If you are looking to cut fat, lose weight and get into shape you should introduce thermic foods into your diet. Just introducing chilli peppers to meals a few times a week will help you increase your metabolism and help your body burn calories more efficiently.
What is the Thermic Effect of Food
The thermic effect of food! It sounds very scientific, doesn’t it? Thankfully, it refers to a process that is not overly difficult to explain.
Regardless of whether you are familiar with the term, the thermic effect of the foods you eat can make a big difference to your ability to lose or gain weight.
If your diet contains a lot of thermic foods, you will find it easier to lose weight. Your metabolism will increase and you will find easier to cut fat and burn calories
If it contains too few, you will be more likely to see the dial on your scales moving the wrong way.
Have I got your attention? All fired-up to learn more about thermic foods and how they can help you to lose weight? Hopefully, the answer is yes.
If so, you will find the rest of this article an eye-opening read.
What are Thermic Foods?
You probably already got this but, just in case you didn’t, thermic foods are foods that exert a greater thermic effect than most other foods do.
Don’t worry if that sounds baffling. I’m going to explain.
The human body is a biological machine that’s powered by the energy it gets from food.
Calories are the most popular unit used for measuring how much energy there is in the food we eat.
We also use calories to measure how much energy we burn.
When we get too many calories, the energy is not wasted. Our bodies store it as fat, which then becomes a reserve energy supply.
When we don’t get enough calories from food, our bodies break down the fat cells to get that energy out of storage and put it to work.
Our bodies need energy for many tasks including the ones that keep us alive, such as breathing and circulating the blood.
Digesting food is a process that requires energy too.
Foods that are harder to digest require more energy to process. Foods of this nature are said to have a greater thermic effect.
You may be surprised to learn the thermic effect of food generally accounts for at least 10 percent of your daily energy expenditure.
Tweaking your diet to include extra thermic foods can be a very good way to lose extra weight.
Think about that for a moment. Replacing one food with another can help you to burn more calories per day.
However, doing so will only result in additional weight loss if you have a low-calorie diet.
Thermic foods work best when incorporated into a weight-loss diet. They are not a replacement for one.
The 5 Foods that Give the Best Thermic Effect
- Chili Peppers – Capsaicin is arguably the number 1 calorie and fat burning food.
- Fish – and other protein rich foods such as eggs, dairy, nuts and seeds.
- Green coffee – contains chlorogenic acid, a studied fat burning compound.
- Green tea – green tea’s thermogenic fat burning capability is not solely due to caffeine.
- Turmeric – not only a great thermic spice but also fight inflammation.
How Thermic Foods Affect Metabolism
The word “metabolism” refers to all the many biological and chemical processes the body uses to sustain life.
When people use the word metabolism in relation to weight gain and weight loss they are referring to the processes that extract energy from food and put it to work.
For instance, when we go running or do intense physical work, it causes an increased energy drain.
To put it another way, it increases metabolism and we use more energy (burn more calories).
Fats and sugars are very easy to digest. Think about how easily sugar granules dissolve on the tongue.
They don’t cause your body any hard work at all.
Next, think about the texture of fat. It doesn’t require much energy to digest either. Imagine how easily something greasy like butter will slip through your guts.
Now think about good sources of protein such as chicken breast or lean steak. Even if you have chewed them well, your digestive organs still have a lot of work to do.
Your body cannot receive the energy and nutrients until it has broken down the protein into particles that are minuscule enough to pass through the intestinal walls and into the blood.
Foods that are high in fiber take longer to digest too. Like protein, they offer a greater thermic effect.
When you fill your belly with thermic foods you give your body a difficult task to do and its one that will take some time. During all that time, the digestive process will be causing an energy drain.
How to Take Advantage of the Thermic Effect of Food
When you are trying to lose weight, it’s important not to lose sight of the importance of a low-calorie diet.
Like exercise, eating thermic foods won’t do you much good if you give your body more calories than it can burn in a day.
The best way to benefit from thermic foods is to incorporate them into an already sound weight-loss regimen.
Like exercise and weight loss supplements, eating thermic foods is a weapon you can use for blasting your fat.
Using more weapons helps you to stage a greater assault.
You Vs. Your Fat: A Battle Plan
If you want to force your stores of fat into retreat, you need to get tough and show no mercy.
1. Know How Many Calories You Need and Take Action
The first thing to do is to start a diet that fails to provide enough energy to support your daily energy requirements. This can be hard because larger bodies require a greater amount of calories per day.
The best way to calculate your calorie requirement is to use an online calorie calculator like the one provided on the Mayo Clinic website: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/calorie-calculator/itt-20402304
However, moving forward, let’s take a look at how many calories the “average” man and woman requires.
- Average man: 2, 500 calories per day
- Average woman: 2,000 calories per day
The above figures refer to the amount of calories their bodies will need to maintain life at their resting metabolic rate.
It’s how many calories they would burn if they spent a full 24 hours resting in bed.
If they got the specified amounts, they would neither gain weight nor lose it. Their levels of body fat would remain the same.
If each of them were to modify their diet so that they were eating 500 calories less per day, they would need to get 500 calories per day from their fat.
This would produce a weight-loss of one pound per week.
2. Substitute with Thermic Foods
This is where things start getting clever. When you are planning your meals, instead of only looking at the calories you food provides, consider the thermic effect.
If your low-calorie diet is providing 500 calories less than you need each day and you swap the easy to digest foods for ones that are more difficult to process, you will make your digestive system work harder.
This will increase the calorie drain and cause you to lose more weight because your body will be using more energy than it was before.
Switching to low-calorie high-fiber foods, along with extra lean protein, is a simple way to reap the fat-busting benefits of thermic foods.
3. Get Active
So far, we have a scenario where the body is getting less calories than it needs and burning an increased amount of calories because thermic foods are harder to digest.
What do you think happens if we then start increasing activity levels too? No prizes if you know the answer to this one.
It’s not rocket science. Upping levels of physical activity cause an even greater energy drain that further increases the need for fat burning.
Of course, high-intensity exercises, such as running or swimming require more energy than walking.
However, doing things like taking the stairs instead of the elevator and walking to the supermarket instead of going by car will still help you get faster progress on the journey to a slimmer and healthier you.
4. Supplement for Greater Success
You don’t need to use supplements to lose weight, but they can help you to lose weight faster.
Good fat-burning products contain compounds that increase metabolism. When used correctly they can have you burning more calories and fat 24 hours a day. Even when you are asleep.
However, the fact that most good weight loss supplements control hunger too is possibly more important.
How quickly you burn fat only affects the speed at which you lose weight. Whether you choose to go slowly or put the pedal to the metal you are still losing weight.
If you can’t control hunger, it can slam on the brakes and bring your weight loss journey to a stop.
If you need a supplement to help keep you on track, you won’t be alone. There’s nothing to be ashamed of there.
Thermic Effect of Food Summary
A low-calorie diet needs to be at the heart of every good weight loss program.
It will help you lose weight by creating an energy shortage in the body.
Introducing plenty of thermic foods to a low-calorie diet makes the body use more energy during digestion.
Like exercise, this extra energy demand helps you to lose weight faster.
You don’t have to eat thermic foods to lose weight but, like using supplements, it’s a viable option if you want to lose weight faster.
It’s also one you may want to explore because tweaking your diet is an easy way to improve on your existing weight-loss results.