The whole body calormietry unit (WBCU) is a a sophisticated research suite where a complete assessment of an individuals energy balance (calories in versus calories expended) is performed using indirect calorimetry. The WBCU at the HNRU is one of two units in Canada and less than twenty in the world. It is the most precise way of study energy metabolism, and provides information regarding the number of calories burned:
The WBCU also determines the 'respiratory quotient', a value that describes whether energy is being burned from fat or carbohydrate.
The amount of time a person spends in the WBCU can range from one hour to 24 hours depending on the goals of the research study. Research applications with this unit are extensive, and could include energy metabolism studies on individuals such as:
The WBCU could also be used to determine the effect of substances such as medications, vitamins, minerals, and specific food or beverages on human metabolism.