Overfeeding and Overeating: A Collection of 70+ Studies

Authors
Adam Tzur (FBSCI-FIT),

Acknowledgements
Alex Leaf (FB, Examine.com)

Published: 07.12.2017 (updated: 07.12.2017)


Summary

Overfeeding and overeating

If you eat more food than you need to maintain body weight, you are overfeeding or overeating. The two concepts are similar, yet not exactly the same. Overfeeding implies that a person is feeding someone else. In the context of this study collection, researchers are overfeeding study participants. Overeating implies that a person is eating "too much" on his or her own accord.

Quick overview of the science

  • Body fat and lean mass typically increase during overfeeding. Though, it depends on how much protein one is consuming (i.e. Bray et al., 2012).
  • Protein is a special macronutrient. The body does not necessarily gain fat when overfeeding protein.
  • Overfeeding fats and carbs typically leads to similar gains in body weight and body fat
  • Overfeeding on nuts leads to unexpectedly little body fat gain
  • The body will often partially compensate for excess energy intake by increasing energy expenditure (i.e. eat more, move more). This can help limit fat gain.

The Science of Overfeeding

In the scientific literature, overfeeding is typically done by estimating how much energy the subjects expend on a daily basis (Total Daily Energy Expenditure). Then, the scientists ask the subjects to eat more food than usual, or the food could also be provided to the subjects (aka feeding studies).

From there, they can measure how much more energy the subjects consumed compared to their habitual diet.

Some studies are done in metabolic wards where the scientists can control most relevant aspects of a subject’s life, such as physical movement, exercise, other activities, and food intake. Search for “metabolic ward” to find these studies.

Overfeeding studies are interesting because they allow researchers to measure how the body reacts to energy excess. 

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Quotes from overfeeding studies

Protein
Energy Compensation
Fats vs. carbs
Insulin sensitivity

“(...) despite the total increase in energy intake during the high protein phase, subjects did not experience an increase in fat mass.” - Antonio et al., 2016

 

"Dietary protein appears to have a protective effect against fat gain during times of energy surplus, especially when combined with resistance training. Therefore, the evidence suggests that dietary protein may be the key macronutrient in terms of promoting positive changes in body composition." - Leaf and Antonio, 2017

 

"Among persons living in a controlled setting, calories alone account for the increase in fat; protein affected energy expenditure and storage of lean body mass, but not body fat storage." - Bray et al., 2012

 

"Excess energy, as fat, does not acutely increase [24 hour energy expenditure], which rises slowly as body weight increases. Excess energy as protein acutely stimulates [24 hour energy expenditure] and [sleep energy expenditure]." - Bray et al., 2015

“(...) peanut consumption elicited a strong compensatory dietary response (ie subjects compensated for 66% of the energy provided by the nuts) and body weight gain (1.0 kg) was significantly lower than predicted (3.6 kg; P<0.01). (...) Resting energy expenditure was increased by 11% after regular peanut consumption for 19 weeks (P<0.01).” - Alper and Mattes, 2002

 

“Two weeks of snacking based on peanuts does not cause the same negative metabolic effects as an isocaloric diet in which the snacking is based on short acting carbohydrates in the form of candy in non-obese healthy subjects” - Claesson et al., 2009

 

“smaller than expected weight gains from overeating (luxuskonsumption) were largely explained by increased thermogenesis, except when the diet was high in protein and fat.” - Webb and Annis, 1983

"There was no significant difference in fat balance during controlled overfeeding with fat, fructose, glucose, or sucrose." - McDevitt et al. 2000

 

"Excess dietary fat leads to greater fat accumulation than does excess dietary carbohydrate, and the difference was greatest early in the overfeeding period." - Horton et al. 1995

 

"(...) fat storage during overfeeding of isoenergetic amounts of diets rich in carbohydrate or in fat was not significantly different, and carbohydrates seemed to be converted to fat by both hepatic and extrahepatic lipogenesis." - Lammert et al. 2000

“Subjects gained 7.6 ± 2.1 kg (55% fat) and insulin sensitivity decreased 18% (P < 0.001) after overfeeding” - Johannsen et al., 2014

Overfeeding study collection

Reviews of studies (5)

Study

Type

Year

Authors

The Effects of Overfeeding on Body Composition: The Role of Macronutrient Composition (link)

Review

2017

Leaf and Antonio

What have human experimental overfeeding studies taught us about adipose tissue expansion and susceptibility to obesity and metabolic complications? (link)

Review

2017

Cuthbertson et al.

Resistance to weight gain during overfeeding: a NEAT explanation (link)

Review

2001

Vanltallie

Metabolic adaptations to over—and underfeeding—still a matter of debate? (link)

Review

2012

Westerterp

Energy expenditure during overfeeding (link)

Review

2006

Joosen and Westerterp

General overfeeding studies (13)

Study

Type

Year

Authors

The effect of 6 weeks of overfeeding on the body weight, body composition, and energy metabolism of young men (link)

Trial

1980

Norgan and Durnin

Specific appetite, energetic and metabolomics responses to fat overfeeding in resistant-to-bodyweight-gain constitutional thinness (link)

Trial

2014

Germain et al.

