The “hangry” phenomenon is real; it can be quite difficult to maintain a good mood when you are on a calorie-restricted diet…or so I thought. Based upon a recently published study, dieting may be a more pleasant experience than we are inclined to believe.

A study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine found that those on a calorie restricted diet, in general, reported higher scores on various metrics associated with quality of life (1). The study included 220 healthy weight individuals, separated into a calorie-restricted and a control group. The participants in the experimental group met with a health coach and were advised to cut their daily intake approximately 25-percent, while the control group maintained their regular diet. The two groups were then asked to regularly complete questionnaires over the course of the two year examination period. The researchers surprisingly discovered that, in general, those on the calorie-restricted diets reported better scores on the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II), reduced levels of stress, daily tension, improved sleeping patterns, and they also lost more weight than the members of the control group. There were no negative effects on mood or health reported. It deserves to be noted that the participants had a mean age of 38 and were not obese to begin with.

While most do not look forward to decreasing their caloric intake, the results provide evidence that the benefits can outweigh the costs, and the results are often more than skin deep. The results of a successful diet show up in areas of your life which a scale cannot measure.