The Thermal effect of food (TEF) is the amount of energy needed to digest and process the food you eat. Basically, each bite of the food “costs” a certain number of calories to break it down.
Knowing this fact has also given rise to many cute theories about how to lose weight.
For example, some people claim that there are “negative calorie foods” that actually cost more energy to digest than they provide.
Others claim that by “chowing down” small meals every few hours, you can maintain your fat loss throughout the day.
Others claim that devouring protein, etc Foods with high thermal effect Similar benefits can be produced.
Here’s the main fact:
Although you can increase your TEF daily by eating more protein and whole foods, increasing the number or size of your meal will not (eating more often will not “surge” your metabolism) moreover You still need to control your calorie intake, regardless of the TEF of your meals.
Keep reading to learn how the thermic effect of food works, how to enhance the thermic effect of food, and for a comprehensive list of highs substancescaloric foods.
Thermic effect of food (TEF) is the amount of energy required to digest and process the food you eat, and the main determinants of TEF are the macronutrient composition of a meal, how foods are processed, and the size of your meal.
In general, TEF is measured as a percentage of a food’s calories required to digest that food. In other words, if a portion of a particular food contains 100 calories, and the body burns 20 calories to digest it, then that food contains 20% TEF (20/100 = 20%).
The biggest determinant of the thermic effect of food is the macronutrient composition of your meals. Here’s how it’s done Collapses:
- Protein tops the list with TEF around 20 to 35%.
- The carbohydrates then come with a TEF of about 5 to 10%.
- The percentage of fat in the latter ranges from 0 to 3%.
Alcohol has a high level of TEF Around 10 to 15%, which leads some people to believe that drinking alcohol may actually be beneficial for fat loss. However, the problem with this type of thinking is that although alcohol is high in TEF, it can also occur Reduce fat burning In other ways (especially when you have a calorie surplus).
After macronutrient composition, the second major determinant of TEF is the level of food processing – foods that are more processed have less TEF than foods that are less processed.
For example, a a study Scientists at Pomona College found that a diet made of white bread and American cheese increased TEF about 10%, while a whole meal of multigrain bread and cheddar cheese increased TEF by about 20%. The difference would likely be greater if people ate a serving of high-fiber vegetables and lean protein (which are less processed than multigrain bread and cheddar cheese).
Finally, how much food you eat in one sitting also affects Your TEF is after a meal, with larger meals causing a greater increase than smaller meals.
And how does all this affect your metabolism? I’ll explain that in a bit, but the long story is that you can slightly increase your metabolic rate by consuming more high temperature foods. However, you still need to control your calorie intake to lose weight – just eating these foods will not be enough.
While there is no food that can “burn fat” some high temperature foods It can make it a little easier to lose weight and keep it off.
Remember that foods have High thermal effect They tend to be minimally processed foods, which is true for proteins, carbs, and fats, so you’ll want to prioritize these foods in your diet to maximize TEF. For example, although all protein-rich foods are high in TEF, chicken breast will do better than whey protein in this regard because it is less processed.
- black wheat
- Bulgarian wheat
- Kidney-shaped beans
- Chicken or turkey
- pork tenderloin
- Mutton (fat free)
- the Bull
- Deer meat
- Cottage cheese or Greek yogurt (low-fat)
- pumpkin seeds
- chia seeds
- an Apple
When you eat, your energy expenditure goes up, which is good for fat loss.
But what is detrimental to fat loss is that after a meal. . .
And no matter how high the thermogenic effect of the food you eat, the calories in that food will always reduce your fat burn. In other words, eating does not burn fat. Expending energy does.
Some foods lead to less fat storage than others, but rest assured that an energy surplus results in some degree of fat gain regardless of the composition of your diet.
Your body only starts burning body fat when your last meal is fully digested and absorbed, and thus when calories become scarce. The relationship between the amount of energy you consume (burn) and consume (eat) is indicated as power balance, it works as follows:
- If you eat more energy than you burn, you are in a positive energy balance, and you will gain fat.
- If you eat less energy than you burn, you are in a negative energy balance, and you will lose fat.
- If you eat the same amount of energy that you burn, you are in a neutral energy balance, and you will maintain your weight.
This is true no matter what types of foods you eat or how high or low their thermogenic effect is.
Remember that the thermic effect of food contributes to overall energy expenditure, which means that it contributes to weight loss by increasing the amount of energy your body burns. This is the good news.
The bad news is that the size of these effects is too small to really move the needle.
you may gain weight on a diet rich in high TEF foods because you simply eat a lot of them, and you can lose weight on a diet rich in low TEF foods simply because you Find out how many calories you should eat and regulate your intake.
This is why the idea of ”foods that burn fat” is a myth.
Alternatively, eating foods with a high thermogenic effect can help make your diet a little more effective, but it will never be enough to help you lose a significant amount of fat on its own.
If you would like to learn more about how to create an effective fat loss diet that helps you lose fat every week, eat the foods you love, Check out our customized meal planning service. And if you want to learn how to make a meal plan yourself, Read this article.
+ Scientific references
- Christine, S.; (2001). Mechanisms of nutritional and hormonal regulation of lipogenesis. EMBO Reports, 2 (4), 282. https://doi.org/10.1093/EMBO-REPORTS/KVE071
- L. C., G., R. C., B., M, S., A. S., P., & R. A., D. (1991). The role of free fatty acids and insulin in determining fatty acid and free lipid oxidation in man. Journal of Clinical Investigations, 87(1), 83-89. https://doi.org/10.1172/JCI115055
- Westerterp, K.R. (2004). Diet-induced thermogenesis. Nutrition and Metabolism 2004 1:1, 1 (1), 1-5. https://doi.org/10.1186/1743-7075-1-5
- Barr, SP; Wright, JC (2010). Postprandial energy expenditure in whole food and processed meals: implications for daily energy expenditure. Food and Nutrition Research, 54. https://doi.org/10.3402/FNR.V54I0.5144
- PM, S., E, J., & Y, S. (1994). Effect of ethanol on energy expenditure. American Journal of Physiology 266 (4 pt 2). https://doi.org/10.1152/AJPREGU.1994.266.4.R1204
- Westerterp, K.R. (2004). Diet-induced thermogenesis. Nutrition and Metabolism, 1, 5. https://doi.org/10.1186/1743-7075-1-5
- L, T.; (1996). Thermic effect of food and the activity of the sympathetic nervous system in man. Reproduction, Nutrition and Development, 36(4), 391-397. https://doi.org/10.1051/RND:19960405
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