Table of nonprotein respiratory quotient: an update

Can J Sport Sci. 1991 Mar;16(1):23-9.


The purpose of this paper is to point out some limits and inconsistencies in the table of nonprotein respiratory quotient that is universally used. This table, developed by Lusk in 1924, was derived from biochemical and physical data that are now outdated. A new table of nonprotein respiratory quotient, consistent with modern chemical and physical data, is proposed. The revised table is based on (a) the average composition of human triacylglycerol stores, (b) energy potential of fatty acids and glucose, and (c) the volumes occupied by one mole of oxygen or carbon dioxide (which are not ideal gases) under STPD conditions.

MeSH terms

  • Calorimetry, Indirect
  • Carbon Dioxide / metabolism
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Gluconeogenesis / physiology
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Glycolysis / physiology
  • Humans
  • Lipolysis / physiology
  • Mathematics
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology*
  • Reference Values


  • Fatty Acids
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Glucose