Measurement of Energy Expenditure

  • Klaas R. WesterterpEmail author


At the present state of the art, energy expenditure is measured with indirect calorimetry, where energy production is calculated from oxygen consumption, carbon dioxide production and urine-nitrogen loss. Daily energy expenditure consists of three components, i.e., maintenance expenditure, diet-induced energy expenditure and activity-induced energy expenditure. Designing studies to evaluate intervention effects on energy expenditure, including drugs, should be based on the energy expenditure component as targeted. The indicated method for the measurement of maintenance expenditure and diet-induced energy expenditure is a respiration chamber or a ventilated hood. Activity-induced energy expenditure is measured under free-living conditions with doubly labelled water. Energy expenditure can additionally be estimated with prediction equations for maintenance expenditure, based on height, weight, age and gender; doubly labelled water validated accelerometers to assess activity-induced energy expenditure; and measurements of food intake as evaluated with the doubly labelled water technique.


Indirect calorimetry Doubly labelled water Basal metabolic rate Diet-induced energy expenditure Physical activity Food intake 


  1. 1.
    Harris JA, Benedict FG. A biometric study of the basal metabolism in man. Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Institution; 1919, publ 279.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    FAO/WHO/UNU. Human energy requirement. Rome 2004.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Westerterp KR. Body weight change during over- and underfeeding as an indicator of adaptive thermogenesis. Br J Nutr. 2004;92:541–4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    de V Weir JB. New methods for calculating metabolic rate with special reference for protein metabolism. J Physiol. 1949;109:1–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Brouwer E. On simple formulae for calculating the heat expenditure and the quantities of carbohydrate and fat oxidized in metabolism of men and animals, from gaseous exchange (oxygen intake and carbonic acid output) and urine-N. Acta Physiol Pharmacol Neerl. 1957;6:795–802.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Webb P, Saris WHM, Schoffelen PFM, Van Ingen Schenau GJ, Ten Hoor F. The work of walking: a calorimetric study. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1988;20:331–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Schadewaldt P, Nowotny B, Straßburger K, Kotzka J, Roden M. Indirect calorimetry in humans: a postcalorimetric evaluation procedure for correction of metabolic monitor variability. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013;97:763–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Rietjens GJWM, Kuipers H, Kester ADM, Keizer HA. Validation of a computerized metabolic measurement system (Oxycon-Pro®) during low and high intensity exercise. Int J Sports Med. 2001;22:291–4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Schoffelen PFM, Westerterp KR, Saris WHM, Ten Hoor F. A dual-respiration chamber system with automated calibration. J Appl Physiol. 1997;83:2064–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Schoeller DA. Measurement of energy expenditure in free-living humans by using doubly labeled water. J Nutr. 1988;118:1278–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Verboeket-van de Venne WPHG, Westerterp KR, Hermans-Limpens TJFMB, De Graaf C, Van het Hof KH, Weststrate JA. Long-term effects of consumption of full-fat or reduced-fat products in healthy non-obese volunteers; assessment of energy expenditure and substrate oxidation. Metabolism. 1996;45:1004–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Adriaens MPE, Schoffelen PFM, Westerterp KR. Intra-individual variation of basal metabolic rate and the influence of physical activity before testing. Br J Nutr. 2003;90:419–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Westerterp KR, Wilson SAJ, Rolland A. Diet-induced thermogenesis measured over 24h in a respiration chamber: effect of diet composition. Int J Obes. 1999;23:287–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Schoffelen PFM, Westerterp KR. Intra-individual variability and adaptation of overnight- and sleeping metabolic rate. Physiol Behav. 2008;94:158–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Reed GW, Hill JO. Measuring the thermic effect of food. Am J Clin Nutr. 1996;63:164–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Tataranni PA, Larson DE, Snitker S, Ravussin E. Thermic effect of food in humans: methods and results from use of a respiratory chamber. Am J Clin Nutr. 1995;61:1013–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Goldberg GR, Prentice AM, Davies HL, Murgatroyd PR. Overnight and basal metabolic rates in men and women. Eur J Clin Nutr. 1988;42:137–44.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Westerterp KR. Diet induced thermogenesis. Nutr Metab. 2004;1:5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Weststrate JA. Resting metabolic rate and diet-induced thermogenesis: a methodological reappraisal. Am J Clin Nutr. 1993;58:592–601.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Tappy L. Thermic effect of food and sympathetic nervous system activity in humans. Reprod Nutr Dev. 1996;36:391–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Suter PM, Jequier E, Schutz Y. Effect of ethanol on energy expenditure. Am J Phys. 1994;266:R1204–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Camps SG, Verhoef SP, Westerterp KR. Weight loss-induced reduction in physical activity recovers during weight maintenance. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013;98:917–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Westerterp KR, Donkers J, Fredrix EWHM, Boekhoudt P. Energy intake, physical activity and body weight; a simulation model. Br J Nutr. 1995;73:337–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Schofield WN. Predicting basal metabolic rate, new standards and review of previous work. Hum Nutr Clin Nutr. 1985;39C:5–41.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    FAO/WHO/UNU. Energy and protein requirements. WHO technical report series. Geneva. 1985.