One of the many reasons everyone and their mother seems to recommend eating a high protein diet to lose weight and burn fat is because of this "thermogenic" effect.
People are under the misconception that you can lose a lot of weight real fast without if you eat a high protein diet.
This is because protein DOES have a thermogenic effect on the body... but not enough to make an impact!
"Thermogenesis" or something that has a "thermogenic" effect on the body refers to anything that causes the temperature inside your body (sometimes your temperature on the skin is different from the temperature inside, your core temperature) to rise, to increase.
Well, we all know from school that the average / normal core body temperature is 98.6 degrees.
However, when your core temperature increases, even by just 1 or 2 degrees, it is said that this higher temperature causes the body to turn into a "furnace", raising the metabolism, which results in fat being burned. Here's where everyone is missing the point.
Sure, protein causes the body to work harder to digest it, which causes the body's internal temperature to rise, but it is NOT enough to really make a dent in burning fat or preserving muscle mass.
Researchers at Arizona State University examined individuals that ate a high protein diet and compared them to another group that ate a high carb diet.
What they found was that eating a high protein diet resulted in an average of 30 calories per meal being burned in digestion.
Read that again... 30 calories per meal.
Okay, then let's say you eat 5 meals a day.
30 calories per meal, 5 meals a day, that equals 150 calories.
So, you would only be burning an extra 150 calories a day if you were to go on a high protein diet.
150 calories is 1 cup of milk.
It's 2 eggs.
It's half a candy bar.
150 calories isn't going to make any difference whatsoever in helping you gain weight, build muscle mass, or burn fat.
Everyone keeps saying, "Oh, but you can eat more protein lose a ton of fat weight because of the thermogenic effect".
Give me a break... 150 calories... I rather just cut out 1 can of soda a day and get the same effect!
Don't be fooled by the "high-protein" fans.
They just want you to go out and spend your hard-earned money on their bucket of protein.
If you are looking to lose weight and tone up, concentrate on the overall calories.
Copyright 2006 Jonathan Perez
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