Relation between energy expenditure and body composition in man: specific energy expenditure in vivo of fat and fat-free tissue

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  • L Garby, Unknown
  • J S Garrow, Unknown
  • B Jørgensen
  • ,
  • O Lammert, Unknown
  • K Madsen, Denmark
  • P Sørensen, Denmark
  • J Webster
  • ,
  • Klavs Madsen, Denmark

The relationship between energy expenditure and body composition, in terms of fat and fat-free masses, has previously been described by a variety of predictive regression equations with parameters devoid of physiological content. We present here results obtained by calculating the specific energy expenditure, ie, the energy expenditure per unit of mass, of fat and fat-free tissue on the basis of measurements of the total energy expenditure (EE), the masses of fat (FM), and fat-free (FFM) tissue using the following simple model: EE = k1.FM + k2.FFM where k1 and k2 are the specific energy expenditures of fat and fat-free tissue, respectively. The results of observations on 104 women at rest yielded values for k1 and k2 of 0.31 and 1.35 watts/kg of fat and fat-free mass, respectively, with standard errors of estimate of 0.074 and 0.052 watts/kg, respectively. Analysis of several series of measurements, from other sources and on smaller samples of subjects, yielded similar values at rest but with larger standard errors of estimate. Data from subjects performing varying amounts of work in 24-h measurements showed, as expected, larger values for both tissues. The results explain to a very large extent the well-established relation between resting metabolic rate and body weight, ie, a linear relation with a non-zero intercept. The results also offer a clear-cut explanation for the well known difference in energy expenditure between men and women with the same body weight.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Pages (from-to)301-5
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1988

    Research areas

  • Adipose Tissue, Body Composition, Energy Metabolism, Female, Humans, Mathematics, Models, Theoretical, Physical Exertion, Rest

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