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What's so neat about N.E.A.T?

Ellie S

N.E.A.T stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. It consists of all of the physical activity that we perform in a day that isn’t counted as exercise.

Let’s break it down

Our energy balance (EB) is determined by: our daily calorie intake – our daily calorie expenditureA negative EB results in weight loss, a positive EB results in weight gain and an EB of 0 will result in weight maintenance.Our daily calorie intake is made up from the energy of everything that we eat and drink.Our daily energy expenditure however is a bit more complicated as it is it made up of 3 factors;

  • Resting Metabolic Rate (how many calories you would burn if you laid completely still in bed all day and did nothing else).
  • Thermic Effect of Feeding (the energy required to metabolise the food that we eat).
  • Thermic Effect of Activity (the energy expended during exercise and N.E.A.T).

Your resting metabolic rate will make up the most of your energy expenditure and is something that we don’t have much control over. Food’s such as ones containing a lot of protein tend to have higher thermic effects of feeding as they require more complex processes to break down.This leaves thermic effect of activity which is the section that we have the most control over. This can be built up from exercise such as going for a run or swim. However, a large part of this can be made up from N.E.A.T.N.E.A.T is basically all of the rest of the activity we perform in a day. This could be, typing, walking to the toilet or up the stairs, or even things such as tapping you knee when sitting. Long story short it’s any movement which you wouldn’t class as exercise!Increasing your N.E.A.T can be a great way to increase your overall energy expenditure and decrease your energy balance.


How can I increase my N.E.A.T?

It’s all about small, realistic changes to our every day lifestyle. Here are a few examples that would count as N.E.A.T:

  • Taking the stairs instead of the escalator
  • Getting up every 20 minutes for a walk to the toilet or to get a glass of water etc.
  • Shopping
  • Cleaning
  • Cooking
  • Fidgeting

Although these things probably won’t use up as much energy as if we managed to get out on a run or cycle, small increased in activity can make a big difference. For example, say you only burnt an extra 19 calories per day through N.E.A.T than you are currently. This would equate to 7,000 calories per year which is roughly equivalent to 2lb/0.9Kg of fat.


Take away messages for N.E.A.T

We think N.E.A.T is neat because it is an easy way to increase your daily energy expenditure without making drastic changes to your daily life. Unfortunately, we are not saying that this means there is no need for exercise. Exercise has a whole host of added health benefits aside from burning calories and weight loss. Exercise is still one of the best ways that you can improve your health and quality of life, but adding in some extra N.E.A.T certainly won’t hurt!


If you're looking to get started on your healthy weight loss journey today, head over to the get started page here.Whilst you're here, why not have a read of some of our other blogs here!

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