Thermic Effect - The Calorific Cost of Processing Food


#1

I was listening to a nutrition podcast and the thermic effect of food was mentioned. For those who do not know what that is, it’s basically the calorific cost of a food to be processed by the body. Indicative rates are as follows:

Protein: 20%
Alcohol: 15%
Carbos: 5%
Fat: 0%

This means… that if you intake 1000 calories of carbs and 1000 calories of protein… you’re only getting 995 calories and 800 calories available for your BMR & physical activities.

This is important for those who are being strict in their calorific intake / weight loss and bodybuilding.

Was this issue kept in mind in the commercial version of Soylent?


#2

If you wanted to be that strict then the commercial soylent is not for you. DIY soylent is the better option. If you’re calorie counting and adjusting your weight in a controlled way then you need to consider your own body, activity levels, and goals to arrive at the right number of calories.

Useful info though, I was aware of the effect but hadn’t thought to add it to my model. Do you have a link to the source?


#3

The source is a podcast on Itunes called “Energy from Food and Macronutrients” by Dr. Regina Belski, from the La Trobe University. It’s a lecture on a course called Principles of Nutrition.


#4

Her lectures are based on a book called “Understanding Nutrition” written by Whitney and Rolfes. I plan to get this book and read through it.


#5

Great! I’d been wondering about this for awhile.
Are you sure that the normal concept of 4kcal per g of protein or carb and 9kcal per g of fat don’t already account for this though?


#6

As far as I’m aware, the only basis for the 4kcal/9kcal thing is that that’s the energy they release when they’re literally burnt. I think the thermic effect is meant to compensate for the fact that the current numbers don’t actually reference any biology at all.