Rate of weight loss during underfeeding: relation to level of physical activity

Metabolism. 1989 Mar;38(3):215-23. doi: 10.1016/0026-0495(89)90078-4.


The kinetics and bioenergetic-metabolic determinants of weight loss were examined in obese women ingesting 900 kcal/d for 5 weeks. The patients were assigned either to a sedentary group (n = 5) or to an exercise group (n = 6) in which the participants expended an additional (X +/- SD) 346 +/- 61 kcal/d in aerobic physical activity. The percentage weight loss and the fractional rates (K1 = fast component; K2 = slow component) of weight loss were almost identical between the two groups. The failure of added exercise to increase the velocity of weight loss could not be explained by differences between the groups in any of the following: gastrointestinal energy and nitrogen (N) absorption; fractional rates of urinary urea N and total N loss; or the thermic effect of the formula diet. The cumulative and fractional rates of protein (ie N) loss were also similar between the groups. The exercise group lost more fat (5.3 +/- 1.0 kg) than the non-exercise group (4.4 +/- 1.6 kg, P less than .001) as measured by underwater weighing. The maximum between-group difference in the rate of fat loss, as determined by energy-N balance, occurred during early underfeeding. With continuation of the 900 kcal/d diet, the between-group differences in the rate of fat loss diminished. The exercise subjects significantly lowered their resting heat losses relative to the non-exercise subjects (P less than .025). This in turn reduced the degree of negative energy balance in the more energy-deficient exercise group.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Basal Metabolism
  • Diet, Reducing*
  • Energy Intake
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Nitrogen / metabolism
  • Obesity / diet therapy*
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Weight Loss*


  • Nitrogen