NEAT; a new strategy to increase energy expenditure

NEAT is the energy expended for everything we do other than sleeping, eating food or doing sports like activity. There are several ways by which we can burn more calories without doing planned exercises. There are three principal components of human energy balance basal metabolic rate (BMR), the thermic effect of food (TEF), and activity thermogenesis. Other small components of energy expenditure may contribute to the whole, such as the energetic costs of medications and emotions.

lets explain these in more detail

B.M.R: BMR is the energy used for basic functions when body is at rest. This account for 70% of our total energy expenditure

T.E.F(Thermic effect of food); it is the energy used to breakdown food. Different macronutrients have different thermic effects. Evidence suggests that the thermic effect of food accounts for roughly 5 to 10% of the ingested food’s energy content. Protein hs the highest T.E.F., and this means our body burn more calories, breaking it down than it does with fats or carbs.

E.A.T; The energy used in planned physical activity. E.A.T makes up the smallest proportion of our daily energy expenditure.

Commonly EAT accounts for a maximum of 15-30% of TEE in those who regularly participate in the recommended physical training, and it explains 1-2% of the variance in TEE. However, for the majority of people in modern society, EAT is believed to be negligible. Also, adherence to the recommended exercise intensity and duration remains low in obese patients, and consequently, EAT is nearer to zero.

1 hour of exercise = 4% of the day

NEAT= 60-65% of the day


  • walking towards workplace /school
  • Climbing stairs
  • cooking
  • cleaning
  • Washing your dishes rather putting up in dishwasher
  • get up and move for every 2 minutes after every 30 or 60 minutes of desk work.
  • Pace while talking on the phone.
  • Typing
  • Undertaking agriculture work
  • Working in backyard
  • Toe tipping
  • Shopping
  • Dancing, playing the guitar

factors involved in the level of NEAT

The factors that impact a human’s NEAT are readily divisible into environmental factors, such as occupation or dwelling within a “concrete jungle,” and biological factors such as weight, gender, and body composition.

NEAT is the most variable component of energy expenditure, both within and between the subjects, ranging from ∼15% of total daily energy expenditure in very sedentary individuals to 50% or more of total daily energy expenditure in highly active individuals. Browsing in a store (walking at 1 mph) doubles energy expenditure, and purposeful walking (2–3 mph) is associated with doubling or tripling energy expenditure.

evidence behind NEAT benefits

In this obesogenic environment, where putting on weight is too easy, a conventional intervention aimed at energy imblance. However, this strategy has mixed results in long term studies. Hence an alternative app-roach has emerged, focused on reducing the total amount of time spent doing sedentary activities. It is estimated that around 14-15 hours a day we spend sitting and not moving our bodies.

There is growing body of evidence showing people with higher levels of NEAT have lower rates of impaired glucose control, diabetes, and obesity.

take-home message

By avoiding prolonged sitting, promoting motion, and engaging in simple, repetitive, and creative activities, a significant amount of extra calories may be expended that can reduce weight and perhaps prevent the cardiovascular and metabolic complications associated with obesity.

So the next time you’re looking to rev up your calorie burn, choose the N.E.A.T. way to stay active. N.E.A.T. is a beneficial addition to your exercise routine that does not take time away from home or family—perfect for those who find time is their worst enemy.

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”— Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

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