Eating Burns Calories Too
Yes, you read right – eating burns calories. The process is called thermogenesis (meaning heat generation) and it is designed to regulate body temperature -- to keep the body warm.
The thermogenic effect also helps explain why severe calorie restriction often results in weight gain. The human body learns to get by on less in an effort to prevent starvation. When you begin to eat normally again, your system has learned to treat any calories above subsistence level as energy to be stored, helping you to regain what you lost, and usually more!
Some tips to make the most of thermogenesis:
Eat early and often. Metabolism naturally slows down during the latter part of the day, so burning off a big breakfast is easier than a big dinner. And if you must eat later, stick to protein and veggies. Pure protein has the most thermogenic effect of all foods (30 percent of its calories are used during digestion). Try eating several minimeals throughout the day to keep your furnace stoked.
Eat complex carbohydrates and protein. Your body has to work much harder to break down fiber and complex carbs (whole grain foods) than it does with simple sugars and carbs.