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25% of calories burned with exercise are compensated by spending less energy elsewhere

Calorie compensation can reach up to 50% in obese people - explains why it is so hard to lose fat


Key points from article :

Our bodies partially compensate for calories burned during exercise by cutting energy expenditure on vital functions.

Our total energy expenditure (TEE) = basal energy expenditure (BEE) + activity energy expenditure (AEE).

BEE powers digestive, immune, and cardiovascular systems as well as other basic organismal functions.

Our body compensates the energy spent on physical activity (AEE) by cutting down the energy allowance on other processes (BEE).

By using data from over 1000 subjects, researchers proved that the median energy compensation stands at 28%.

Obese people experience significantly more energy compensation – up to 50%.

Three possible reasons for more energy compensation in obese people: genetic predisposition, BMI, and exercise with strict diets.

This study allows understanding the link between exercise and energy expenditure & might help us develop better weight loss strategies.

Study by CAS and others published in Current Biology.

Mentioned in this article:

Click on resource name for more details.

Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)

National scientific institution for natural sciences and high technology development.

Current Biology

Journal providing information from all areas of biology.

John Speakman

Professor at Chinese Academy of Sciences

Topics mentioned on this page:
Exercise, Weight