What is Resting Energy Expenditure (REE)?

Resting Energy Expenditure (REE)

Resting energy expenditure represents the amount of energy expended by a person a day at rest. The higher the REE the more calories we burn and the easier and faster we lose weight. Because the calorie deficit between the calorie expenditure and the calorie income is higher. Here are some of the factors which determine the Resting Energy Expenditure.

Factor number one - body size. 

The larger the body area the higher the REE. For two people with the same bodyweight but different heights, the higher one will have higher energy expenditure.

Factor number two - body composition. 

The ratio between the fat mass and the lean body muscle mass is the strongest predictor of the REE. The lean mass is the main cause of the differences between people and genders. This mass tissue is metabolically more active. Therefore, the higher the lean body mass the higher the caloric expenditure. In contrast, the higher the fat mass the lower the caloric expenditure.

Factor number three - age. 

Age is a significant factor in the energy expenditure estimate. In periods of growth, such as puberty, there is a significant increase in energy expenditure. Around 15% of the energy is dedicated to growing and building of new body tissue. In contrast, after adolescence, in adulthood, every decade there is a 1-2% reduction in the REE. That's why as you get older the harder is to lose weight. 

Factor number four - gender 

Gender differences are attributed to differences in size and body composition. Women are usually smaller than men, have on average 6-11% more fat tissue, and around 10% less muscle mass comparing to men. Thus, they burn fewer calories, their metabolism is slower and their energy expenditure is 5-10% lower comparing to men in the same weight and height. 

Factor number five - hormone status.

Some hormonal conditions have a significant effect on body weight and energy expenditure. For example, hyperthyroidism, pregnancy, and growth increased significantly the calorie burning at rest. In contrast, hypothyroidism and menopause reduce significantly the energy expenditure and are risk factors for obesity. 

Factor number six - caffeine. 

Which is mainly found in coffee, energy drinks and green tea raises the daily calorie burn. Among men, consumption of 200-350ml a day, which is equivalent to 2-3 brewed coffee, increased the energy expenditure by 7-11% more. Among women, consumption of 240ml, which is equivalent to 3 Red Bull drinks, increase the expenditure by 8-15% more per day. 

Factor number seven - nicotine. 

Which we can found in cigarettes, increase the energy expenditure by 3-4% among men, and 6% among women. According to studies people who smoke one box of cigarettes a day burns 150-300 calories more a day. Nicotine raises the Adrenaline hormone level in the blood, which is responsible for speeding up the digestive system activity and food passage. This is one of the reasons why a person who stops to smoke his digestive system slows down, he suffers from constipation and gains weight. 

Factor number eight - alcohol. 

Alcohol increases the REE significantly for up to 95 minutes after ingestion, by 130-300 calories. This increase is not related to the energy content of the alcoholic drink. Consumers of alcohol, particularly women, have lower body weight than abstainers. This effect is apparently because of the ethanol, alcohol, which raise the metabolic rate.

Factor number nine - ambient temperature. 

Cold of warm temperatures than normal increase the daily energy expenditure. Because the body invents energy to balance its temperature. Therefore, people who live in tropical or cold-weather areas can spend 5-20% more energy than people who live in areas with a convenient temperature. 


Bottom line - high man, muscular, in adolescence, who smokes, drinks alcohol and coffee, and lives in a tropical place will have the highest energy expenditure. Some factors cannot be changed and some are harmful to health, such as smoking. Body composition is the most influential factor in REE. Therefore, it's recommended to do regular exercise in order to increase muscle mass, which will increase the energy expenditure at rest. 

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