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Altitude and energy expenditure

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created October 18, 2012 at 4:17 AM

Is energy expenditure actually greater at a higher altitude? Obviously physical exertion is more challenging due to lower oxygen concentration, but does that translate to increased caloric needs for the same activities? I'm originally a lowlander now living in the high Rockies at around 9000ft (been here for the last year and some). This is something I've been curious about lately as my appetite is clearly greater living here than it was at sea level.

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3 Answers

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1b47e0a6d7984e33e59581d8364cc3dd

(716)

on October 18, 2012
at 06:44 AM

Interesting observation, I've had the same experience when going in the mountains. The natives in the mountains usually say that the air increases your appetite.

The answer is that the basal metabolic rate increases between 6 and 28% http://jap.physiology.org/content/16/3/431.abstract

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F9638b939a6f85d67f60065677193cad

(4266)

on October 18, 2012
at 06:26 PM

A lot of things change in your body at altitude. You even create more red blood cells. Your body is making all kinds of changes and compensations and this has to have an effect on energy expenditure even at rest. Until you acclimatize and it becomes your new normal.

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Medium avatar

(3213)

on October 18, 2012
at 06:38 AM

I think there is an increase in caloric expenditure due to the decrease in temperature. Your metabolism works harder maintaining your body temp.

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