Challenges in defining successful adherence to calorie restriction goals in humans: Results from CALERIE™ 2

CALERIE™ Phase 2 Study Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The Comprehensive Assessment of Long-term Effects of Reducing Intake of Energy (CALERIE™) phase 2 trial tested the effects of two years of 25% calorie restriction (CR) on aging in humans. CALERIE 2 was one of the first studies to use a graph of predicted weight loss to: 1) provide a proxy of dietary adherence, and 2) promote dietary adherence. Assuming 25% CR, each participant's weight over time was predicted, with upper and lower bounds around predicted weights. Thus, the resulting weight graph included a zone or range of body weights that reflected adherence to 25% CR, and this was named the zone of adherence. Participants were considered adherent if their weight was in this zone. It is unlikely, however, that the entire zone reflects 25% CR. Objectives: To determine the level of CR associated with the zone of adherence and if the level of CR achieved by participants was within the zone. Methods: Percent CR associated with the upper and lower bounds of the zone were determined via the Body Weight Planner ( for participants in the CALERIE 2 CR group (N = 143). Percent CR achieved by participants was estimated with the intake-balance method. Results: At month 24, the zone of adherence ranged from 10.4(0.0)% to 19.4(0.0)% CR [Mean(SEM)], and participants achieved 11.9(0.7)% CR and were in the zone. Conclusion: The results highlight the challenges of: 1) setting a single CR goal vs. a range of acceptable values, and 2) obtaining real-time and valid measures of CR adherence to facilitate adherence.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111757
JournalExperimental Gerontology
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022


  • Adherence
  • Calorie restriction
  • Dietary adherence
  • Energy intake
  • Intensive lifestyle intervention
  • Lifestyle change
  • Weight graph
  • Weight loss


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