How Eating Certain Foods can Burn More Calories than the Actual Meal You’re Eating!
When it comes to losing fat and building muscle, eating less food is not the answer to getting lean and dropping weight. Media will try to tell you that losing excess fat is simply a matter of using more calories than you eat. What they don’t tell you is that eating less will slow your metabolism down… drastically.
Part of the secret to eating the right amounts of food while keeping your fat levels in check comes from utilizing the “thermic effect of food” to your advantage. The thermic effect (or specific dynamic action of food) is the additional calories burned above your resting metabolic rate used due to the energy need for digestion, absorption, and disposal of food taken in. Simply put, not all foods are created equal. In fact, some of the foods you eat speed up your metabolism much more than others.
You’ll find it much easier to reduce body fat levels if you consume plenty of foods with a higher thermic effect. A great example is protein. Protein tends to have a much higher thermic effect than other types of foods.
The first step is to get a rough idea for the thermic effect of the food you are eating.
- Fats: Thermic effect of about 3%. Keeping certain levels of fats in your diet is necessary, but fats tend to be high in calories and have a low thermic effect.
- Fibrous vegetables: Thermic effect of about 20%. Many fruits and vegetables are negative calorie foods. Get a good portion of vegetable in at least 2-3 of your 6 daily meals.
- Proteins: Thermic effect of about 30%. High protein foods are essential for muscle gain and fat loss. Think of these foods as your metabolic stimulator. One portion with each of your 6 meals.
How to make the Thermic Effect of Food work for you:
- Macronutrient Portions: Each meal you eat should have an ample portion of protein and a portion of either complex carbohydrate (like whole grains, sweet potatoes, or brown rice) or healthy fats (depending on the time of day). Always ensure that you’re eating 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. Spread your protein intake evenly throughout the day.
- Weight Lifting: Yes, weight training increases the thermic effect of the foods you eat.
- Vegetables: Again, eat plenty of vegetables, particularly fibrous vegetables.
- Do not be scared of Carbohydrates: Instead, look to control them and use them to your advantage. Never drop your carbohydrate intake below 25-30% of your total calories.
You will always need at least some carbohydrate intake to keep your body moving and your metabolism roaring. Carbohydrates provide your body with the energy needed to get through the workouts you need and the energy you aspire to have. They are energy source for your muscles and without some carbs you will not be able make it through the type of exercise program required to burn fat and build muscle.
And Now for the Good Part:
Negative Calorie Foods!
Foods that burn more calories than they provide to you are what we call negative calorie foods. These foods have a double advantage to their incorporation into our daily diets. First off, these foods actually take more energy (burn more calories) to be digested and absorbed than are included in eating them. Secondly, eating these foods will actually slow the absorption of the other foods you are eating along with them. That’s a very good thing. The slower the absorption of energy throughout the day, the better. It’s that simple!
Here’s a List of Negative Calorie Vegetables:
Asparagus Beet Root
Celery Chicory Cucumber
Garden cress Green Beans