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J Nutr. 1978 Jun;108(6):1025-32.

Heat increment associated with dietary protein, fat, carbohydrate and complete diets in salmonids: comparative energetic efficiency.


The heat increment (HI) of feeding, which is the increased heat production following consumption of food by an animal, accounts for as much as 30% of the ingested metabolizable energy (ME) in mammals and birds. The purpose of these experiments was to measure the HI associated with the feeding of a complete diet and purified fat, protein, and carbohydrate to salmonids. Measured amounts were fed and the heat production was measured by direct calorimetry. Increased heat production was observed about 30 minutes after feeding and remained elevated for 1 to 5 hours, depending on the amount and type of material fed. The HI of protein was much lower with fish than with mammals and amounted to less than 5% of the ingested ME. The HI's of carbohydrate and protein were not significantly different from each other but both were higher than fat. The HI, when complete diets were fed, was less than 3% of the ME. The net energy of protein is higher for fish than for birds or mammals. A major part of the superior energetic efficiency of fish is due to the low energy cost of protein metabolism.

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