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Maximum calorie absorption? Burn by DR. Pontzer

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  • Maximum calorie absorption? Burn by DR. Pontzer

    I recently took physiology, exercise physiology, and gross anatomy as part of my coursework for a movement science degree in kinesiology from the university of Michigan. I was under the impression that the intestines could pretty much absorb everything you give it calorie wise minus what gets lost in feces.

    After reading the book “burn” by Dr. Herman Pontzer on the constrained energy model, it sounded like the body can only maximally absorb 4-5000 Kcal. This was discussed in the book with a conversation about Michael Phelps and his supposedly insane ~11,000 calorie intake.

    Does the body have a maximal amount of calories it can absorb and use during a 24/hr period as indicated by Dr. Pontzer? Or will the intestines absorb everything you give it and store the rest as fat mass after all possible calories could be used for other functions? I know everyone is different, but is there an upper limit of what can be absorbed and used?

    Looking forward to your answer,


  • #2
    It seems like the max liberation of energy via absorption, metabolism, etc. from the gut is somewhere around 3-times a person's BMR. Seems like people won't eat more than that by mouth and/or some of it ends up in the toilet.
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