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Am J Physiol. 1994 Apr;266(4 Pt 2):R1204-12.

Effect of ethanol on energy expenditure.

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Institute of Physiology, University of Lausanne, Switzerland.


The thermogenic response induced by ethanol ingestion in humans has not been extensively studied. This study was designed to determine the thermic effect of ethanol added to a normal diet in healthy nonalcoholic subjects, using indirect calorimetry measurements over a 24-h period in a respiration chamber. The thermic effect of ethanol was also measured when ethanol was ingested in the fasting state, using a ventilated hood system during a 5-h period. Six subjects ingested 95.6 +/- 1.8 (SE) g ethanol in 1 day partitioned over three meals; there was a 5.5 +/- 1.2% increase in 24-h energy expenditure compared with a control day in which all conditions were identical except that no ethanol was consumed. The calculated ethanol-induced thermogenesis (EIT) was 22.5 +/- 4.7% of the ethanol energy ingested. Ingestion of 31.9 +/- 0.6 g ethanol in the fasting state led to a 7.4 +/- 0.6% increase in energy expenditure over baseline values, and the calculated EIT was 17.1 +/- 2.2%. It is concluded that in healthy nonalcoholic adults ethanol elicits a thermogenic response equal to approximately 20% of the ethanol energy. Thus the concept of the apparently inefficient utilization of ethanol energy is supported by these results which show that only approximately 80% of the ethanol energy is used as metabolizable energy for biochemical processes in healthy nonalcoholic moderate ethanol consumers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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