Impairment of cognitive performance associated with dieting and high levels of dietary restraint

MW Green, PJ Rogers, NA Elliman, SJ Gatenby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

95 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Seventy women students were tested on a short battery of tasks assessing cognitive performance. They also completed self-report ratings of mood, the Dutch Eating Behaviour Questionnaire (DEBQ) to which was appended several additional items concerning their recent dieting behaviour, and a 24-h dietary recall. Heart rate was measured before and after testing. Compared with nondieting subjects with low to moderate scores on the restraint factor of the DEBQ, subjects (n = 15) who reported that they were currently dieting to lose weight displayed impaired performance on a vigilance task and also tended to show poorer immediate memory and longer reaction times. Highly restrained eaters who were not dieting at the time of testing, on the whale, performed at an intermediate level on these tests. In contrast, the dieters tended to show the best performance on an undemanding finger tapping task, indicating that they were not slowed in their fine motor responses dr lacking in motivation to carry out the tasks. Poorer cognitive functioning during dieting could arise as a direct consequence of the effects of food restriction on energy metabolism or other physiological mechanisms-the dietary records indicated that the current dieters were eating at about 70% of maintenance energy requirement. However, it is also possible that cognitive performance is impaired during dieting due to anxiety resulting from stressful effects of imposing and maintaining dietary restraint.
Translated title of the contributionImpairment of cognitive performance associated with dieting and high levels of dietary restraint
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447 - 452
Number of pages6
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Volume55
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1994

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