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Set Point Theory

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Updated May 30, 2014

Patient and Doctor at weight scale
Monica Rodriguez/Photodisc/Getty Images

Definition: Set point theory is a theory that the body maintains its normal weight and body fat level with internal regulatory controls that dictate how much fat one has. According to the set point theory, some individuals have a high setting, meaning they tend to have a naturally higher weight as a set point, and others have a low set point, and therefore a naturally lower body weight.

The set point theory suggests that despite dieting efforts, the body tends to return to its set point weight, however regular, consistent exercise may help to adjust the natural set point.  Some refer to the set point theory as an internal "thermostat" that regulates body fat.

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