kind of biologically based are reflected in how we subjectively feel,” he said. “We feel as if we have more energy. It’s easier to move around and be more active and not have sore knees or a sore back.”

Study results appear in the online June issue of JAMA Internal Medicine.

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