What is the Thermic Effect of Food?
Have you ever heard of the Thermic Effect of Food?!
Let’s dive into the Thermic Effect of Food and specifically, the thermic effect of protein and its effect on weight loss.
The Thermic Effect of Food refers to the energy our body uses to digest, absorb, and metabolize the food we eat. Each macronutrient (protein, carbohydrates, and fat) has a different thermic effect, with protein having the highest.
The Thermic Effect of Protein, Carbohydrates and Fat
Protein has a thermic effect of around 20-30%, meaning that if you eat 100 calories worth of protein, your body will use 20-30 calories to digest and process it.
Carbohydrates have a thermic effect of 5-10%, with high fiber carbohydrates having a higher thermic effect. You’d burn 5-10 calories per 100 calories consumed.
Lastly, fat has a thermic effect of 0-3% so you’ll burn 0-3 calories processing 100 calories of fat.
How Protein Effects Weight Loss
So, why is this important for weight loss?
When you eat more protein, you increase the amount of energy your body uses to process the food you eat. This increases your overall total daily energy expenditure (the total calories you burn every day), which can help create a calorie deficit and promote weight loss.
The Thermic Effect of Food, Protein, and Building Muscle
Remember, protein is also essential for building and maintaining muscle mass. As I covered in this post, having a low enough body fat percentage to see the shape of your muscles is what gives you a “toned” look. To build and maintain muscle mass, you need adequate protein intake.
So, if you want to promote weight loss, stay full and satiated from your meals, and achieve that “toned” look, focus on strength training and adequate protein intake!
Foods with a High Thermic Effect of Food
Here’s a list of my favorite foods that have a high thermic effect of food. Remember, foods containing mostly protein will have the highest thermic effect:
- Lean red meat
- Greek yogurt
- Cottage cheese
- Protein powders (whey is my go-to)
- Whole grains
- Chia seeds
- Flax seeds
- Leafy greens
Eating to Increase Your Thermic Effect of Food
The easiest way you can increase your Thermic Effect of Food is by eating adequate protein! Aim to get .7-1g of protein per pound of body weight every single day.
To reach that goal, divide your total intake by four. Aim to get that amount of protein in three separate meals a day, and spread the remaining portion out between one or two snacks or protein shakes!