Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 236, Issue 8, pp 2299–2308 | Cite as

Effects of 2-day calorie restriction on cardiovascular autonomic response, mood, and cognitive and motor functions in obese young adult women

  • Rima SolianikEmail author
  • Artūras Sujeta
  • Agnė Čekanauskaitė
Research Article


Although long-term energy restriction has been widely investigated and has consistently induced improvements in health and cognitive and motor functions, the responses to short-duration calorie restriction are not completely understood. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a 2-day very low-calorie diet on evoked stress, mood, and cognitive and motor functions in obese women. Nine obese women (body fatness > 32%) aged 22–31 years were tested under two randomly allocated conditions: 2-day very low-calorie diet (511 kcal) and 2-day usual diet. The perceived stressfulness of the diet, cardiovascular autonomic response, and cognitive and motor performances were evaluated before and after each diet. The subjective stress rating of the calorie-restricted diet was 41.5 ± 23.3. Calorie restriction had no detectable effects on the heart rate variability indices, mood, grip strength, or psychomotor functions. By contrast, calorie restriction increased (p < 0.05) spatial processing and visuospatial working memory accuracy, and decreased (p < 0.05) accuracy of cognitive flexibility. In conclusion, our results demonstrate that although a 2-day calorie restriction evoked moderate stress in obese women, cardiovascular autonomic function was not affected. Calorie restriction had complex effects on cognition: it declined cognitive flexibility, and improved spatial processing and visuospatial working memory, but did not affect mood or motor behavior.


Executive function Grip strength Psychomotor function Spatial working memory Stress Very low-calorie diet 



We thank the volunteers for participating in the study and joint-stock company Kauno Grūdai for supply of the food.

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical standards

All procedures performed in the current study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Kaunas Regional Biomedical Research Ethics Committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Sports Science and InnovationsLithuanian Sports UniversityKaunasLithuania

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