Healthy Hollywood: Ask Keri Glassman — Do Certain Foods Burn Calories While You Eat?
First Published: June 21, 2012 8:08 PM EDT Credit: Access Hollywood
NEW YORK, N.Y. -- Nutritionist Keri Glassman, who regularly shares her expertise on Access Hollywood and Access Hollywood Live, is answering your nutrition, diet, and health questions.
Want to know which foods to curb sugar cravings? Or, what should you eat before a workout? Ask Keri anything! Keri will choose one great question a week to be answered Thursday in our Healthy Hollywood column.
To submit questions for Keri, click HERE!
This week’s question – “I heard that some foods make you burn calories when you eat them and can help you lose weight, is this true?” – Colleen from Austin, Texas
Burn calories by working out your jaw eating? Who wouldn’t give in to this weight loss strategy or is it too good to be true? Here is the deal.
Digestion: The New “It” Workout? – Guess what, it’s true, well, sort of. About 5 to 10 percent of your total energy expenditure goes into the digestion and absorption of nutrients in the foods you eat. Translation: while we sit on our fannies after a meal, our body goes through the automatic process of breaking down food to store the nutrients and eliminate waste. This bodily process, known as digestion, actually requires energy and thus, you do burn some calories. If we run the numbers, for every 100 calories taken in, 10 calories are burned in this entire process. What’s more, eating actually raises your metabolic rate, or how fast and efficiently your body can absorb, store, and eliminate. This is called the “thermal effect” of food. Do NOT, however, get too excited, this doesn’t get you off the hook from a weekly gym sesh or for that matter even give you a free pass to eat additional calories. This process has been taking place in your body for as long as you have been eating! There are no studies that support the claim that you can burn off an entire food just by eating it (including celery!). So, don’t cancel your gym membership in honor of digestion.
Chew This, Burn That – As the face of this weight loss theory, let’s talk a little more about celery. Celery is low in calories, requires a lot of noshing, and has so much fiber and water that it takes a lot of work to get it through the body. It’s understandable why you may have heard that your body burns a higher number of calories than what’s actually in the stalk. Unfortunately, no studies show that our bodies can actually do that, no matter how nutritious the food may be or how hard our body works to break it down. Don’t let that discourage you from eating celery, however, as well as all other culprits of this weight loss theory like grapefruit, apples, cucumbers, tomatoes, and broccoli. These are all foods that should be incorporated into a healthy, balanced diet. Regardless of whether you burn them off or not, these foods are worth the calories as they do wonderful things for our bodies, such as preventing heart disease and diabetes. Not to mention, they help keep your digestive system “regular” which can help you to look great in a bikini this summer too! However, if thinking of these foods as a workout is the only way you’ll eat them, then by all means.
Bottom Line: Food is meant to provide nutrients and yes, calories. Save the burn for the gym.
-- Terri MacLeod & Keri Glassman
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