The thermal effect of food refers to the amount of energy used by your body to digest, absorb and dispose of the food you eat.Consider this as the operating cost of your digestive system; one of the few costs in life you will be happy to pay. You burn some of the calories you consume to digest and eliminate food.
The overall thermal effect of food is estimated to be, on average, about 10% of overall calories, according to WorldFitnessNetwork.com. If you consume 2,000 calories during the course of a day, about 10%, or about 200 calories, you will spend on digesting, absorbing, metabolizing and eliminating that food.
Types of food
Different types of foods require different amounts of energy to be processed, according to WorldFitnessNetwork.com. Fats have a thermal effect of approximately 3%. If you consume 100 calories in fat, you will only spend 3 calories to digest that fat. The fibrous vegetables and fruits have a thermal effect of about 20%, while the proteins have a thermal effect of about 30%. If you consume 300 calories in protein, you will burn 90 calories by digesting them.
The number of calories you spend in digestion depends on your body composition.Those who have a higher muscle mass will burn more calories by digesting food than those with more fat.