Neither Postabsorptive Resting Nor Postprandial Fat Oxidation Are Related to Peak Fat Oxidation in Men With Chronic Paraplegia

Kevin A. Jacobs, David W. McMillan, Jennifer L. Maher, James L.J. Bilzon, Mark S. Nash

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The peak rate of fat oxidation (PFO) achieved during a graded exercise test is an important indicator of metabolic health. In healthy individuals, there is a significant positive association between PFO and total daily fat oxidation (FO). However, conditions resulting in metabolic dysfunction may cause a disconnect between PFO and non-exercise FO. Ten adult men with chronic thoracic spinal cord injury (SCI) completed a graded arm exercise test. On a separate day following an overnight fast (≥ 10 h), they rested for 60 min before ingesting a liquid mixed meal (600 kcal; 35% fat, 50% carbohydrate, 15% protein). Expired gases were collected and indirect calorimetry data used to determine FO at rest, before and after feeding, and during the graded exercise test. Participants had “good” cardiorespiratory fitness (VO2peak: 19.2 ± 5.2 ml/kg/min) based on normative reference values for SCI. There was a strong positive correlation between PFO (0.30 ± 0.08 g/min) and VO2peak (r = 0.86, p = 0.002). Additionally, postabsorptive FO at rest was significantly and positively correlated with postprandial peak FO (r = 0.77, p = 0.01). However, PFO was not significantly associated with postabsorptive FO at rest (0.08 ± 0.02 g/min; p = 0.97), postprandial peak FO (0.10 ± 0.03 g/min; p = 0.43), or incremental area under the curve postprandial FO (p = 0.22). It may be advantageous to assess both postabsorptive FO at rest and PFO in those with SCI to gain a more complete picture of their metabolic flexibility and long-term metabolic health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number703652
JournalFrontiers in Nutrition
StatePublished - Jul 26 2021


  • cardiorespiratory fitness
  • fat utilization
  • fuel metabolism
  • peak fat oxidation
  • spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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