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Am J Clin Nutr. 1989 Jan;49(1):93-6.

Sustained depression of the resting metabolic rate after massive weight loss.

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  • 1Division of General Medicine, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland.


To assess potential long-term effects of weight loss on resting metabolic rate (RMR), the RMRs of seven obese women were measured by indirect calorimetry before weight loss, during a protein-sparing modified fast, and for 2 mo while at a stable reduced weight. Body composition was also determined at each interval. RMR significantly decreased 22% (p less than 0.01) with initiation of the modified fast. RMR values during the modified fast and during the maintenance diet at stable reduced weight were not different and all were significantly lower than the prediet RMR. Loss of lean tissue could not account for the decrease because changes in RMR per fat-free mass paralleled the total RMR reduction. A sustained decrement in RMR accompanied weight loss and persisted for greater than or equal to 8 wk despite increased caloric consumption and body weight stabilization.

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