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Metabolism. 1996 Aug;45(8):1042-50.

Overfeeding in identical twins: 5-year postoverfeeding results.

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Physical Activity Sciences Laboratory, Laval University, Ste-Foy, Québec, Canada.


From a total of 12 pairs of young male identical twins who were overfed by an estimated 84,000 kcal over a period of 100 days, several pairs (eight to 11, depending on variables) were remeasured for body weight, body composition with the underwater weighing technique, regional fat distribution from skinfolds, girths, computed tomography (CT) fat areas in the abdominal region, and fasting plasma glucose, insulin, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and triglycerides 4 months and 5 years after completion of the overfeeding protocol. At 4 months, the twins had lost approximately 7 of 8 kg that they had gained with overfeeding. However, 5 years later, body weight had increased by 5 kg over the preoverfeeding level. Fluctuations in fat mass were greater than those in fat-free mass. The younger twins gained approximately twice as much as the older twins in the late recovery period, a difference attributed to the late phase of growth in body mass in the former. Upper-body fat was reduced at 4 months of follow-up study, but was increased in the late recovery phase. All blood values were normalized in the postoverfeeding periods. A within-pair resemblance was generally observed for the changes noted in the recovery periods, but it was more striking when variations between preoverfeeding and 4-month or 5-year values were considered. We conclude from these observations that there were no persistent effects of exposure to the overfeeding protocol over the expected age-associated increases in body mass, body fat, upper-body fat, abdominal visceral fat (AVF), and metabolic variables predictive of risk for common diseases in individuals of normal body weight and with no family history of obesity. The intrapair resemblance suggests that the genotype contributes to the alterations observed in the recovery from overfeeding and in the age-associated changes.

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