Caloric restriction, resting metabolic rate and cognitive performance in Non-obese adults: A post-hoc analysis from CALERIE study

J Psychiatr Res. 2020 Sep;128:16-22. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2020.05.018. Epub 2020 May 25.


Physical activity (PA) has been proposed as a determinant of cognitive function and is one component of energy balance (EB). EB is the difference between energy intake (EI) and the total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). TDEE is a combination of resting metabolic rate (RMR), thermic effect of food and PA. The potential role of each of these components on cognitive function has not yet been systemically investigated. We aim to evaluate the association between each component of EB on cognition, using baseline and longitudinal data from a clinical trial of caloric restriction (CR). This is a parallel-group, randomized clinical trial comparing two years of 25% CR with two years of ad libitum diet (AL), with 220 healthy volunteers of both sex, aged between 21 and 50 years and initial BMI ≥ 22 kg/m2 and <28 kg/m2. Body weight, fat mass (FM), fat-free mass (FFM), and bone mineral content were evaluated, as well as RMR, TDEE, cognitive performance and baseline energy intake. A 30 min/day of a moderate level on a minimum of 5 days/week was advised as PA measure. Longitudinal analysis demonstrated that the influence of CR in the improvement of cognitive performance was moderated by changes in RMR, suggesting that in individuals submitted to CR, the cognitive performance and the RMR improved proportionally, independently of changes in EI and body mass. EB and homeostasis are crucial to modulate the RMR. Moreover, RMR presents an important influence on cognitive function in individuals submitted to CR in a long term.

Keywords: Caloric restriction; Cognitive function; Cognitive performance; Energy balance; Resting metabolic rate.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Basal Metabolism*
  • Body Composition
  • Caloric Restriction*
  • Cognition
  • Energy Intake
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Young Adult