Objective: Restriction of energy intake produces weight loss, but the rate of loss is seldom sustained. This is presumed to be a consequence of compensatory reductions in energy expenditure, although the exact contributions of different components to the energy budget remain uncertain. We examined the compensatory responses of mice to a 20% dietary restriction.
Research methods and procedures: We measured body mass, body fatness, body temperature, and the components of daily energy expenditure for 50 MF1 mice. Forty mice were then placed on a restricted diet at 80% of their ad libitum intake for 50 days. The remaining 10 mice continued to feed ad libitum. Ten days before the end of the restriction period, the same measurements were taken.
Results: There were no significant differences between the control and restricted groups in any parameters before restriction. During the restriction period, body mass increased in both the control and restricted groups, but at a slower rate in the restricted mice. The control group increased in both fat and fat free mass; however, although the restricted group increased fat to the same extent as the controls, fat free mass increased to a lesser extent. The contributions of the different components of the expended energy to compensate for the reduced energy intake were energy deposition, 2.2%; resting metabolic rate, 22.3%; and activity, 75.5%.
Discussion: Mice were able to compensate almost completely for the restricted energy intake that was achieved by altering the amount of energy required for each component of the energy budget except digestive efficiency.