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Nutrients 2015, 7(5), 3677-3704;

Predictors of Energy Compensation during Exercise Interventions: A Systematic Review

Behavioural and Metabolic Research Unit (BMRU), School of Human Kinetics, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6N5, Canada
Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Faculty of Science, University of Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6N5, Canada
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, University of Ottawa, Ontario K1Y 4M9, Canada
School of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa, Ontario, K1H 8 M5, Canada
Health Sciences Library, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario K1H 8M5, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 10 September 2014 / Revised: 25 March 2015 / Accepted: 24 April 2015 / Published: 15 May 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Balance)
PDF [472 KB, uploaded 15 May 2015]


Weight loss from exercise-induced energy deficits is usually less than expected. The objective of this systematic review was to investigate predictors of energy compensation, which is defined as body energy changes (fat mass and fat-free mass) over the total amount of exercise energy expenditure. A search was conducted in multiple databases without date limits. Of 4745 studies found, 61 were included in this systematic review with a total of 928 subjects. The overall mean energy compensation was 18% ± 93%. The analyses indicated that 48% of the variance of energy compensation is explained by the interaction between initial fat mass, age and duration of exercise interventions. Sex, frequency, intensity and dose of exercise energy expenditure were not significant predictors of energy compensation. The fitted model suggested that for a shorter study duration, lower energy compensation was observed in younger individuals with higher initial fat mass (FM). In contrast, higher energy compensation was noted for younger individuals with lower initial FM. From 25 weeks onward, energy compensation was no longer different for these predictors. For studies of longer duration (about 80 weeks), the energy compensation approached 84%. Lower energy compensation occurs with short-term exercise, and a much higher level of energy compensation accompanies long-term exercise interventions. View Full-Text
Keywords: energy compensation; body composition; exercise intervention energy compensation; body composition; exercise intervention

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Riou, M.-È.; Jomphe-Tremblay, S.; Lamothe, G.; Stacey, D.; Szczotka, A.; Doucet, É. Predictors of Energy Compensation during Exercise Interventions: A Systematic Review. Nutrients 2015, 7, 3677-3704.

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