Effect of physical activity and other stressors on appetite: overcoming underconsumption revisited

R. J. Stubbs, S. Whybrow, N. King, J. E. Blundell, M. Elia

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


There are four interactions to consider between energy intake (EI) and energy expenditure (EE) in the development and treatment of obesity. (1) Does sedentariness alter levels of EI or subsequent EE? and (2) Do high levels of EI alter physical activity or exercise? (3) Do exercise-induced increases in EE drive EI upwards and undermine dietary approaches to weight management and (4) Do low levels of EI elevate or decrease EE? There is little evidence that sedentariness alters levels of EI. This lack of cross-talk between altered EE and EI appears to promote a positive EB. Lifestyle studies also suggest that a sedentary routine actually offers the opportunity for over-consumption. Substantive changes in non exercise activity thermogenesis are feasible, but not clearly demonstrated. Cross talk between elevated EE and EI is initially too weak and takes too long to activate, to seriously threaten dietary approaches to weight management. It appears that substantial fat loss is possible before intake begins to track a sustained elevation of EE. There is more evidence that low levels of EI does lower physical activity levels, in relatively lean men under conditions of acute or prolonged semi-starvation and in dieting obese subjects. During altered EB there are a number of small but significant changes in the components of EE, including (i) sleeping and basal metabolic rate, (ii) energy cost of weight change alters as weight is gained or lost, (iii) exercise efficiency, (iv) energy cost of weight bearing activities, (v) during substantive overfeeding diet composition (fat versus carbohydrate) will influence the energy cost of nutrient storage by ~ 15%. The responses (i-v) above are all "obligatory" responses. Altered EB can also stimulate facultative behavioural responses, as a consequence of cross-talk between EI and EE. Altered EB will lead to changes in the mode duration and intensity of physical activities. Feeding behaviour can also change. The degree of inter-individual variability in these responses will define the scope within which various mechanisms of EB compensation can operate. The relative importance of "obligatory" versus facultative, behavioural responses -as components of EB control- need to be defined.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNutrient Composition of Rations for Short-Term, High-Intensity Combat Operations
EditorsFood and Nutrition Board
Place of PublicationWashington D.C.
PublisherThe National Acacemies Press
ISBN (Electronic) 978-0309096416
ISBN (Print)0309096413
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Publication series

NameNutrient Composition of Rations for Short-Term, High-Intensity Combat Operations
PublisherThe National Acacemies Press


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