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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1998 Aug;83(8):2758-64.

Twenty-four-hour respiratory quotient: the role of diet and familial resemblance.

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The Research Department of Human Nutrition, The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Copenhagen, Denmark.


Body weight and obesity show familial resemblance that could be the result of familial correlation of fat oxidation, low levels of which have been implicated in the etiology of weight gain and obesity. We studied the familial correlation of both 24-h respiratory quotient (RQ), an index of the ratio of fat to carbohydrate oxidation, and the possible influence of dietary macronutrient composition expressed by the food quotient (FQ), i.e. the theoretical RQ produced by the diet. We measured the habitual FQ of the 7 days diet by weighed food records, followed by measurement of 24-h RQ in respiration chambers in 71 healthy Caucasian siblings from 31 families. After adjustment for age, gender, and 24-h energy balance, 24-h RQ correlated in families as indicated by an intraclass correlation coefficient (r(i)) of 0.31 (P = 0.03). FQ, adjusted for age and gender, was also a familial trait for the two days immediately preceding diet (r(i) = 0.32, P < 0.01). The familial effect on 24-h RQ, adjusted for age, gender, and 24-h energy balance, remained after adjustment for the FQ of the two days preceding diet (r(i) = 0.27, P < 0.05) and was reduced but not abolished after further adjustment for fasting plasma insulin plus free fatty acids (r(i) = 0.24, P < 0.09). By a correlation analysis aimed at separating familial and individual nonfamilial factors influencing both 24-h RQ and FQ, we found a great but insignificant familial (etaF = 0.49, P < 0.18) and a somewhat lower, but significant individual nonfamilial correlation (etaNF = 0.35, P < 0.03). We conclude that substrate oxidation rates measured by RQ exhibit familial correlation after proper adjustment for confounders such as energy balance, gender, and age, and that this effect could not be fully explained by preceding diet composition, fasting plasma insulin, and free fatty acids. Further RQ and the habitual dietary composition shared familial and nonfamilial factors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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