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Am J Clin Nutr. 1988 Apr;47(4):591-607.

Theory and validity of indirect calorimetry during net lipid synthesis.

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  • 1Dunn Clinical Nutrition Center, Cambridge, UK.


A critical examination is made of the validity of indirect calorimetry when the nonprotein respiratory quotient is greater than 1. The different published stoichiometries for lipogenesis from glucose are excluded as a source of uncertainty in the interpretation of gaseous exchange measurements. The validity of indirect calorimetry is proved independently by an algebraic approach which, in contrast to previous attempts, makes minimal assumptions about stoichiometries. Although equations relating the respiratory quotient to the heat equivalent of oxygen are found valid, there is uncertainty in using these equations to predict accurately carbohydrate utilization and fat oxidized or synthesized. Reference tables interrelating respiratory data, the heat equivalent of oxygen, and net fuel utilization or synthesis for specified fuels are provided. A suggested framework for calculating energy expenditure in terms of ATP gain is given as an appendix.

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