Energy expenditure during overfeeding

A.M. Joosen*, K.R. Westerterp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

35 Citations (Web of Science)


ABSTRACT: The large inter-individual variation in weight gain during standardized overfeeding together with a weight gain that is often less than theoretically calculated from the energy excess suggest inter-individual variation in the ability to increase energy expenditure above obligatory costs. The question is whether there is experimental evidence for adaptive thermogenesis. From the numerous human overfeeding experiments we selected those studies that applied suitable protocols and measurement techniques. Five studies claimed to have found evidence for based on weight gains smaller than expected or increased thermogenesis above obligatory costs. Results from the other 11 studies suggest there is no adaptive thermogenesis as weight gains were proportional to the amount of overfeeding and the increased thermogenesis was associated with theoretical costs of an increased body size and a larger food intake. These results show that in humans, there is still little evidence for adaptive thermogenesis. However, they do not rule out the existence, but emphasize that if present, adaptive changes in energy expenditure are rather small. In addition, it is not clear in which component or components of total energy expenditure adaptive changes can occur and whether components can overlap due to measurement limitations. AU - LA - ENG PT - JOURNAL ARTICLE DEP - 20060712 TA - Nutr Metab (Lond) JID - 101231644
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25
JournalNutrition & Metabolism
Issue number25
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006

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