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Perspective: Is the response of human energy expenditure to increased physical activity additive or constrained?

Gonzalez, JT, Batterham, AM, Atkinson, G and Thompson, D (2023) Perspective: Is the response of human energy expenditure to increased physical activity additive or constrained? Advances in Nutrition, 14 (3). pp. 406-419. ISSN 2161-8313

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Open Access URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.advnut.2023.02.003 (Published version)


The idea that increasing physical activity directly adds to total energy expenditure in humans (additive model) has been challenged by the energy constrained hypothesis (constrained model). This model proposes that increased physical activity decreases other components of metabolism to constrain total energy expenditure. There is a logical evolutionary argument for trade-offs in metabolism but, to date, evidence supporting constraint is subject to several limitations including cross-sectional and correlational studies with potential methodological issues from extreme differences in body size/composition and lifestyle, potential statistical issues such as regression dilution and spurious correlations, and conclusions drawn from deductive inference rather than direct observation of compensation. Addressing these limitations in future studies, ideally randomized controlled trials, should improve the accuracy of models of human energy expenditure. The available evidence indicates that in many scenarios, the effect of increasing physical activity on total energy expenditure will be mostly additive – although some energy appears to ‘go missing’ and is currently unaccounted for. The degree of energy balance could moderate this effect even further.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1111 Nutrition and Dietetics
Subjects: T Technology > TX Home economics > TX341 Nutrition. Foods and food supply
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC1200 Sports Medicine
Divisions: Sport & Exercise Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 24 Feb 2023 10:03
Last Modified: 23 May 2023 09:15
DOI or ID number: 10.1016/j.advnut.2023.02.003
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/18945
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