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Adaptive thermogenesis after moderate weight loss: magnitude and methodological issues

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this study was (1) to assess AT through 13 different mathematical approaches and to compare their results; and (2) to understand if AT occurs after moderate WL.

Methods

Ninety-four participants [mean (SD); BMI, 31.1 (4.3) kg/m2; age, 43.0 (9.4) years; 34% females] underwent a 1-year lifestyle intervention (clinicaltrials.gov ID: NCT03031951) and were randomized to intervention (IG, n = 49) or control groups (CG, n = 45), and all measurements were made at baseline and after 4 months. Fat mass (FM) and fat-free mass (FFM) were measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and REE by indirect calorimetry. AT was assessed through 13 different approaches, varying in how REE was predicted and/or how AT was assessed.

Results

IG underwent a mean negative energy balance (EB) of 270 (289) kcal/day, p < 0.001), resulting in a WL of − 4.8 (4.9)% and an FM loss of − 11.3 (10.8)%. Regardless of approach, AT occurred in the IG, ranging from ~ − 65 to ~ − 230 kcal/day and three approaches showed significant AT in the CG.

Conclusions

Regardless of approach, AT occurred after moderate WL in the IG. AT assessment should be standardized and comparisons among studies with different methodologies to assess AT must be avoided.

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Fig. 1
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Availability of data and materials

Non applicable.

Code availability

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Funding

Financial support was provided by the Portuguese Institute of Sports and Youth and by the International Olympic Committee, under the Olympic Solidarity Promotion of the Olympic Values Unit (Sports Medicine and Protection of Clean Athletes Programme). The current work was also supported by national funding from the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology within the R&D units UIDB/00447/2020. C.L.N. and R.F. were supported with a Ph.D. scholarship from the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (SFRH/BD/143725/2019 and 2020.05397.BD, respectively).

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CLN: conceptualization, methodology, data curation, data analysis, and writing the original draft. CNM, FJ, and RF: data curation, reviewing, and editing. MH: data analysis, reviewing, and editing. SBH, AB-W, LBS, PM, and CSM: reviewing and editing. AMS: conceptualization, methodology, supervision, reviewing, and editing.

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Correspondence to Analiza M. Silva.

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Nunes, C.L., Jesus, F., Francisco, R. et al. Adaptive thermogenesis after moderate weight loss: magnitude and methodological issues. Eur J Nutr 61, 1405–1416 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00394-021-02742-6

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Keywords

  • Metabolic adaptation
  • Metabolic slowing
  • Resting energy expenditure
  • Energy balance