British Journal of Nutrition

Research Article

Effects of isoenergetic overfeeding of either carbohydrate or fat in young men

Ole Lammerta1, Niels Grunneta2 c1, Peter Fabera1, Kirsten Schroll Bjørnsboa1, John Dicha2, Lis Olesen Larsena3, Richard A. Neesea4, Marc K. Hellersteina4 and Bjørn Quistorffa2

a1 Department of Sports Sciences and Clinical Biomechanics, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Southern Denmark, Main Campus: Odense University, Denmark

a2 Department of Medical Biochemistry and Genetics, Panum Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

a3 August Krogh Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

a4 Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA


Ten pairs of normal men were overfed by 5 MJ/d for 21 d with either a carbohydrate-rich or a fat-rich diet (C- and F-group). The two subjects in each pair were requested to follow each other throughout the day to ensure similar physical activity and were otherwise allowed to maintain normal daily life. The increase in body weight, fat free mass and fat mass showed great variation, the mean increases being 1·5 kg, 0·6 kg and 0·9 kg respectively. No significant differences between the C- and F-group were observed. Heat production during sleep did not change during overfeeding. The RQ during sleep was 0·86 and 0·78 in the C- and F-group respectively. The accumulated faecal loss of energy, DM, carbohydrate and protein was significantly higher in the C- compared with the F-group (30, 44, 69 and 51 % higher respectively), whereas the fat loss was the same in the two groups. N balance was not different between the C- and F-group and was positive. Fractional contribution from hepatic de novo lipogenesis, as measured by mass isotopomer distribution analysis after administration of [1-13C]acetate, was 0·20 and 0·03 in the C-group and the F-group respectively. Absolute hepatic de novo lipogenesis in the C-group was on average 211 g per 21 d. Whole-body de novo lipogenesis, as obtained by the difference between fat mass increase and dietary fat available for storage, was positive in six of the ten subjects in the C-group (mean 332 (SEM 191) g per 21 d). The change in plasma leptin concentration was positively correlated with the change in fat mass. Thus, 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.

(Received August 31 1999)

(Revised December 07 1999)

(Accepted January 11 2000)


c1 *Corresponding author: Dr Niels Grunnet, fax +45 35 32 77 01, email