So you’re probably thinking: “what the heck is THE THERMIC EFFECT OF FOOD and what does it have to do with me?” Well friends, the short answer is that THE THERMIC EFFECT OF FOOD actually has EVERYTHING to do with getting you to the leaner body you want. Before we delve into this subject I would like to digress for a moment. I have now been an avid fitness junkie for over 23 years and have been a fitness professional for 11 years. As such, I’m a huge advocate of education and have made an ongoing commitment to studying my craft. I am constantly reading up on all things fitness/nutrition, and through the years I have encountered everything from articles, blogs, magazines, books, advertisements, and anything else you can think of. As a result of all my research, I can tell you that I have personally arrived at this conclusion:
THERE IS JUST AS MUCH MISINFORMATION FLOATING AROUND AS THERE IS FACTUAL, EVIDENCE-BASED DATA!!
I’m sure you would agree. For instance, one minute they’re telling us that eggs are bad because they’re way too high in cholesterol. Then the next minute they say, “wait, we changed our minds…everyone should eat eggs, they’re nature’s perfect food.”
And then there were the 90’s when we experienced the Low-Fat craze. Boy, that was a lot of fun. Virtually every food package had a banner boasting “Lower Fat”, “Reduced Fat” or “Fat-Free.” And if you’re anything like me you quickly jumped right on the bandwagon and bought every single low fat item you could get your hands on. Finally you had found the answer to it all! I mean, I was buying “Low-Fat” Oreos and “Fat-Free” Ice-Cream and I actually thought I was eating healthy! Chalk that one up as a loss.
Now let’s fast forward to the current theater of so-called health food and talk briefly about one of the hottest trends…”GLUTEN-FREE.” Hahahahaha! (Yes, I literally just laughed out loud) To me this is probably the silliest of them all. Now hold your horses… If you do actually belong to the 1% of the U.S. population that suffers from celiac disease, or if you’re part of the 6% that is gluten intolerant, then please don’t be offended, because I absolutely recognize this as a real affliction. However, I have a very hard time believing that everyone suddenly has a gluten allergy and that gluten is the reason we are overweight. The fact of the matter is we have all been duped by the ever-greedy food corporations who prey on our insecurities. Maybe this will give you some perspective…. In 2012 the Gluten-Free industry had a handsome revenue of $11.5 Billion! Think that’s a lot? Well wrap your head around this…over the past 4 years that number has more than doubled, as 2016’s forecasted revenue is over $23 Billion! Well one thing is certain–For a group of people that supposedly oppose dough, the giants of the gluten-free industry sure do make a lot of bread!
If your head is spinning around and you feel like you’re more confused now than you were before you began reading this, then take a deep breath and keep reading because I believe I can help. All of the seemingly innocuous misinformation that perforates our society has become absolutely detrimental. Unfortunately, the result of all this jargon is that there are millions of people just like you who THINK they are making healthy choices and are busting their asses to try and lose weight, yet they are basically just chasing their own tails. That is exactly the reason I am writing this blog….
