Can Obsessions Result from Calorie Restriction Society?

By October 29, 2012

There is evidence that consuming 1-2 meals per day may be better for health and longevity from the Caloric Restriction society. What do you think of this? I don’t often think about food, but sometimes can get tired and run down. Isn’t it only a problem if obsessions start? – Thanks Snez

Dear Snez,

I am glad you asked this question, because the Calorie Restriction Society has been in the news, and I believe their messages trigger disordered eating.

First, let me say that this group is out of the mainstream, and their ideas are contrary to those of the majority of nutrition experts in this world. Their recommendations are based on theories; most of the studies they cite were done using animals—such as rodents—with very limited data on people. They make a big jump in trying to make applications to humans.

To promote a healthier weight, most nutritionists recommend that people eat more frequently—three meals a day with healthy snacks as needed, or even six small meals per day. For example, studies have shown that people who eat breakfast consume fewer calories throughout the day and tend to be at a healthier weight than those who skip it. Some researchers believe that eating more frequently contributes to a better metabolism, because the body doesn’t have to slow down to conserve fuel.

Speaking of fuel, our bodies are designed to require a steady source to work optimally. Carbohydrates, in particular, are the best energy-givers. If you are trying to eat only one to two meals per day, it’s no wonder that you feel tired and run down. Your body is telling you that you are not meeting its needs. Read the articles “The Truth about Carbs” and “A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Weight” for more information.

For your own personal health and well being, please stay away from the literature of the Calorie Restriction Society. Instead, for a balanced approach to eating, I’d recommend that you read the book Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole.

Wishing you the best,




I would love to add a little anecdote to this… last year there was a fair bit of conversation going on about CR via an email listserve among disordered eating professionals. Among the dialogue was the claim of the CR society that calorie restriction can lead to an increased life span of 3 – 6 years. But this, weighed against the associated factors, may not mean that much. As one respondent wrote: “It may be possible to live longer through CR, but if it requires being cranky, having bad breath and insomnia, I’m not sure it’s worth it!”

And so it all comes down to your quality of life. The question you must ask yourself is, Do I want to obsess about eating and weight, or do I want to pursue the richness of life. It’s your life. Your call. Choose wisely.