Low Calories In, Plus Low Calories Out, Predicts Weight Gain

The law of conservation of energy is one of the first things they teach in Nutrition 101: energy cannot be created or destroyed, but only transformed from one form to another. In plain English, this means that if you consume food energy, you must account for it as energy dissipated during metabolism (i.e., transformed to other kinds of energy, such as heat) or stored in the body. Body fat regulation is not so simple, because metabolic rate slows during periods of starvation or low calorie intake. David Hume from the University of Cape Town in South Africa, and colleagues, found that physically inactive people who habitually consume low-calorie diets are more likely to gain weight than more physically active people who eat more food. The three-year study used a sophisticated technique called doubly labeled water to measure energy balance. The researchers concluded that increasing caloric expenditure through physical activity might be a more effective way of controlling body fat than caloric restriction. (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 103: 1389-1396, 2016)

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