Calculating the Energy-Cost of Food Part 1 - Why Diet Manipulation is an Effective Intervention for Weight-Loss
by Dr. Matthew Chircop
Many people would be familiar with the following graph (see below). But how can you estimate your current energy-cost of nutrient digestion and absorption, and how does changes in your diet change this?
Well, it turns out that the thermic effect of food (TEF) is maximal within 1 hour after eating a meal, and remains elevated for anywhere from 3-12 hours. Part of the effect relates to the energy-cost of digestion and absorption, and another part of this relates to decreases in the energy efficiency (a process which is stimulated to different extents by different macronutrients). Following a meal, the magnitude of the increase in energy expenditure is, on average, somewhere between 10% and 30% of the food energy ingested. E.g. if you eat 1000 calories in a meal, then TEF will be between 100 and 300 calories. That is comparable to the calories burned by a whole day's worth of physical activity.
What influences the TEF, apart from how many calories are ingested?
Diet can modify the TEF. For example, a meal high in protein can generate a TEF of 30%. It is possible that fibrous vegetables can generate a TEF of 20%. Fat and processed carbohydrates have a relatively low thermic effect (4%). This links in with the observation that overweight and obese people tend to have relatively low TEF. A diet high in processed food, which is easier to digest (and high in fat and sugar), reduces TEF. There is, therefore, a greater risk of weight gain. In conjunction with a high overall energy intake and relatively low activity-related thermogenesis, a low TEF is a potent contributing factor in the development of obesity.
Interestingly, endurance training tends to reduce the TEF in the long-term, but exercise soon after a meal (commencing about 30 minutes after completing a meal) can double the TEF of the meal. So there is some merit to the idea of going for a walk soon after a meal.
Contact us if you would like to learn more about our meal plans to help your lose those pesky last few kilos.
We design personalised meal plans that contain recipes with food that you tell us you like - you don't have to deny yourself of the tasty food you love (help to reduce your STRESS).
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Recalibrating Hunger Part 2 - Lifestyle Strategies to Improve Leptin-Sensitivity.
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At Body Sculptors Australia, we believe in NOURISHING YOURSELF from the inside out! Because YOU are worth it. And good health, happiness and confidence comes from within.
Understanding your own nutritional requirements can often be confusing, especially as we age and our hormones change. I am in my 40s, a single mum to a 6yr old daughter, whom has boundless energy and I want to keep up. So I understand how difficult it can be and how time-poor we all are and therefore put ourselves last, especially as parents.
With my experience, I can help you understand your body and what nourishment it needs to feel happy, lighter, & confident in your own skin.
I am also a keen sportswoman, and have extensive knowledge of sports nutrition. So, if you are looking to up your performance to achieve your best, reach out.
Dr Megan Chircop
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