Comparative Physiology of Fasting, Starvation, and Food Limitation

pp 379-393


Quantitative Physiology of Human Starvation: Adaptations of Energy Expenditure, Macronutrient Metabolism and Body Composition

  • Kevin D. HallAffiliated withLaboratory of Biological Modeling, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease Email author 

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Complex metabolic adaptations occur during human starvation. Metabolic rate decreases, energy stores are mobilized, fuel utilization shifts from carbohydrate toward fat and ketone oxidation, and body fat and lean tissue mass are lost. A mechanistic computational model of human metabolism and body composition change has recently been developed to simulate the dynamic coordination of these physiological adaptations. This chapter describes the integrative physiology of human starvation using illustrative computer simulations along with real data from prolonged fasting experiments.