Higher Daily Energy Expenditure and Respiratory Quotient, Rather Than Fat-Free Mass, Independently Determine Greater ad Libitum Overeating (link)

Trial

2015

Piaggi

The response to long-term overfeeding in identical twins (link)

Trial

1990

Bouchard et al.

Long-term increase of fat mass after a four week intervention with fast food based hyper-alimentation and limitation of physical activity (link)

Trial

2010

Ernersson et al.

Effect of overfeeding macronutrients on day-to-day food intake in man (link)

Trial

1996

Johnstone et al.

Effect of carbohydrate overfeeding on whole body macronutrient metabolism and expression of lipogenic enzymes in adipose tissue of lean and overweight humans (link)

Trial

2004

Minehira et al.

De novo lipogenesis during controlled overfeeding with sucrose or glucose in lean and obese women (link)

Trial

2001

McDevitt et al.

Overfeeding Polyunsaturated and Saturated Fat Causes Distinct Effects on Liver and Visceral Fat Accumulation in Humans (link)

Trial

2014

Rosqvist et al.

A Randomized Study of the Effects of Additional Fruit and Nuts Consumption on Hepatic Fat Content, Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Basal Metabolic Rate (link)

RCT

2016

Agebratt et al

Effect of 8 weeks of overfeeding on ectopic fat deposition and insulin sensitivity: testing the "adipose tissue expandability" hypothesis (link)

RCT

2014

Johannsen et al.

Experimental obesity in man: cellular character of the adipose tissue (link)

Trial

1971

Salans et al.

Regional differences in cellular mechanisms of adipose tissue gain with overfeeding (link)

Trial

2010

Tchoukalova et al.

Fat versus carbohydrate overfeeding (6)

Study

Type

Year

Authors

Fat and carbohydrate overfeeding in humans: different effects on energy storage (link)

Trial

1995

Horton et al.

Effects of isoenergetic overfeeding of either carbohydrate or fat in young men (link)

Trial

2000

Lammert et al.

Macronutrient disposal during controlled overfeeding with glucose, fructose, sucrose, or fat in lean and obese women (link)

Trial

2000

McDevitt et al.

Opposite Regulation of Insulin Sensitivity by Dietary Lipid Versus Carbohydrate Excess (link)

Trial

2017

Lundsgaard

Short-term overeating results in incomplete energy intake compensation regardless of energy density or macronutrient composition (link)

Crossover

2014

Apolzan et al.

Effects of short-term overfeeding with fructose, fat and fructose plus fat on plasma and hepatic lipids in healthy men (link)

 

2010

Sobrecases et al.

Protein overfeeding (4)

Study

Type

Year

Authors

Effect of Dietary Protein Content on Weight Gain, Energy Expenditure, and Body Composition During Overeating (link)

Metabolic ward (RCT)

2012

Bray et al.

Effect of protein overfeeding on energy expenditure measured in a metabolic chamber (link)

Metabolic ward (RCT)

2015

Bray et al.

Increased Protein Intake during Overfeeding Increases Energy Expenditure, Satiety, and Urinary Cortisol (presentation)

Trial

2015

Graham et al.

Additional protein intake limits weight regain after weight loss in humans (link)

Trial

2005

Lejeune et al.

Strength training plus overfeeding (5)

Study

Type

Year

Authors

Daily Overfeeding from Protein and/or Carbohydrate Supplementation for Eight Weeks in Conjunction with Resistance Training Does not Improve Body Composition and Muscle Strength or Increase Markers Indicative of Muscle Protein Synthesis and Myogenesis in Resistance-Trained Males (full text)

Trial

2016

Spillane and Willoughby

The effects of consuming a high protein diet (4.4 g/kg/d) on body composition in resistance-trained individuals (full text)

RCT

2014

Antonio et al.

A high protein diet (3.4 g/kg/d) combined with a heavy resistance training program improves body composition in healthy trained men and women (full text)

RCT

2015

Antonio et al.

The effects of a high protein diet on indices of health and body composition (link)

RCT

2016

Antonio et al.

A High Protein Diet Has No Harmful Effects: A One-Year Crossover Study in Resistance-Trained Males (link)

Crossover

2016

Antonio et al.

Nuts (2)

Study

Type

Year

Authors

Effects of chronic peanut consumption on energy balance and hedonics (link)

Cross-over

2002

Alper and Mattes

Two weeks of overfeeding with candy, but not peanuts, increases insulin levels and body weight (link)

RCT

2009

Claesson et al.

Energy expenditure (11)

Study

Type

Year

Authors

Effects of weight gain induced by controlled overfeeding on physical activity (full text)

Metabolic ward (RCT)

2014

Apolzan et al.

Short-term, mixed-diet overfeeding in man: no evidence for "luxuskonsumption" (link)

Trial

1985

Ravussin et al.

Thermogenesis in humans during overfeeding with medium-chain triglycerides (link)

Trial

1989

Hill et al.

