Predicting metabolic adaptation, body weight change, and energy intake in humans

Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2010 Mar;298(3):E449-66. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00559.2009. Epub 2009 Nov 24.


Complex interactions between carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism underlie the body's remarkable ability to adapt to a variety of diets. But any imbalances between the intake and utilization rates of these macronutrients will result in changes in body weight and composition. Here, I present the first computational model that simulates how diet perturbations result in adaptations of fuel selection and energy expenditure that predict body weight and composition changes in both obese and nonobese men and women. No model parameters were adjusted to fit these data other than the initial conditions for each subject group (e.g., initial body weight and body fat mass). The model provides the first realistic simulations of how diet perturbations result in adaptations of whole body energy expenditure, fuel selection, and various metabolic fluxes that ultimately give rise to body weight change. The validated model was used to estimate free-living energy intake during a long-term weight loss intervention, a variable that has never previously been measured accurately.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / physiology
  • Anthropometry / methods*
  • Body Weight / physiology*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Eating / physiology*
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Biological*