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December 18, 1915


JAMA. 1915;LXV(25):2168. doi:10.1001/jama.1915.02580250040016

Our increasing information in respect to the phenomenon known as the specific dynamic action of the foodstuffs in metabolism has repeatedly been discussed in The Journal. If the basal level of metabolism, that is, the transformation of energy in an individual at complete rest and in the absence of food, is carefully determined by the methods of either direct or indirect calorimetry now successfully in use in this country, remarkably constant values are obtained from hour to hour. The fundamental resting energy requirement in each case is thus shown to be surprisingly uniform; and when suitable allowances are made for inequalities of size, the basal metabolism per unit of the individual appears likewise to be quite comparable between different persons. The scientific basis for estimating the minimal energy requirement of the healthy, normal individual is thus established.

Ingestion of food is the occasion for an increase in the metabolism. The