Spontaneous overfeeding with a 'cafeteria diet' in men: effects on 24-hour energy expenditure and substrate oxidation (link)

Trial

1995

Larson et al.

Metabolic adaptation to caloric restriction and subsequent refeeding: the Minnesota Starvation Experiment revisited (link)

Trial

2015

Müller et al.

Effects of energy imbalance on energy expenditure and respiratory quotient in young and older men: A summary of data from two metabolic studies (link)

 

1996

Saltzman and Roberts

Effects of Age on Energy Expenditure and Substrate Oxidation During Experimental Overfeeding in Healthy Men (link)

Trial

1996

Roberts et al.

Decreased thermic effect of a mixed meal during overnutrition in human obesity (link)

Trial

1989

Katzeff and Danforth

Energy expenditure and subsequent nutrient intakes in overfed young men (link)

Trial

1990

Roberts et al.

Efficiency of autoregulatory homeostatic responses to imposed caloric excess in lean men (link)

 

2008

Siervo et al.

Adaptation to overeating in lean and overweight men and women (link)

Trial

2008

Webb and Annis

Overfeeding and hormones (5)

Study

Type

Year

Authors

Response of leptin to short-term and prolonged overfeeding in humans (link)

Trial

1996

Kolaczynski et al.

Hormonal response to overfeeding (link)

Trial

1989

Forbes et al.

Effects of short-term carbohydrate or fat overfeeding on energy expenditure and plasma leptin concentrations in healthy female subjects (link)

Trial

2000

Dirlewanger

Dietary-induced alterations in thyroid hormone metabolism during overnutrition (link)

Review

1979

Danforth et al.

Short-term, high-fat overfeeding impairs glycaemic control but does not alter gut hormone responses to a mixed meal tolerance test in healthy, normal-weight individuals (link)

Trial

2017

Parry et al.

Observational studies (1)

Study

Type

Year

Authors

Overeating with and without loss of control: Associations with weight status, weight-related characteristics, and psychosocial health (link)

Observational

2015

Goldschmidt et al.

Genetics and gene expression (3)

Study

Type

Year

Authors

Genotype-controlled changes in body composition and fat morphology following overfeeding in twins (link)

Trial

1986

Poehlman et al.

Changes in gene expression in skeletal muscle in response to fat overfeeding in lean men (link)

Trial

2007

Meugnier et al.

Beta-2 adrenergic receptor variants are associated with subcutaneous fat accumulation in response to long-term overfeeding (link)

Trial

2001

Ukkola et al.

Other studies (15)

Study

Type

Year

Authors

Eight weeks of overfeeding alters substrate partitioning without affecting metabolic flexibility in men (link)

Trial

2017

Peterson et al.

Serum sex steroids and steroidogenesis-related enzyme expression in skeletal muscle during experimental weight gain in men (link)

Trial

2014

Sato et al.

Short-Term Overfeeding Increases Circulating Adiponectin Independent of Obesity Status (link)

Trial

2013

Cahill et al.

Predicting metabolic adaptation, body weight change, and energy intake in humans (link)

 

2010

Hall

Impact of prolonged overfeeding on skeletal muscle mitochondria in healthy individuals (link)

Trial

2017

Toledo

Glycogen storage capacity and de novo lipogenesis during massive carbohydrate overfeeding in man (link)

Trial

1988

Acheson et al.

Food for Thought: Reward Mechanisms and Hedonic Overeating in Obesity (link)

Reviews

2017

Lee and Dixon

Effects of cholesterol ester transfer protein (CETP) gene on adiposity in response to long-term overfeeding (link)

Twin study

2008

Terán-García et al.

Effect of fructose overfeeding and fish oil administration on hepatic de novo lipogenesis and insulin sensitivity in healthy men (link)

Trial

2005

Faeh et al.

Dietary Protein Content Modulates the Amino-Acid and IGF1 Responses to Sucrose Overfeeding in Humans (link)

Trial

2017

Jegatheesan et al.

A STUDY OF WEIGHT REGULATION IN THE ADULT HUMAN BODY DURING OVER-NUTRITION (link)

 

1922

Gulick

A comparison of the accuracy of self-reported intake with measured intake of a laboratory overeating episode in overweight and obese women with and without binge eating disorder (link)

Trial

2013

Bartholome et al.

Rapid development of systemic insulin resistance with overeating is not accompanied by robust changes in skeletal muscle glucose and lipid metabolism (link)

Trial (hospital ward)

2013

Cornford et al.

Fast-food-based hyper-alimentation can induce rapid and profound elevation of serum alanine aminotransferase in healthy subjects (link)

RCT

2008

Kechagias et al.

Consuming fructose-sweetened, not glucose-sweetened, beverages increases visceral adiposity and lipids and decreases insulin sensitivity in overweight/obese humans (link)

Inpatient/outpatient study

2009

Stanhope et al. 2009

Studies without hyperlinks (1)

Study

Type

Year

Authors

Effects of a high (2.4 g/kg) vs. low/moderate (1.2 g/kg) protein intake on body composition in aspiring female physique athletes engaging in an 8 - week resistance training program

Trial

2016

Campbell