The topic of my last post discussed NEAT, and its role in the energy your body burns in any given day. This week’s topic, diet induced thermogenesis (DIT), also plays a role in how your body burns energy. DIT is the energy you use to digest, absorb and metabolize your food. It is often referred to as the thermic effect of food (TEF). It is affected by what you eat and some would argue, when you eat. If your self-care definition and wellness vision includes healthier eating, this post is for you.
Let us first address quantity and frequency of meals. It has been said consuming small frequent meals can elevate DIT and stimulate your metabolism to burn more calories. Although current research disputes this notion, it does support the practice. Health benefits attributed to eating small frequent meals include healthier foods choices and less overall calorie intake leading to a lower body mass index (a measure of your body’s fatness). Long periods between meals can lead to low blood sugar and over-indulgence. Blood sugar drops about 3 hours after eating which makes it harder to think clearly and problem solve. It contributes to poor food choices and over-indulgence at subsequent meals. Overeating can alter how your cells process food and act as a precursor to many of the most common chronic health conditions.
Of greater importance than quantity and frequency of meals is what you actually consume. Healthy foods include those with a high thermic effect. These foods increase DIT and stimulate your metabolic rate by enhancing metabolism and your body’s ability to burn calories. Proteins have the highest thermic effect, followed by carbohydrates and fats. Recommended foods include high quality proteins – fish, notably salmon and sardines, lean red meats, lean poultry, eggs and nuts. Also recommended are high fiber carbohydrates – oatmeal, whole-grain breads and pasta, multigrain cereals and brown rice. Broccoli and leafy green vegetables are among the vegetables with the highest thermic effect. Certain spices including ginger and cayenne pepper can also stimulate DIT. Teas, most notably green tea and coffee can enhance DIT but should be consumed in moderation. Drinking lots of water and good sleep hygiene will further enhance your metabolism and overall wellbeing
Whether you eat 3 or 6 meals a day, I urge you to include
foods with a high thermic effect. Is
healthy eating in your wellbeing vision?
Do you have a wellbeing vision? If not, I challenge you to create one. What will you be doing differently when
living your wellbeing vision? What
motivates you to live as your best, or better, self? Need help creating your wellbeing
vision? We are here to help.
 Three categories factor into your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). The greatest impact on TDEE comes from your basal metabolic rate (BMR), the amount of energy used to support the functions of your organs and physiological systems. NEAT, along with the thermic effect of activity (TEA) combine to form the second category, the thermic effect of physical activity (TEPA). DIT or TEF constitutes the third category.
 Watch for our post on sleep hygiene.