Factors Influencing Energy Balance: Estimation Methods

Part of the SpringerBriefs in Food, Health, and Nutrition book series (BRIEFSFOOD)


The human organism is a chemical machine in that it is only able to use chemical bond energy obtained from the oxidation of energy substrates supplied by food and converted for the performance of all the vital functions. It is very important for an individual to know his daily energy requirements because this constitutes the starting point for the creation of an optimal diet. We must distinguish between calorie intake, consisting of what is introduced daily with food intake, energy expenditure related to all the voluntary and involuntary activities carried out by the individual, and finally his energy requirements which are closely related to expenditure. An individual’s energy expenditure depends on three factors: basal metabolism, dietary-induced thermogenesis and physical activity. Quantifying energy expenditure is the starting point for determining energy requirements. Consequently, nutrition is a mathematical equation, if intake exceeds expenditure the body gradually gains weight, on the contrary, if intake is lower the body loses weight. A healthy body should maintain a desirable weight over time in order to maintain all its vital functions as long as possible.


Catabolism reactions Anabolic reactions Human energy requirements Energy expenditure Basal metabolism Dietary-induced thermogenesis Physical activity Estimation methods Optimal body mass 


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© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of PisaPisaItaly

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