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A study of the thermic responses to a meal and to a sympathomimetic drug (ephedrine) in relation to energy balance in man

  • Jane B. Morgan (a1), David A. York (a1), Amanda Wasilewska (a1) and Jan Portman (a1)
Abstract

1. Sixteen adult male volunteers were selected on the basis of body size and customary food intake: half could be described as‘lean’and habitually consuming large amounts of food (group mean ± SEM: 15·03± 1·13 MJ/d), the high-energy-intake group (HEI group), and half though‘lean’admitted to a weight problem and regularly consumed a lower than average food intake (group mean ± SEM: 6·90 ± 0·39 MJ/d), the low-energy-intake group (LEI group).

2. Energy expenditure was measured by open-circuit indirect calorimetry. Resting metabolic rate (RMR) was recorded. A meal (Complan, either 2·1 MJ or 4·2 MJ), ephedrine hydrochloride (0·25 mg and 0·50 mg/kg body-weight) or a water control were then administered and metabolic rate (MR) was measured for 4 h. Blood was collected before and 1 h after the meal or drug, and the serum analysed for various hormones and blood metabolites.

3. The size of the thermic response to feeding but not the time-course was related to meal size in both groups. MR increased by 21·6 and 28·6% in the HEI group and by 8·2 and 20·0% in the LEI group in response to the 2·1 and 4·2 MJ Complan meals respectively. Fasting insulin levels were similar in both groups but showed a significantly higher level in the LEI than HEI group after the Complan meals.

4. The mean RMR increased by 5·2 and 10·3% in the LEI in response to ephedrine and by 15·7 and 11·2% in the HEI groups after 0·25 mg and 0·50 mg ephedrine/kg respectively. The rise in serum-free fatty acids in response to ephedrine was significantly higher in the HEI group than in the LEI group.

5. These results suggest (1) the meal size required to promote a maximum thermic effect is smaller in energetically inefficient individuals (2) the sensitivity to a sympathomimetic drug is also increased in energetically-inefficient individuals.

6. We conclude that in energetically-efficient individuals both the thermic response to a meal and the sympathetic-mediated thermogenesis are lower than in energetically-inefficient ones.

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British Journal of Nutrition
  • ISSN: 0007-1145
  • EISSN: 1475-2662
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition
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