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Cole TI, Henry CJK. The Oxford Brookes basal metabolic rate database – a reanalysis. Public Health Nutr. 2005;8:1202–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Weijs PJM, Kruizinga HM, Van Dijk AE, Van der Meij BS, Langius JAE, Knol DL, et al. Validation of predictive equations for resting energy expenditure in adult outpatients and inpatients. Clin Nutr. 2008;27:150–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Wouters-Adriaens MP, Westerterp KR. Low resting energy expenditure in Asians can be attributed to body composition. Obesity. 2008;16:2212–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Schwartz A, Kuk JL, Lamothe G, Doucet E. Greater than predicted decrease in resting energy expenditure and weight loss: results from a systematic review. Obesity. 2012;20:3207–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Camps SG, Verhoef SP, Westerterp KR. Weight loss, weight maintenance and adaptive thermogenesis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013;97:990–4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Van Gemert WG, Westerterp KR, Greve JWM, Soeters PB. Reduction of sleeping metabolic rate after vertical banded gastroplasty. Int J Obes. 1998;22:343–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Johansson G, Westerterp KR. Assessment of the physical activity level with two questions: validation with doubly labeled water. Int J Obes. 2008;32:1031–3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Plasqui G, Westerterp KR. Physical activity assessment with accelerometers: an evaluation against doubly labeled water. Obesity. 2007;15:2371–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Bouten CVC, Verboeket-van de Venne WPHG, Westerterp KR, Verduin M, Janssen JD. Physical activity assessment: comparison between movement registration and doubly labeled water. J Appl Physiol. 1996;81:1019–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Bonomi AG, Plasqui G, Goris AH, Westerterp KR. Estimation of free-living energy expenditure using a novel activity monitor designed to minimize obtrusiveness. Obesity. 2010;18:1845–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Valenti G, Camps S, Verhoef S, Bonomi AG, Westerterp KR. Validating measures of free-living physical activity in overweight and obese subjects using an accelerometer. Int J Obes. 2014;38(7):1011–4.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Shcherbina A, Mattson CM, Waggott D, Salisbury H, Christle JW, Hastie T, et al. Accuracy in wrist-worn, sensor-based measurements of heart rate and energy expenditure in a diverse cohort. J Pers Med. 2017;7:3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Byrom B, Stratton G, McCarthy M, Muehlhausen W. Objective measurement of sedentary behaviour using accelerometers. Int J Obes. 2016;46:1809–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Edholm OG, Fletcher JG, Widdowson EW, McCance RA. The energy expenditure and food intake of individual men. Br J Nutr. 1955;9:286–300.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Goldberg GR, Black AE, Jebb SA, Cole TJ, Murgatroyd PR, Coward WA, Prentice AM. Critical evaluation of energy intake data using fundamental principles of energy physiology: 1. Derivation of cut-off limits to identify under-recording. Eur J Clin Nutr. 1991;45:569–81.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Stallings VA, Zemel BS, Davies JC, Cronk CE, Charney EB. Energy expenditure of children and adolescents with severe disabilities: a cerebral palsy model. Am J Clin Nutr. 1996;64:627–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Goris AHC, Westerterp KR. Underreporting of habitual food intake is explained by undereating in highly motivated lean women. J Nutr. 1999;129:878–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Goris AHC, Westerterp-Plantenga MS, Westerterp KR. Undereating and underrecording of habitual food intake in obese men: selective underreporting of fat intake. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000;71:130–4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Goris AHC, Meijer EP, Westerterp KR. Repeated measurement of habitual food intake increases under-reporting and induces selective under-reporting. Br J Nutr. 2001;85:629–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Goris AHC, Vermeeren MAP, Wouters EFM, Schols AMWJ, Westerterp KR. Energy balance in depleted ambulatory patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; the effect of physical activity and oral nutritional supplementation. Br J Nutr. 2003;89:725–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Velthuis-te Wierik EJM, Westerterp KR, Van den Berg H. Impact of a moderately energy-restricted diet on energy metabolism and body composition in non-obese men. Int J Obes. 1995;19:318–24.Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Westerterp KR, Meijer GAL, Janssen EME, Saris WHM, Ten Hoor F. Long term effect of physical activity on energy balance and body composition. Br J Nutr. 1992;68:21–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Goris AHC, Westerterp KR. Improved reporting of habitual food intake after confrontation with earlier results on food reporting. Br J Nutr. 2000;83:363–9.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Goris AHC, Meijer EP, Kester A, Westerterp KR. The use of a tri-axial accelerometer for the validity of reported food intake. Am J Clin Nutr. 2001;73:549–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Baarends EM, Schols AMWJ, Westerterp KR, Wouters EFM. Total daily energy expenditure relative to resting energy expenditure in clinically stable patients with COPD. Thorax. 1997;52:780–5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Thivel D, Brakonieki K, Duche P, Morio B, Boirie Y, Laferrère B. Surgical weight loss: impact on energy expenditure. Obes Surg. 2013;23:255–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Hansen DL, Toubro S, Stock MJ, Macdonald IA, Astrup A. Thermogenic effects of sibutramine in humans. Am J Clin Nutr. 1998;68:1180–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Wyne K, Park AJ, Small CJ, Meeran K, Ghatei MA, Frost GS, Bloom SR. Oxyntomodulin increases energy expenditure in addition to decreasing energy intake in overweight and obese humans: a randomised controlled trial. Int J Obes. 2006;30:1729–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. 54.
    Sjödin A, Gasteyger C, Nielsen A-LH, Raben A, Mikkelsen JD, Jensen JKS, Meier D, Astrup A. The effect of the triple monoamine reuptake inhibitor tesofensine on energy metabolism and appetite in overweight and moderately obese men. Int J Obes. 2010;34:1634–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nutrition and Translational Research in Metabolism (NUTRIM)Maastricht UniversityMaastrichtThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations