Weekly changes in basal metabolic rate with eight weeks of overfeeding


The contribution of basal metabolic rate (BMR) to weight gain susceptibility has long been debated. We wanted to examine whether BMR changes in a linear fashion with overfeeding. Our hypothesis was that BMR does not increase linearly with 1000-kcal/d overfeeding in lean healthy subjects over 8 weeks. The null hypothesis states that BMR increases linearly with 1000-kcal/d overfeeding in lean healthy subjects.
Initially, 16 lean healthy sedentary subjects completed 2 weeks of weight maintenance feeding at the General Clinical Research Center. The subjects were then overfed by 1000 kcal/d over 8 weeks. BMR was measured under standard conditions each week using indirect calorimetry.
Baseline BMR was 1693 +/- 154.5 kcal/d. BMR increased from 1711 +/- 201.3 kcal/d at week 1 of overfeeding to 1781 +/- 171.65 kcal/d at the second week of overfeeding (p = 0.05). BMR fell during the third week of overfeeding to 1729 +/- 179.5 kcal/d (p = 0.05). After 5 weeks of overfeeding, BMR reached a plateau. Thereafter, there was no further change. Comparison of BMR with weeks of overfeeding was significantly different compared with the linear model (p < 0.05).
Increases in BMR in lean sedentary healthy subjects with 1000-kcal/d overfeeding are not linear over 8 weeks. There seems to be a short-term increase in BMR in the first 2 weeks of overfeeding that is not representative of longer-term changes.

Read the full article.  Click here.

Harris AM, Jensen MD, Levine JA