Indirect calorimetry is a form of metabolic testing now available at the Ames, Belmond, Des Moines, and Fort Dodge. Metabolic testing is a useful tool for treatment of obesity and can help us guide an individual to specific diet recommendations.
How does it work?
Metabolic testing is used frequently in our weight loss clinics to determine one’s Basic Metabolic Rate(BMR) or Resting Energy Expenditure(REE). In other words, the BMR/REE is the minimum amount of calories per day that your body needs to maintain its current weight. Measurement is determined by breath analysis comparing the differences in oxygen and carbon dioxide between inspiration and expiration.
What to expect during the test
Analysis of the BMR/REE requires a patient to breathe into a tube for approximately 10-15 minutes and there is a devoted private area for testing.
The most accurate results are derived from:
-testing early in the morning
-4 hours of fasting prior
-no caffeine or exercise prior
-avoiding stimulants such as caffeine or medication such as Sudafed
Indirect Calorimetry/Metabolic testing is covered by health insurance because it’s recognized as a legitimate tool useful in weight loss clinics. Interpretation of the results are performed by a medical provider and often relayed to the patient during an office visit.
How are the results useful?
It’s unfortunately common for us in the medical world to throw around terms that are often confusing. A calorie is simply a unit of measurement for energy. Think of a calorie as fuel. Your body only needs a certain amount of calories/fuel to maintain normal daily functions and to establish a baseline weight. Calories come from food/drink in the form of fat, protein, carbohydrates, and alcohol. Calorie intake above the baseline leads to energy storage in the form of fat. Stored fat can be thought of along the lines of a savings account at a bank. Calorie intake below the baseline should result in weight loss (bank withdrawal) and above the baseline weight gain (bank deposit). Several factors can move the baseline of daily caloric needs such as lifestyle activity, hormonal regulation, medications, exercise, frequency of eating, sleep, and temperature of the surrounding environment can all alter the baseline.
For those patient's that are interested in finding out if they are cursed with a slow metabolism, the test results will tell us how your metabolism compares to other patients similar to you.
Once the BMR/REE is determined, specific daily calorie goals are established and relayed to the patient. The goal for weight loss is to be in a negative energy balance or keep daily calorie intake below the baseline level. Metabolic testing is most valuable if coupled with using a food journal or tracking calories.