50 Highly Thermal Foods That Will Boost Your Metabolism

The thermal effect of food (TEF) is the amount of energy needed to digest and process food. Basically, every bite of food “costs” a certain number of calories to be broken down.

Knowing this fact has also led to many dire theories about weight loss.

For example, some people claim that there are “negative calorie foods” that actually cost more energy to digest than they provide.

Others claim that you can keep fat loss going all day by "nibbling" small meals every few hours.

And others claim that eating protein and others Food with a high thermal effect can bring similar benefits.

Here is the home of the truth:

Although you can increase your daily TEF by eating more protein and whole foods, increasing the frequency or size of meals will not (eating more frequently will not "boost" your metabolism). In addition, you need to control your calorie intake regardless of the TEF of your meals.

Read on to learn how food thermal effects work, how to increase food thermal effects, and an extensive list of themthermal food.

What is the thermal effect of food?

The thermal effect of food (TEF) is the amount of energy it takes to digest and process the food you eat, and the main determinants of TEF are the macronutrient composition of the meal, the processing of the food, and the size of your meal .

It is also known as specific dynamic action (SDA) and dietary induced thermogenesis (DIT) and research shows that it is about 10% of your Total daily energy consumption.

In general, TEF is measured as the percentage of a food's calories needed to digest that food. In other words, if a serving of a particular food has 100 calories and the body burns 20 calories to digest it, that food has a TEF of 20% (20/100 = 20%).

The largest single factor for the thermal effect of food is the macronutrient composition of your meals. That's how it works collapses:

  • Protein tops the list with a TEF of around 20 to 35%.
  • Next up are carbohydrates with a TEF of around 5 to 10%.
  • And finally, fat is a TEF of around 0-3%.

Alcohol has a high TEF of around 10-15% which leads some people to believe that drinking alcohol might actually be good for fat loss. The problem with this mindset, however, is that while alcohol is high in TEF, it is too Reduce fat burning in other ways (especially if you have excess calories).

After macronutrient composition, the second important determinant of TEF is the processing level of a food – more processed foods have a lower TEF than less processed foods.

For example a study Conducted by scientists at Pomona College, found that a ready-made meal made from white bread and American cheese increased TEF by about 10%, while a whole meal made from multigrain bread and cheddar cheese increased TEF by about 20%. The difference would likely be even greater if subjects were to eat a meal made from high-fiber vegetables and lean protein (which is even less processed than multigrain bread and cheddar cheese).

After all, how much food do you eat in one sitting? also affects Your post-meal TEF, with larger meals causing a greater increase than smaller ones.

And how does it all affect your metabolism? I'll explain in a moment, but the long story short is that you can easily increase your metabolism by consuming more highly thermal foods. Even so, to lose weight, you need to control your calorie intake – just eating these foods will not be enough.

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50 highly thermal foods

While no food can "burn fat", highly thermal foods can make it a little easier to lose weight and keep it off.

Remember that the groceries come with you high thermal effect tend to be minimally processed foods, and so do proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, so prioritize these in your diet to maximize TEF. For example, although all protein-rich foods are high in TEF, chicken breasts would be better than whey protein in this regard because it is less processed.


  • barley
  • oats
  • Buckwheat
  • Andean millet
  • Bulgarian wheat
  • couscous
  • rice
  • chick-pea
  • Kidney beans
  • pea


  • Chicken or turkey
  • Tilapia
  • beef
  • Eggs
  • pork tenderloin
  • Mutton (fat-free)
  • tuna
  • bison
  • Wild
  • Cottage cheese or Greek yogurt (low fat)


  • almond
  • peanut
  • walnut
  • Cashew
  • pistachio
  • avocado
  • Pecan
  • pumpkin seed
  • linseed
  • Chia seeds


  • broccoli
  • asparagus
  • cauliflower
  • celery
  • Green salad
  • cucumber
  • Kale
  • spinach
  • carrot
  • Beetroot


  • orange
  • lemon
  • Grapefruit
  • pear
  • mango
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Apple
  • banana

The thermal effects of food and weight loss

When you eat food, it increases energy expenditure, which is good for fat loss.

However, what is bad for fat loss is after you eat a meal. . .

And no matter how high the thermal effect of the food is, the calories in that food will always reduce fat burning. In other words, food doesn't burn fat. Energy expenditure goes.

Some foods result in lower fat storage than others, but rest assured that regardless of the composition of your diet, excess energy will result in some level of fat gain.

Your body does not begin to burn body fat until your last meal is completely digested and absorbed and, as a result, it is running out of calories. The ratio between the amount of energy you consume (burn) and consume (eat) is called. designated Energy balance, and it works like this:

  • If you ingest more energy than you burn, you are in a positive energy balance state and you are gaining fat.
  • If you are consuming less energy than you are burning you will find yourself in a negative energy state and losing fat.
  • If you eat around the same amount of energy that you burn, you will be in a state of neutral energy and maintaining your weight.

This is true regardless of the type of food you eat or how high or low its thermal effect is.

Namely – you can Getting thicker Eat only the "cleanest" food and lose weight on a diet of convenience store pig sake.

Remember that the thermal effects of food add to the overall energy expenditure, which means that it contributes to weight loss by increasing the amount of energy your body uses. That is the good news.

The bad news is that the magnitude of these effects is far too small to really move the needle.

You can increase on a diet high in foods high in TEF, because you are simply overeating, and on a diet high in foods high in TEF, you can lose weight simply because you know how many calories to eat and regulate your intake of them.

For this reason, the entire "fat burning diet" idea is a myth.

Instead, consuming foods with a higher thermal effect can help make your diet a little more effective, but it will never be enough to help you lose a significant amount of fat on its own.

If you want to learn more about how to set up an effective fat loss diet that will help you lose fat every week by eating foods you like, Check out our custom meal planning service. And if you want to learn how to make a meal plan yourself, Read this article.

+ Scientific references

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