Nonexercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT)

There are some basic terms used in the literature.


There’s very little that can be done to affect your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). In fact, weight loss by definition, lowers your BMR.

If you eat less food you will have a lower level of TEF (depending on the mix of the food types). If you fast you get no TEF since you are not eating.

From (James A.Levine MD, PhD (Professor of Medicine), Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT), Best Practice & Research Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism Volume 16, Issue 4, December 2002, Pages 679-702):

Physiological studies demonstrate, intriguingly, that NEAT is modulated with changes in energy balance; NEAT increases with overfeeding and decreases with underfeeding. Thus, NEAT could be a critical component in how we maintain our body weight and/or develop obesity or lose weight.

From (James A. Levine, Mark W. Vander Weg, James O. Hill, Robert C. Klesges, Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis: The Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon of Societal Weight Gain, Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. 2006;26:729-736):

Classically, there are 3 components of total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) in humans (Figure 2): basal metabolic rate (BMR), thermic effect of food (TEF), and activity thermogenesis (AT). BMR is the energy expenditure (EE) when a postabsorptive individual is laying at rest. BMR is can be measured with errors of <1% generally using a high-precision, validated, indirect calorimeter.6 In sedentary individuals, BMR accounts for ∼60% of TDEE and can be well-predicted by lean body mass (∼80% of the variance) within and across species.7,8 TEF is the increase in EE associated with the digestion, absorption, and storage of food and accounts for ∼6% to 12% of TDEE. TEF can be measured by making repeated measurements of energy expenditure after a meal, using an indirect calorimeter.6 Activity thermogenesis is typically derived by summating BMR plus TEF and subtracting this product from TDEE. Physical activity level (PAL) is frequently calculated also and is TDEE/BMR.


Author: Doug

I'm an Engineer who is also a science geek. I was pre-diabetic in 1996 and became a diabetic in 2003. I decided to figure out how to hack my diabetes and in 2016 found the ketogetic diet which reversed my diabetes.

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