Calorie restriction can lead to a happier relationship, study shows
Add a happier marriage to the benefits gained from restricting calories in one’s diet.
According to a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, when generally healthy adults were asked to restrict their daily calories by 25 percent, every aspect of their lives improved, including factors that affected the stability of their marriages.
For the study, 218 adult men and women were analyzed, with BMIs ranging from 22 to 28, for two years. One group was asked to restrict daily calories by 25 percent and people in the other acted as a control and ate whatever they wanted. A series of self-report questionnaires were given to participants to assess the participants’ quality of life, sleep, mood and sexual function.
Researchers found the calorie restrictions had only positive effects on the participants’ overall health over the two-year period. In fact, reduced calories were found to reduce depression and enhance sleep quality and sexual activity. The restricted-calorie group shed an average of 16.7 pounds, while the control group failed to lose more than a pound.
“What people report is that after they ‘get over the hump’ and start to lose weight, their hunger levels subside a bit and they start to feel the benefits of the weight loss,” a scientist involved in the study told New York Magazine. “They find it easier to move around, their joints hurt less, they feel better.”
Not only is cutting back on calories essential in the weight-loss process, but getting nutrients from a sufficient amount of healthy foods is just as important.
According to an article by the Huffington Post, there is a direct relationship between how many fresh fruits and vegetables an individual consumes and his or her mood. People who eat more fruits and vegetables are found to be calmer, happier and more energetic than those who don’t.
“The reason for this is that fresh fruits and vegetables are high in levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, as well as the hormone melatonin, which increase happiness, relaxation, restful sleep, and memory,” Dr. Michael Greger, who has reviewed several health studies, told the website.
Since it is difficult to diet alone, it’s helpful when couples team up to lose weight together, according to WebMD. “With better health as a mutual goal, decisions about what foods to buy and prepare and where to dine out are typically easier for couples determined to lose weight.”
Although you and your partner may be teaming up to reach a common weight-loss goal, it is important to recognize that men and women have different biological makeups, which can affect what and how much food they eat. “Men can eat more than women without gaining, and lose weight by cutting back less,” Cynthia Sass, co-author of “Your Diet Is Driving Me Crazy,” told WebMD. Generally men are larger than women; therefore they can consume more calories.
Though the new study showed some benefits of calorie restriction, Jennifer Lea Reynolds, writing in the Huffington Post, observed if calorie restriction becomes extreme, it can be a factor in causing eating disorders and poor body image.