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Linear Extrapolation Results in Erroneous Overestimation of Plausible Stressor-Related Yearly Weight Changes

  • Michelle M. Bohan Brown
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to Michelle M. Bohan Brown, Ph.D., Clemson University, 219 Poole Agricultural Center, Clemson, SC 29634
    Affiliations
    Department of Food, Nutrition, and Packaging Sciences, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina
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  • Andrew W. Brown
    Affiliations
    Office of Energetics, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama

    Nutrition Obesity Research Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama
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  • David B. Allison
    Affiliations
    Office of Energetics, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama

    Nutrition Obesity Research Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama

    Department of Nutrition Sciences, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama.
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Published:December 08, 2014DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2014.10.028
      We appreciate the enthusiasm of Kiecolt-Glaser et al. (
      • Kiecolt-Glaser J.K.
      • Habash D.L.
      • Fagundes C.P.
      • Andridge R.
      • Peng J.
      • Malarkey W.B.
      • Belury M.A.
      Daily stressors, past depression, and metabolic responses to high-fat meals: A novel path to obesity.
      ) for investigating depression and daily stressors as putative contributors to obesity. However, the use of the linear extrapolation known as the “3500 kcal rule” erroneously estimates the expected weight change contribution of these factors to obesity. The 3500 kcal rule is an estimation of the calorie amount required to cause 1 lb of weight change that is frequently, but erroneously, used to calculate weight loss or gain from changes in energy intake and expenditure (
      • Casazza K.
      • Fontaine K.R.
      • Astrup A.
      • Birch L.L.
      • Brown A.W.
      • Bohan Brown M.M.
      • et al.
      Myths, presumptions and facts about obesity.
      ).
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      Linked Article

      • Stress, Depression, and Metabolism: Replies to Bohan Brown et al. and Barton and Yancy
        Biological PsychiatryVol. 78Issue 4
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          We recently reported adverse metabolic alterations related to stress and depression following high-fat meals (1). In their response our article, Bohan Brown et al. (2) raise an interesting question related to our caloric calculations; they suggest that the differences we observed would translate to a gain of 6.4 lb/year compared with the 10.8 lb/year that we had computed based on the 3500 kcal rule. Their argument is based on newer literature that has primarily addressed decreased caloric expenditure as weight loss occurs, but we acknowledge that the state of the field is such that we cannot calculate the total caloric impact over time with certainty.
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