Energetics and the Demands for Maintenance

  • Keith A. Crist
  • R. L. Baldwin
  • Judith S. Stern
Part of the Human Nutrition book series (HUNU, volume 3A)


Maintenance, the physiological steady state in which there is no net change in body energy content, has long been a focal point in the study of nutritional energetics. Early workers used balance studies and direct heat measurements on animals to estimate the energy required as food to support daily requirements but could only speculate on the nature of “vital processes” involved. A brief review of fundamental concepts and techniques in nutritional energetics is presented below. Specific partitioning of energy input and identification of fixed and variable costs of maintenance are recent advances dependent upon current knowledge of intermediary metabolism. Students in nutrition need an overall concept of energy expenditure to appreciate this variability. For example, dietary protein is used more efficiently as a source of muscle protein than for liver glycogen or storage triglyceride. Proteins differing in amino acid composition differ in energy yield as ATP when oxidized; this reflects the different pathways by which individual amino acids are metabolized.


Heat Production Basal Metabolic Rate Ketone Body Indirect Calorimetry Bomb Calorimeter 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Keith A. Crist
    • 1
  • R. L. Baldwin
    • 1
  • Judith S. Stern
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Animal ScienceUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA
  2. 2.Department of NutritionUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA

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