Friday, March 5, 2010

Metabolism Matters Part 3: Eat to Lose Weight

Yesterday we talked about the importance of your RMR, why it is so crucial to your fat loss success and how you can ramp it up.

Today we are going to talk about the food you eat and how it either slows your metabolism down or speeds it up. So hopefully you are eating the right ones!!

The Thermic Effect of Food (TEF) is the increase in metabolic rate due to the digestion and absorption of food. As I stated in the first blog post, this can account for anywhere from 10-20% of your daily caloric use, or calorie burn.

There have been some FOL's (flat out lies) floating around regarding the manipulation of TEF. The most outrageous is that of "negative calorie foods." These are foods that supposedly require more energy from your body to break down than they hold. An example of this would be a banana that has 120 calories but requires 150 calories from your body to metabolize, resulting in a -30 calorie deficit.

Again, this is a FOL. If this were possible you would have heard about it a long time ago, there would most likely be a banana shortage, and every banana would sell for $10.

Now there are foods that ramp up your metabolism more than others. Foods that are high in protein (meat, dairy, nuts) can increase your metabolic rate by up to 30%. Complex carbohydrates such as whole grain breads, fruits, vegetables and lentils can increase your metabolism by 15%. Fat on the other hand only increases your metabolic rate by about 3%, certainly not worth the enjoyment you'll get from a piece of cheesecake.

Strategies for eating to increase your TEF is to eat protein with EVERY meal. This again will slow down digestion and increase your TEF significantly. The other thing is to eat complex carbohydrates. Paired with protein, you're looking at a substantial metabolic rise during metabolization of those foods.

Just as importantly, avoid white breads and simple sugars as they breakdown very quickly, have a high insulin response (which opens cells for energy deposit; Any energy not used quickly is stored as fat), and don't do much to increase your metabolic rate.

The other thing to consider is that every time you eat, your metabolism cranks up!! Therfore the more you frequently you eat, the HIGHER YOUR METABOLISM!! A few years ago there was a study that was published compared two groups of people. Both ate the same number of calories and had the same macronutrient profiles (CHO:PRO:FAT ratio's). One group ate twice a day, the other group ate 5 times per day. The group that ate twice per day had an INCREASE IN BODY FAT!! The group that ate 5 times per day actually lost weight. Keep in mind these groups were eating THE SAME NUMBER OF CALORIES!!

Take home message: Eat frequently, eat breakfast, eat protein with every meal!

So now you know what TEF is and how to manipulate it for fat loss. So take this information and RUN WITH IT!! Prepare your meals so that even your snacks have protein coming in with them (yogurt, cottage cheese, peanut butter, etc.)

Stay tuned tomorrow for our last installment of Metabolism Matters, when we talk about what exercise can do for your metabolism!!

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