I’M GOING TO TEACH YOU NUTRITION WITH A COMMON-SENSE APPROACH SO YOU CAN CREATE A REALISTIC GAMEPLAN
If that interests you, then we must first visit what I call the HIERARCHY OF DATA, and it is listed below:
- Theories ( which is really just a fancy word for opinion )
- Principles ( basically a very specific theory that has been postulated and tested but still remains to be proven )
- Laws ( Proven Facts )
IF YOU HAVEN’T GUESSED ALREADY, YES THE THERMIC EFFECT OF FOOD IS INDEED A LAW
Now that we know the TEOF is a legitimate endeavor, we can move forward confidently. Basically, you can think of your body’s metabolism as a living, evolving mechanism. It’s never static, it’s never not working, and it’s always changing. THESE ARE ALL VERY GOOD THINGS. You see, if you feed your body a grape, it sends all of it’s agents to work so it can break down that grape for energy. That’s what the metabolism does, it responds to the stimulus of dietary matter (and other things which we will discuss at a later time). Now let’s take that idea one step further…if you feed your body a full five-course meal, such as a salad, soup, bread, a steak, wine, and dessert, it now has to work MUCH harder to break down the meal for energy. It can be said, then, that your metabolism “SPED UP” to facilitate the action of digestion. So, that’s the first thing you must understand in order to move forward:
YOUR METABOLISM SPEEDS UP AND SLOWS DOWN BASED UPON WHAT YOU FEED IT OR DON’T FEED IT
If you read my last posting, NO-NONSENSE NUTRITION, you probably remember my emphasis on knowing the 3 macronutrients. To completely “digest” the THERMIC EFFECT OF FOOD, you must first know each of these macronutrients, as they are the foundation upon which we will build a winning nutrition strategy. The 3 macronutrients are:
1. PROTEINS 2. FATS 3. CARBS
Now that we know this we can get down to the proverbial meat and potatoes. Without being overly technical, what we need to understand is that each of the 3 macros have a different molecular makeup, a different density, and therefore a different way that they effect your body. Much like the hierarchy of data that we just discussed, there also exists a hierarchy of Macros–a spectrum, if you will. In fact, if you look above you will see the spectrum quite clearly, as I purposely listed them in order of importance. For instance, Proteins are ranked first in terms of metabolic value, as they are incredibly dense and very difficult for your body to breakdown. Next in the chain is Fats, which are still difficult to breakdown, but since they have more calories per gram than protein, they come in second. Lastly, of course, are carbs. Carbs are obviously very important for us to survive, however nature intrinsically created carbs to be digested much more easily so that we can use them immediately for fuel if we are in need. Therefore, the amount of energy required to breakdown carbs is actually very marginal. Yes, you heard me right…
EATING FOOD BURNS CALORIES!
Well thank goodness because I sure do love me some eatin’. HAHA. In all candor, eating can actually burn a substantial amount of calories if you do it right, and that is exactly what the TEOF is all about. Is it starting to make sense yet? So let’s go back to the all-important macronutrient Protein. What I want you to do from here on out is think of protein as your best friend for losing fat, for it is by far the most powerful weapon in your arsenal. From what I have read, the most widely accepted data suggests that THE NET RETENTION OF PROTEIN IS ONLY 60% TO 70% Allow me to simplify this…let’s say you eat an 8 oz. chicken breast, which comes in at roughly 280 calories. Now stop and think about the actual process of eating this chicken breast…… you first have to chew this chicken, then protease enzymes begin to release in your mouth, then it is sent to be further broken down in your stomach, after which it’s passed along to the small intestine, and then it’s finally absorbed into your bloodstream. That’s really quite a bit of action required just to digest the chicken, right? Well, according to the THERMIC EFFECT OF FOOD, that means that somewhere between 168 and 196 calories are spent to fully metabolize that 8 0z.chicken breast. Therefore,
THE NET CALORIC RETENTION OF A CHICKEN BREAST IS ONLY BETWEEN 112 and 84 CALORIES!!!
I know, it almost seems too good to be true. To really drive this point home, I want you to imagine that all you were going to eat for one day chicken breasts. For sake of this argument we will say you decided to eat six 8 oz. servings, which comes to about 1,680 calories, correct? So let’s do the math on that…at the end of the day, according to the TEOF, you would only have “kept” a net caloric balance of somewhere between 1,008 and 1,176 calories. Are you beginning to see why protein is so important?! Now, of course we all know that this is not a realistic, sustainable diet, and that is not at all what I’m suggesting. However, what I am telling you is that….
SIMPLY MAKING LEAN PROTEIN YOUR PRIMARY SOURCE OF FOOD YOU WILL LOSE FAT LIKE NEVER BEFORE!!!
Pretty amazing stuff if you ask me. Well friends, that is it for this session, but I believe that we have made some headway on understanding the TEOF, at least as it relates to protein. If you’re hungry for more knowledge then stay tuned for the next installment, THE THERMIC EFFECT OF FOOD Part 2–FATS AND CARBS, whereupon I will fully disclose everything you need to know about building the foundation for a healthy diet.
Yours in health,