Monday, January 13, 2014

Article # 571. Thermogenic foods

Thermogenic foods may help increase metabolism and calorie burning by enhancing thermogenesis, a process in which the body burns calories to utilize the foods you have just eaten, converting those calories to heat. Your body mainly burns calories consumed through maintaining its regular metabolic functions and through physical activity; however, a small percentage, about 10 percent, of calories are burned through diet-induced thermogenesis.

Consuming foods with spices such as red hot peppers or black pepper increases thermogenesis and can potentially have a significant effect on feelings of satiety and fat oxidation. Capsaicin, the substance that gives hot peppers their pungent flavor, has been reported to increase thermogenesis, and in studies in Japanese men and women who consumed a meal containing capsaicin, the participants experienced an increase in energy expenditure immediately following their spicy meal. Similarly, black pepper contains piperine, a substance that has been shown to influence thermogenesis through stimulating the nervous system.

Green tea contains two substances -- caffeine, and polyphenols called catechins -- that have been shown to boost thermogensis and may enhance each other's effects. Catechins in green tea may increase thermogenesis through inhibiting a particular enzyme, and green tea contains high amounts of a certain catechin called epigallocatechin gallate, which is "probably the most pharmacologically active.
Coconut oil contains mainly medium-chain fatty acids -- fats that, when consumed, have been shown to inhibit fat deposition through increased thermogenesis and fat burning.

Protein Diet-induced thermogenesis can also be affected by the proportion of macronutrients consumed -- carbs, fats, and proteins -- with high-protein diets being the most thermogenic compared to high-carb or high-fat diets. Sources of protein include lean cuts of red meat, poultry, eggs and nuts.

Thermogenic foods are the ones your body uses maximum energy (in calories) to properly digest. Some of the most effective thermogenic, or fat burning, foods are lean proteins such as chicken, turkey, egg whites, fish and lean beef (on occasion). Cayenne pepper, mustard, apple cider vinegar, cabbage, broccoli, celery, chili powder and cinnamon also have thermogenic properties that help rev up your metabolic engine and narrow your waistline. 


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