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How to Make Food Help You Lose Weight through Its Thermic Effect Trying to drop some unwanted pounds? Aside from taking note of fattening foods, consider those that have fat-burning effects as well. Yes, such foods exist, and they are those that pump up your metabolism, making your body burn more energy to digest, absorb, and distribute nutrients to your cells. This process is known as the thermic effect of food, or simply TEF. About 5-10% of your daily energy requirements are reserved for processing the food you ingest. However, take note that not all foods are the same, which means some foods have a higher TEF than others. Fats vs. Generally speaking, proteins take the most energy or calories to digest compared to carbohydrates and fats. You’ll have to burn up to 30% of the calories contained in lean protein foods in order to process them, making proteins number one in terms of TEF. Ranked next to protein are carbohydrates. Carb-rich foods have a thermic effect that ranges between 15-20% of the calories they contain. Fats happen to be the most easily digested of the three macronutrients, having a thermic effect of only 2-3%. This indicates that eating fatty foods will give you a net caloric gain of 97 to 98%, compared to lean protein’s 70%.
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High-quality Protein
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High-quality protein foods not only have a high TEF, but are also more satisfying, enabling you to manage your in-between-meal cravings better. This is due to protein’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels, keeping those sharp, short-lived ups and downs in blood glucose that are linked to hunger pangs. Of course, the key is picking the right proteins to have in your diet. Ideal protein foods in terms of TEF are milk, which is high in metabolism-boosting calcium; lean pork, beef, chicken and turkey; sardines and salmon, which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids for the heart; and tuna. According to studies, tuna has a lowering effect on your blood leptin (a metabolism-slowing hormone) levels. Fiber-rich Carbohydrates Experts recommend increasing high-fiber carbohydrate intake as a way to rev up metabolism. Some high-fiber carb foods with high TEF are oatmeal, brown rice, blueberries, salad greens and multigrain cereals. Metabolic Stimulants Caffeine and some spices are found to extend and build up the thermic effect of high-thermic foods. Capsaicin, for instance, which is found in paprika and chili peppers, not just pumps up your metabolism, but also slows down cholesterol absorption and increases the production of fat-metabolizing enzymes. Caffeine is also known to give your metabolism a quick lift. Indeed, weight loss is not just about exercising more or cutting back on your food intake. It also involves wise food choices, especially when you know which foods can actually help you achieve your target weight faster.