How you can burn 600 Calories by EATING???

woman eating How you can burn 600 Calories by EATING???Sounds too good to be true?

Thankfully it isn’t!


So we all know staying alive takes energy and that energy is measured in Calories.  We use energy for new cells, body temperature regulation, Movement, Breathing and heart rate, Digestion, Etc.  What we are going to talk about is using more energy in digestion.

600 calories per day is the equivalent of running 6 miles EVERYDAY!  For many recreational runners that’s at least an hour of exercise.

We can get that same effect without the time investment.  In fact digestion burns calories all day in the background without us having to think about it.  It turns out I’ve been burning calories like this for years but I didn’t even know it!  No wonder it seems like I can eat so much and not gain weight!

Wouldn’t that be a nice situation to be in?

Ok, here is the deal…

Different foods take different amounts of energy to digest.  They have to be broken apart so that our bodies can use and absorb them.  For some foods this takes nearly zero calories to break down they almost jump into our blood supply.  For other foods this can take about 30% of the calories of the food to be able to use the other 70%.  So if we ate 2000 calories of this high energy demanding food we would only have 1400 calories for our bodies once digestion happens.

Also this high energy demanding food takes longer to digest which means we don’t get hungry as fast!  (I don’t know about you but I don’t like being hungry)

This is a pretty good deal!

I wouldn’t mind getting the benefit of a 6 mile daily run while sitting on the couch all day.

protein image 300x203 How you can burn 600 Calories by EATING???veggies 300x193 How you can burn 600 Calories by EATING???So what are the foods that take so much time and energy?

  • Protein – You can lose up to 30% of the calories of protein in digestion
  • Vegetables (non-starchy carbs) – You can lose anywhere from high teens to low 20% of calories in digestion of vegetables especially the green leafy ones.

What are the foods that take near ZERO energy and time to digest?

Starchy carbohydrates

cereals, breads (even whole wheat), crackers, cookies, candy, etc.

We get every single calorie from these foods basically and that means it all can be used to make us fat and keep us fat.  Plus these foods digest so simply and easily that our stomach is empty and crying out for more almost as soon as we are done eating.  So of course we eat more.  (it’s no fun being hungry!)

(just a side note because it needs including – Fat – takes a few more calories than starches to digest.  It doesn’t take very many but it does do more.  and It does tend to help us stay fuller for longer too.  But watch out!  Calories can add up fast!  best keep track)

Let’s compare two breakfasts using rough numbers:

500 calories of eggs and veggies and 500 calories of cereal and milk.

Eggs and Veggies:  500 Calories X 25% = 150 Calories lost to digestion

Cereal and Milk:  500 Calories X 10% = 50 Calories lost to digestion (there is still some protein and fat in this meal to be digested)

100 Calories lost in the first breakfast compared to the second

Basically you ran a mile at breakfast – Nice Job!


I eat eggs every morning to help me stay full and keep good energy as I train people from 5 am – noon.

I don’t have a lot of time for snacks in that time period and I don’t think it is very professional for your trainer to be obsessing about food when he should be obsessing about your workout and results.  I also don’t want to feel crazy at noon and have to eat a truck load of carbs.

I can go to noon and beyond sometimes with just a protein bar in the middle if I’ve had my eggs.


If I skip eggs and have something more carbohydrate like?

I spend the rest of the day hungry.  Even after eating later I never seem to get satisfied.

This is the PAIN of carbohydrate for me.  Don’t get me wrong I love getting the extra calories burned in digestion but even more important than that I don’t like being hungry.  Once I am hungry I lose all will power.

I know your body works much the same.  It’s just the way we were made.

What to do with this information:

Ideally we will begin to shop to have more protein and vegetable options for meals and eat LOTS of them so that we don’t have room for the Carbohydrates that are making us fat and breaking our will power.  This will give us the equivalent of 3-6 mile runs everyday!  Which can represent 30-60 pounds lost in a year!  All without exercise!  Imagine what would happen if you added exercise to this plan?

You guessed it, you would be living in your ideal body in no time!


What do you think?  Leave your comments below.

Posted in Fat Loss Strategies, Featured by talltrainer | 3 Comments


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