Effects of caloric restriction on human physiological, psychological, and behavioral outcomes: highlights from CALERIE phase 2

Nutr Rev. 2021 Jan 1;79(1):98-113. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nuaa085.


Caloric restriction (CR) is a strategy that attenuates aging in multiple nonhuman species. The Comprehensive Assessment of Long-term Effects of Reducing Intake of Energy (CALERIE) trials are part of a research program aiming to test the effects of CR on aging and longevity biomarkers in humans. Building on CALERIE phase 1, CALERIE phase 2 (CALERIE 2) was the largest study to date to assess sustained CR in healthy humans without obesity. In a 24-month randomized controlled trial comprising 218 participants at baseline, CALERIE 2 showed that moderate CR, 11.9% on average, induced improvements in aging-related biomarkers without adversely affecting psychological or behavioral outcomes. The objectives of this report are to summarize and review the highlights of CALERIE 2 and report previously unpublished results on eating disorder symptoms and cognitive function. This article specifically summarizes the physiological, psychological, aging, behavioral, and safety results of the trial. Also provided are research directions beyond CALERIE 2 that highlight important opportunities to investigate the role of CR in aging, longevity, and health span in humans.

Keywords: aging; longevity; metabolism; quality of life; randomized controlled trial.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aging*
  • Biomarkers / analysis*
  • Caloric Restriction*
  • Energy Intake*
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Longevity
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritional Status
  • Obesity
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers