What Is Resting Metabolic Rate

The terms “resting metabolic rate” (RMR) and “basal metabolic rate” (BMR) are used frequently when discussing metabolism and weight loss. In many cases, people use these terms to explain the same concept. However, although similar, resting and basal metabolic rates are not the same. While both of these measurements indicate the number of calories an individual burns at rest, basal metabolic rate is measured with more restrictions than resting metabolic rate.

How Is It Measured?

RMR measures the amount of energy you expend when your body is at rest. When your resting metabolic rate is measured, you must recline and remain still throughout the measurement. Your metabolic rate will then be measured through gas analysis. This is considerably different from basal metabolic rate, which requires 12 hours of fasting and eight hours of sleep in a dark room before the measurement can be taken. Resting metabolic rate can also be estimated using basic information such as your weight and height. However, estimates are not as accurate as measurements made through gas analysis.

What Does Resting Metabolic Rate Mean?

RMR tells you how many calories you need to maintain your body if you were to remain at rest throughout the day. This measure varies based on several factors, including your age, muscle mass, nutrition and more. When these factors change, your RMR changes in response.

This measure can be useful for people who are trying to lose or maintain their current weight. Once you know how many calories you burn when you’re at rest, you can determine how many calories you need to eat each day for safe, consistent weight loss.

Obesity and RMR

If your resting metabolic rate is too low, you may gain weight over time. In fact, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a low resting metabolic rate has been linked to an increased risk of obesity. The most conservative treatments for obesity, which include dietary changes and exercise, may not be as effective for individuals who have a low resting metabolic rate. In such cases, people often need weight loss surgery in order to maintain long term weight loss.

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