A greater thermic effect of food was found after regular meal patterns than irregular meal patterns. Regular meal patterns had a more favorable effect on lower glucose responses and appetite, which could favor weight loss and metabolic health.
SUMMARY OF THERMOGENIC FOODS AND MEAL FREQUENCY
- A greater thermic effect of food was found after regular meal patterns than irregular meal patterns. Additionally, regular meal patterns was associated with greater diet induced thermogenesis compared with an irregular meal pattern. Furthermore, a regular meal pattern was associated with greater insulin sensitivity, and potentially beneficial subjective appetite changes.
When trying to lose weight, two components of metabolism determine how many calories per day the body burns. The two components are resting energy expenditure and non-resting energy expenditure.
Resting energy expenditure (REE) is the number of calories you burn at rest. REE accounts for 65% of the total calories you burn. REE is calories burned to keep you alive for vital functions such as breathing, keeping your heart beating, etc. Gaining muscle will increase REE, which is why resistance exercise is so important for metabolic health.(Hunter et al., 2000)
Non-Resting Metabolic Rate is divided into three components. You have better control over these in your daily life.
a.) Exercise Energy Expenditure is the calories you burn during exercise; it accounts for 5% of the total calories you burn daily. This is why it is so hard to lose weight thru exercise alone without diet, as it’s only 5% of the total calories you burn.
b.) Non-Exercise Energy Expenditure, or NEAT, is the number of calories you burn outside the gym. This accounts for 20% of the total calories you burn all day. NEAT is greater in people that can’t keep still and are always fidgeting and moving around. NEAT is a contributing factor to weight regain after dieting.
c.) The Thermic Effect of Food (TEF), also known as diet-induced thermogenesis, is the calories you burn to digest a meal. TEF accounts for 10% of the calories you burn (i.e., energy to digest). High thermic foods include lean meats, fish, low-fat dairy, etc.
WHAT IS THE THERMIC EFFECT OF FOOD?
Previous research has shown that proteins are the best thermogenic foods. The order of foods with the highest thermic effect is proteins (30%) > carbohydrates (8%)> fats (2%). So, consume more protein-rich foods if you want to boost your metabolism and burn more fat.
Individuals on a diet aiming to boost metabolism should consume high-protein foods like eggs, chicken, and whey protein. Furthermore, research indicates that consuming foods that elevate metabolism is more beneficial in the morning due to a greater Thermic Effect of Food (TEF) compared to the evening (Ruddick-Collins et al., 2018). Intriguingly, compared to whole foods, processed foods have been shown to diminish the thermic effect of food (Barr & Wright, 2010).
Previous studies examining the high thermic affect foods only looked at the amount of protein, carbohydrate, and fats consumed. A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has found that in addition to the types of foods you consume, the timing of foods can also affect diet-induced thermogenesis .
DOES MEAL PATTERNS AFFECT FOODS WITH A HIGH THERMIC EFFECT
Most people dieting have been told total calories consumed are the most important factor when trying to lose weight, but little things can add up over time. As little as reducing 100 hundred calories per day has been suggested enough to prevent weight gain. (Hill et al., 2003) Another shocking study found that an intake of 10 extra calories per day resulted in 1 pound weight gain over 5 years. (Brown et al., 2005)
In a previous study by Farshchi et al. (2004a, 2004b, 2005), researchers found that normal-weight and obese women experienced a lower Thermic Effect of Food (TEF) when they consumed meals on an irregular pattern compared to those who followed a regular meal pattern. Critics mainly pointed out that participants in the study self-reported their calorie and food intake, known for its inaccuracy. Moreover, the obese participants noted a decrease in their calorie intake. Such factors could potentially skew the study’s results, leading to the initiation of a new study.
RE-EXAMINING MEAL PATTERNS WITH FOODS WITH A HIGH THERMIC EFFECT
Researchers wanted to re-examine if regular vs. irregular meal patterns affected the diet-induced thermogenesis of foods with more strict dietary control. In order to obtain precise and comprehensive information about the caloric intake of the subjects, the study enrolled young women aged 18 to 45 years. These women were provided with all their meals, ensuring that the food consumed originated solely from the research facility.
This is a better way to control calorie consumption between the groups. The diet consisted of 50% carbohydrates, 35% fats, and 15% protein. The calories were set at maintenance to maintain body weight (i.e., this was not a diet study).
One group of women consumed a regular meal pattern for 14 days, then were allocated to a normal diet for 14 days (i.e., washout period), then followed an irregular meal pattern for 14 days.
The other group performed the meal patterns in reverse; they consumed an irregular meal pattern for 14 days, then a 14-day washout, then 14 days of a regular meal pattern.
The regular meal pattern consisted of 6 meals per day.
The irregular meal pattern consisted of between 3 and 9 meals per day. On some days, they ate larger meals (3 times a day), while on others, they consumed smaller meals more frequently (i.e., 9 meals per day).
The groups consumed the same number of calories; they just ate them at different times.
You should consume foods with a high thermic effect as part of a regular meal plan.
The subjects showed a 99% compliance rate with all groups. The groups consumed the same number of calories, regardless of whether they followed a regular or irregular meal pattern. The thermic effect of food consumed was greater in the regular meal pattern group than in the irregular meal pattern group. (Alhussain et al., 2022) The regular meal pattern group diet-induced thermogenesis was 23 calories, and the irregular meal pattern was 18 calories.