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Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 May;97(5):990-4. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.112.050310. Epub 2013 Mar 27.

Weight loss, weight maintenance, and adaptive thermogenesis.

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Department of Human Biology, Nutrition and Toxicology Research Institute Maastricht, Maastricht University, Maastricht, Netherlands.

Erratum in

  • Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Nov;100(5):1405.



Diet-induced weight loss is accompanied by adaptive thermogenesis, ie, a disproportional or greater than expected reduction of resting metabolic rate (RMR).


The aim of this study was to investigate whether adaptive thermogenesis is sustained during weight maintenance after weight loss.


Subjects were 22 men and 69 women [mean ± SD age: 40 ± 9 y; body mass index (BMI; in kg/m(2)): 31.9 ± 3.0]. They followed a very-low-energy diet for 8 wk, followed by a 44-wk period of weight maintenance. Body composition was assessed with a 3-compartment model based on body weight, total body water (deuterium dilution), and body volume. RMR was measured (RMRm) with a ventilated hood. In addition, RMR was predicted (RMRp) on the basis of the measured body composition: RMRp (MJ/d) = 0.024 × fat mass (kg) + 0.102 × fat-free mass (kg) + 0.85. Measurements took place before the diet and 8, 20, and 52 wk after the start of the diet.


The ratio of RMRm to RMRp decreased from 1.004 ± 0.077 before the diet to 0.963 ± 0.073 after the diet (P < 0.001), and the decrease was sustained after 20 wk (0.983 ± 0.063; P < 0.01) and 52 wk (0.984 ± 0.068; P < 0.01). RMRm/RMRp was correlated with the weight loss after 8 wk (P < 0.01), 20 wk (P < 0.05), and 52 wk (P < 0.05).


Weight loss results in adaptive thermogenesis, and there is no indication for a change in adaptive thermogenesis up to 1 y, when weight loss is maintained. This trial was registered at as NCT01015508.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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