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Am J Clin Nutr. 1985 Dec;42(6):1170-4.

Human energy requirements: overestimation by widely used prediction equation.


Basal energy expenditure accounts for a large component of energy losses, and a clinical estimate of this form of thermogenesis is usually derived from a prediction equation. The most widely used prediction equation was developed in 1919 by Harris and Benedict. The energy requirements of healthy and diseased individuals are often estimated from application of this formula. Using a direct gradient-layer calorimeter and two different indirect calorimeters, our two centers found that the Harris-Benedict equation overestimated basal energy requirements by 10 to 15% (X +/- SD, 12.3 +/- 11%) in 201 studies of healthy men and women. These results raise questions regarding the accuracy of predicting an individual's energy requirements.

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