What is the effect of weight loss on energy expenditure?

Updated: Jun 09, 2021
  • Author: Osama Hamdy, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP  more...
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Achieving a caloric deficit is still the most important component in achieving sustained weight loss. However, the considerable variance in individual energy expenditures and compliance with calorie-deficient plans make it difficult to reliably predict how much weight an individual will lose.

Among the caveats is the fact that energy expenditure is related to body weight; about 22 kcal/kg of energy is required for basal maintenance of 1 kg of weight in a typical adult. Therefore, weight loss tends to reduce energy expenditure, dampening the effect of caloric deficits.

Because of their lowered energy expenditure, older subjects have increased difficulty in achieving sustained weight loss. The estimated reduction in energy expenditure is 100 kcal per decade after the age of 30 years. Presumably because of their greater lean mass proportions, men tend to lose more weight than women do when caloric deficits are similar. [128]

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