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Article
October 9, 1915

EFFICIENCY OF THE BODY AS A MACHINE

JAMA. 1915;LXV(15):1282-1283. doi:10.1001/jama.1915.02580150056022
Abstract

Ever since Count Rumford first suggested that the muscular work of two horses produced enough heat to boil water, speculation has been rife as to how much heat man loses during work and how efficient the human body is as a machine. The relationship between the energy consumption and the output of work has been extensively studied with various methods and machines. Dumas and Boussingalt,3 by determining that a man used 300 gm. of carbon in climbing Mont Blanc, computed the efficiency of the body as 33 per cent. Frick4 found that under the best conditions isolated muscle has an efficiency of 25 per cent. Gautier estimated that a working diet is 1,780 calories in excess of a resting diet, and that a man produces 270,000 kilogrammeters of work per day, which is equal to 588 calories. But of the 270,000 kilogrammeters, 100,000 are lost in the different

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