Reduction in energy expenditure during weight loss is higher than predicted based on fat free mass and fat mass in older adults.

Research paper by Twan T Ten Haaf, Amely M AM Verreijen, Robert G RG Memelink, Michael M Tieland, Peter J M PJ Weijs

Indexed on: 08 Jan '17Published on: 08 Jan '17Published in: Clinical Nutrition


The aim of this study was to describe a decrease in resting energy expenditure during weight loss that is larger than expected based on changes in body composition, called adaptive thermogenesis (AT), in overweight and obese older adults.Multiple studies were combined to assess AT in younger and older subjects. Body composition and resting energy expenditure (REE) were measured before and after weight loss. Baseline values were used to predict fat free mass and fat mass adjusted REE after weight loss. AT was defined as the difference between predicted and measured REE after weight loss. The median age of 55 y was used as a cutoff to compare older with younger subjects. The relation between AT and age was investigated using linear regression analysis.In this study 254 (M = 88, F = 166) overweight and obese subjects were included (BMI: 31.7 ± 4.4 kg/m(2), age: 51 ± 14 y). The AT was only significant for older subjects (64 ± 185 kcal/d, 95% CI [32, 96]), but not for younger subjects (19 ± 152 kcal/d, 95% CI [-9, 46]). The size of the AT was significantly higher for older compared to younger adults (β = 47, p = 0.048), independent of gender and type and duration of the weight loss program.We conclude that adaptive thermogenesis is present only in older subjects, which might have implications for weight management in older adults. A reduced energy intake is advised to counteract the adaptive thermogenesis.