Thermogenic foods basically enhance your metabolism.
By boosting your metabolism you enable your body to burn calories at a higher rate. This is beneficial especially for people wanting to lose weight.
If you have been overweight and living a sedentary lifestyle for awhile, thermogenic foods are attractive. These consist of herbs, spices, and special foods.
Another beneficial way to reduce weight is to eat less calories. This is difficult to do if you are hungry all the time and thermogenic foods also help to calm your hunger.
Some foods thermogenic effect have been show to increase a persons metabolism by 25% or more meaning that after eating they actually burn off more calories than they ate. This is because some foods require more of an effort to digest therefore burning more calories in the process.
One of the most thermogenic macronutrients is protein. Estimates are that the digestion of protein burns close to 30% of its own calories just to digest. The reason is because of the process that protein has to go through to be broken down.
Spices of thermogenic type are also considered “warming” spices. These include cayenne, cloves, anise, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, horseradish, caraway, mustard seed, mint, parsley, paprika, tarragon, rosemary and thyme.
Some grains can be considered thermogenic too like Basmati and brown rice as well as oatmeal. Some beans and barley are good too.
Healthy foods to accompany and enhance a thermogenic diet would include fresh vegetables like peppers, Brussels sprouts, eggplant, lettuce, broccoli, potatoes, peas, celery and mushrooms.
Generally classified the top choices for thermogenic foods are:
Spices: The hotter the better. These spices contain capsaicin which is the active component of chili peppers. Black pepper has piperine but not as effective as capsaicin.
Green Tea: EGCG catechin in green tea was found to increase the Respiration rate of the brown fat.
Coconut Oil: Best for so many things. Experiments done with coconut oil indicate that the medium-chain fatty acids inhibit fat storage because of increased thermogenesis.
Protein: Pure protein like egg-whites or powders can be excellent metabolism enhancing component of your diet.
Protein as a Fat Burner
From a personal standpoint I can say that protein works well to burn off the fat. It’s not as simple as shovelling in spoonful’s of protein powder but here is a short list of why it’s better to have a high protein rather than low carb high fat diet.
Thermogentic: As previously noted it increases energy expenditure more than any of the other macronutrients.
Muscle Development: Improved muscle mass and necessary to prevent muscle loss while dieting and heals and build muscles when working them hard.
Disease Prevention: Studies indicate that people who increase their protein consumption have lower incidents of obesity and diabetes.
Fuller Longer: Protein helps to decrease caloric consumption because when you eat you feel fuller longer.
Often when a person goes on a new health regime they will choose to do it all at once. Diet and exercise are important to overall health but if you start working out and cut your calories ravenous hunger and feeling tired will be the result.
If you are hitting the weights make sure you are getting enough protein in your diet so you will be energized by your workouts and not drained.
Strength training causes your muscles to break down and repair and build. This uses a lot of your resources so be sure to keep up a good protein intake.
One word of caution though – a sudden increase in protein can cause intestinal issues. Gas, loose bowels, or constipation. We’ve all had those embarrassing moments at the gym so don’t let any of that get in your way of your health goals.