Thursday, June 2, 2011

Thermogenic Effect of Food

When you eat food, your body does more than just add calories, it also burns them. The act of digestion takes energy and therefore burn calories, which is also known as the "thermogenic effect of food." This effect accounts for five to 10 percent of your metabolic rate, so you want to make sure to eat the right foods that stimulate the most thermogenic effect. Protein has the most thermogenic effect of all nutrients. A whopping 30 percent of the calories from protein are used during digestion! So if you eat 100 calories of protein, 30 calories will be burned through digestion leaving you with a net 70 calories. The fiber and complex carbs in vegetables will also force your body to do some extra work.

A study supported by the National Institute of Health recently found that adding cayenne pepper to a meal can actually increase the amount of calories burned by 10%. It is believed that this effect was caused by increasing the body systems responsible for energy expenditure. The results of the study indicate that the effect is more pronounced for individuals who do not regularly ingest spicey foods. Though the effect was small the researchers indicate that it could be a component helpful in moderating one's diet.

And for more information on healthy living, or to schedule a consultation for physical therapy, feel free to contact us at 518-690-4406 or visit our website at or email us at

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