Distraction, not hunger, is associated with lower mood and lower perceived work performance on fast compared to non-fast days during intermittent fasting

J Health Psychol. 2015 Jun;20(6):702-11. doi: 10.1177/1359105315573430.


Using a repeated measures design, 16 females recorded hunger, distraction, mood and perceived work performance on two consecutive fast days, on two earlier and on two subsequent consecutive non-fast days, during intermittent fasting. Using regression analyses, low positive mood was associated with higher distraction (β = -0.38, p < 0.01), and lower perceived work performance was associated with higher distraction (β = -0.50, p < 0.01) and lower positive mood (β = 0.59, p = 0.01). No associations were found with hunger (largest β = -0.11, p = 0.15). Associations between mood, perceived work performance and distraction but not hunger mirror those found in traditional dieting and suggest no benefit for attention from intermittent fasting-type regimes.

Keywords: cognitive processing; diet; eating behaviour; mood; weight loss.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect / physiology*
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Fasting / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hunger / physiology*
  • Work Performance*
  • Young Adult