100 lb. Club - Questions about 30% of calories to digest protein

11-21-2009, 01:41 PM
I have been reading about TEF or "the thermic affect of food" which is the calories expended by our bodies in order to consume (bite, chew and swallow) and process (digest, transport, metabolize and store) the food we eat.

I've seen different estimates about the percent of calories burned in the digestion etc. of food, but all the sources agree that protein is the highest ... we apparently burn up to 30% of the calories of protein in our eating/digestion process. (The comparable numbers for fat burning is maybe 3% and carbs up to 8%.) So if you eat 100 calories of protein, it translates into only about 70 calories because you apparently "use up" 30 calories or so in the process of eating and digesting the protein.

So ... my question is ... does anyone take advantage of TEF by eating lots of protein? Has anyone had any negative effects from eating too much protein ... and if so, how much is too much? Thanks!

11-21-2009, 01:58 PM
Hey, :wave:

TEF isn't something most folks need to worry about. The advice I've seen about protein is that it should make up 30% of your calories overall (not necessarily for every meal!), and you should aim for 100 grams per day.

I think you'll find that 100 grams per day is quite enough protein!


11-21-2009, 02:23 PM
I'm eating quite a bit of protein, like JayEll said, it's around 100 grams a day. I don't really do it for the reason you state, but more to help build muscle. Because as you lose weight, you'll also lose muscle, which over time can lead to plateauing because your metabolism slows down and it's more difficult to lose weight. Whereas, if you lose weight (and muscle) but also BUILD muscle with protein and exercise, then you increase your metabolism and it makes a plateau of that nature less likely, or at least not as long perhaps. At least, that's what I understand of these things, I'm by no means a nutritionist, dietitian or body builder.

11-21-2009, 02:50 PM
I eat 100-120 grams of protein on an average day. I do it to help me feel full longer BUT I have lost an amazing amount of weight in a short time so... it could be true? I dunno! lol! But it works for me :)

11-21-2009, 06:37 PM
I have never ever given that a seconds thought. I had always heart that fiber takes longer to digest and burns more calories in the digestion process...

I do eat protein, but because I find it filling and healthy, but I don't eat an enormous amount of it. And really, I've lost just fine. I stay within my calorie allotment, making good clean, healthy choices and the weight loss has followed.