Tenacious Thermogenic Effect

A variety of different types of food

Tenacious Thermogenic Effect

The thermogenic effect can be quite powerful when practiced properly. The following general description was taken from an abstract to the source PubMed.com.

The intake of nutrients is known to increase energy expenditure. Measured thermic effects of nutrients are 0-3 percent for fat, 5-10 percent for carbohydrates and 20-30 percent for proteins. The autonomic nervous system modulates the thermogenic effect of nutrients.

Thermogenic Effect
Thermogenic Effect


The Thermogenic Effect in Simple Terms

Okay, let’s break this down into good old-fashioned plain English.

Following are some physiological facts that may help clarify the thermogenic effect. The thermogenic effect is often used in the several small meals a day approach to losing weight and gaining muscle.

      • Every single physiological process uses energy. This includes digesting food, breathing, thinking, blood circulation etc. In fact, some of the calories in the foods you eat are burned off just to digest them. The
        net amount of calories absorbed is actually less than the amount contained in the food. This process is called the thermogenic effect of food.
      • Negative calories. These are foods such as asparagus or lettuce that have a high thermogenic effect and a low calorie density. They are called negative calories because they are so low in calories the energy required to digest them can wipe out the calories. Pretty cool, isn’t it?
      • If you decide to try this approach, you’ll want to eat foods with a high thermogenic effect. Foods of this nature include fibrous vegetables and lean proteins. Examples are chicken breast, fish and egg whites.
      • You will never get fat eating lean proteins! Lean protein stimulates metabolism. Green vegetables or salads will never make you fat, either.
      • Fats and refined carbohydrates have a very low thermogenic effect.
      • For now, you should understand this. Eating every three hours equals high thermic effect. This leads to fast metabolism. Missing meals equals no thermic effect or a slow metabolism.

Thermal Effect of Proteins

It takes more energy for your body to break down proteins and use them than it does for simpler foods like sugars. The thermal effect of proteins is the highest of all foods. After eating protein your metabolic rate will increase by approximately 17 to 20 percent. In other words, if you eat 100 calories of protein, 17 to 20 calories will be used just to digest the protein! By comparison, the thermal effect of carbohydrates is typically around 10-percent while fat is just 5-percent. If you can eat complex food every three hours while awake, your body will better utilize the nutrients you consume because the nutrients are in appropriate quantities, which your body can easily break down and use.

Too many nutrients ingested at once tend to overload your digestive system. Thus, many valuable nutrients are converted to fat. Frequent feeding helps to stabilize blood sugar levels, which in turn reduces hunger and cravings, halts fat storage and reduces the feeling of sluggishness that accompanies big meals. Many people follow a daily diet like this by eating six small meals each day and swear it is the fastest and most painless way to lose fat and gain muscle!

In Summary

Once you understand the concept of the thermogenic effect, you’ll never want to miss a meal again! You’ll realize that eating properly increases your metabolism to help you get leaner. Skipping meals slows down your metabolism and makes you fatter!

Now that’s a more pleasant sounding process, isn’t it?

PS. Thermogenic effect and thermic effect are interchangeable terms.

Author: Jeni

Certified by the Professional School of Fitness and Nutrition in March, 1995; honored for exemplary grades. Practicing fitness and nutrition for over 20 years. Featured in the Feb. 1994 issue of "Shape" magazine. Featured in Collage in the spring issue of 1995 Low fat recipe's published in Taste of Home, Quick Cooking, and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, among others. September, 2001: Featured in "Winning The War on Cholesterol" By Rodale Publishing

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